When in Doubt: Go Night Skiing

We all know that it’s been a tough winter. Or has winter in the east even really started? With no natural snow in sight, I feel like I am hovering somewhere between depression and paranoia. However, as a believer in the healing power of skiing, I realized there was a solution: go skiing as much as possible.

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A light bulb moment: “Maybe I should start night skiing again?” Yes, night skiing, where packs of teens bomb down in groups of 15 and snow guns blast you while you hug the trail edge to find left overs. And at thirty years of age, you might be the creepy old guy on the mountain skiing in the dark.

Yep, night skiing would definitely cheer me up. I figured I should try it again after all these years.With the expectation of a one-and-done affair, I headed up to West Mountain after work to rediscover night skiing.

Truthfully, West Mountain night skiing kind of blew me away. I learned to ski at West and made many of my best skiing memories there, but I hadn’t skied there in many years. The mountain looked better than ever.

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I met some friendly staff who showed me recent improvements. The revamped lodge looks good, the bar was packed, new trails were cut, and most notably, the new West Express triple chair was up and running. The vibe at West was right up my alley – upbeat, authentic, and welcoming. Felt really good to be back.

Around the base area the place was buzzing. Kids were clearly super stoked to be skiing. Snowboarders jumping off of lift tower groomer lips; boys showing off for girls; spandex clad racers bombing around like an overly-confident group bullies from an 80’s TV show. Yes. It’s all coming back to me.

The snowmaking quality at West Mountain is really good. They had just resurfaced, and everything was chalky and edgeable.  West has good pitch and fun terrain; better than I remembered. The skiing was some of the best I had done this season. I skied for a couple hours and it hit the spot.

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West Mountain Express photo courtesy Saratoga Skier

Why did I ever stop night skiing, in the first place? A lot of skiers think of night skiing as something for kids. And though you’ll find no shortage of groms if you go night skiing, I suggest you give it a try sometime this season.

I think night skiing is even better as an adult. It’s a great way to cap off a long day at work and recharge the batteries. It sure beats going to the gym. And in a marginal snow year, the skiing is often better at night than during the day. They’re blowing snow. It’s soft. Trust me.

More importantly, night skiing reminded me of the more-authentic and universal pleasures of skiing, like bending a ski into a clean arch, or making a new friend on the chairlift. In today’s social media driven era, it’s easy to feel like everyone is getting faceshots in Japan, while you’re skiing groomers in the east– I’m as guilty as anyone. But it’s not real.

You want to know what is real: Night skiing at West Mountain. I’m going every week after work and am loving every second of it.

9 comments on “When in Doubt: Go Night Skiing

  1. This is another great piece and we love night skiing – used to do a bunch at Mtn Creek though kind of grew tired of going there after 1 to many close calls. West is another place on our list of places to visit and I hope one of these days we get to check it out. In VT, there is only one mountain we think that offers night skiing and that is Bolton Valley. We have skied there a couple of time and wishing that places in Southern or Central VT did the same. Cool article.

  2. Great place. The new trail looks great too. I hope they run the lights all the way up for next year, that’ll be an awesome experience.

  3. Wow
    You took the words right out of my mind. Back in the day I probably got three nights of twilight skiing at Jiminy peak for every one with the sun up. Since I got my kids into it, I’m doing about one night a week at mount Peter. I agree that it’s a blast, great way to get a few more days in.

  4. I love night skiing. Some people hate it, but it has its own unique vibe that I can’t resist. I learned to ski at night with my school ski club. I was one of those teens bombing down in groups of 15 not that long ago. Then I matured and started skiing Plattekill religiously. Still, every year I like to go night skiing once or twice. I’m thinking of going night skiing at Greek Peak this friday. More on that later.

  5. I ski 12 to 18 times a ski season at night. Some the best conditions I skied last year and this year have been under the light. Its just like mountain biking after daylight savings time hits. If you don’t have lights you ski or ride. 8 times this season out of 15 times out have been under the lights at Labordor Mt.

  6. Totally agree, the light is better, less crowded and over all cool vibe. Great way to get a few runs in after work. I’ve even started Nordic skiing at night…grab the headlamp and head out,it’s a blast. It’s a shame more hills don’t offer it. In NJSouthern NY your options are Camp Gaw, Mt Peter and Mt Creek. The only one left in the Cats that does is Windham, but it’s only on weekends and just a few trails.

  7. I’ve only skied at night once as I don’t have a mountain with lights close to home. The time I did, I was rolling into North Creek late, and decided to hit the Ski Bowl. Lifties were about to pack it in, but when I showed up, kept the hill open another hour, it was pretty cool. Nice one Adrider.

  8. I went for the first time in a while on Tuesday. Great time but holy fuck was it icy. I felt like I was more trying to survive than make turns. Not to mention I realized why I am not a fan of mtn creek. I saw multiple fights almost happen, got snowballs thrown at us from some punks and some kid drank my buddy’s beer after he dropped it instead of giving it back.

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