Kaaterskill Falls in Winter

This winter I traveled to the Catskills, to show my girlfriend one of my prime stomping grounds when I lived in NYC.  With two days, I picked Kaaterskill Falls as one of my destinations.

Although I missed most of one day of excellent skiing, driving around the local hills with fresh eyes reminded me of how special these mountains really are, and I wanted to experience them in a new way.

One big hole in my hiking resume has always been getting to the top of Kaaterskill Falls. Anyone that skis Hunter regularly has no doubt seen the throngs clinging to the sides of 23A getting back and forth to the trailhead. I wanted to be one of those people cursing the trail up to this iconic spot.

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Woods Valley Pond Skim 2019

Like many NY ski resorts, Woods Valley closed on Sunday. It was the 89th day of their 54th year and it was a good one. There were festivities, bands and events all through the weekend, including everyone’s favorite, pond skimming.

the-pond

If Sunday was my last day this season I couldn’t ask for better. It was t-shirt skiing with low 60s and classic corn snow. Most of the mountain was open with 12 trails so I showed up around 11 a.m. and took a few laps.

Coverage was great without any bare spots. It was a surreal feeling standing at the top of the little mountain. I tried to savor every carve and slash knowing it could be my last for 6 months or more.

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Wild Wings: Secret XC Stash in Peru VT

“Did you see how much air I got?”

“I stuck the landing! I stuck the landing!”

When I rolled into Wild Wings, half a dozen kids were taking turns skating down a hill in front of the base lodge and doing tricks off a berm at the edge of their parking lot. Catching air, 180s, you name it. Olympian Andy Newell inspired a generation with his video Generation X Ski, part of which featured him doing tricks on cross-country skis in a halfpipe.

Five years ago, we arrived at Wild Wings in late afternoon, and skied for 45 minutes as it grew dark. Low clouds and mist in the pines cast a mysterioso vibe that had me itching to return.

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