Another Comeback Season

I remember the Valentines Day storm in 2007 — or more accurately — I remember skiing the snow when I got there, after it ended. The storm dumped 40 inches of snow in the southern Adirondacks and the skiing was excellent for quite a while afterward.

The event was magnified by the fact that the 2006-2007 season — up until that point — had been a mostly a bust in New York. Probably just as important was that the big storm was followed by a trio of good cold storms over the next several weeks, extending the good skiing into April. What started as a washout was remembered as a pretty good season. At least I remember it so.

I haven’t skied my whole life, and for me 2006-2007 became the benchmark for a comeback season. Pretty much any year after that, if we were into the mid-winter and the skiing wasn’t great, I’d find myself thinking back to that winter, hoping for a repeat.

This past season was mild in November. In mid-December it turned brutally cold and stayed so until mid-January and during that stretch it barely snowed. The next six weeks, up until the beginning of March were uninspiring. In February I got only four ski days in, including a small amount of fresh snow one day, and another that was my only truly bad day of the season. When the clock struck March, I had 21 ski days and my annual goal of 35 days was looking out of reach.

skiing winter storm Riley

But things started to look up. Forecasts showed a southern storm track and flirted with a potentially big snowfall followed by cold. The biggest storm of the year for me, Riley, was first in line. It was a late week storm, and with some help from my friends I was in position in the mountains just before the storm hit.  Torrential rain that fell on Thursday night turned to snow at midnight and by morning there was 5 inches on the ground, down in the valley.

When we got to the mountain it was starting to rip and by mid-morning the snow was falling faster and harder than I had ever seen in my life. Maybe just as amazing, somehow we were skiing it, without wind issues or lift stoppages or power outages. The snow was so skiable and the day was so good, I felt my season had been saved, on the spot. In one day, nay six hours. Plattekill spun the lifts until just before dark. The next day was excellent as well.

Back at my desk the following week I was thinking, this is going to be hard to top. But it looked as though the southern storm track was continuing and “Quinn” was looking promising.

Once again the timing was pretty good for a flatlander, with Thursday forecast as the storm day. Magic got three feet of snow and I was up at 2:30 on Friday morning headed to Vermont. On a day that was in my top two for the year and top ten lifetime, I had my first experience at Magic.

After Quinn my season included some great Plattekill sidecountry that lasted for days after the last snowfall, some excellent corn, and closing Gore. I finished on Day 35, with some prime May Killington.

I’d like to think we can expect a late season miracle about once a decade. It remains to be seen if Riley and the storms that followed will become the new benchmark in my mind for the miracle comeback season. What comebacks do you remember? Post a comment.

13 comments on “Another Comeback Season

  1. Nice piece and pix.

    “(…) and another that was my only truly bad day of the season” — Harv starting to go off-message (never admit that you had a bad day) in his later years.

  2. Thanks for the mental re-run. I was there Saturday and was my best East Coast Day ever !!!!!!!!!!! in 40yrs. First trip to Platty as well.

  3. It seems like with climate change, the bad news is that we’ll have more winters in need of saving. The good news is that really large events may become more common. Gotta make hay

  4. Nice pics! Perfect antidote for all this damn beach weather. And last winter was indeed a great one in spite of the challenges. I think getting back to Pico after a long absence was the highlight of my season. Bring on the snow.!

  5. Good call alan.

    Ha! James… I’ve had less than five bad days in the last ten years. Seriously.

    That day I mentioned wasn’t that bad. It was getaway cold Sunday following two good days of warm corn. I took one run in the Ski Bowl and a run on Burnt Ridge and hit the road early.

    Thanks for the props all!

  6. We went to Killy for our last ski weekend on April 20th and skied glades the entire time. It was surreal.

    Global Warming + Exceptionally warm waters in the Gulf made a truly epic spring. I think the Golf is supposed to be relatively cool this year so don’t expect the same for 2019.

    Next 10+ years as long as temps stay below ~32-33 at elevation during the spring I think we’ll continue to see large events.

    15+ years looks bleak. On top of the baseline rate we now have the new Trump Coal Power Plant Giveaway, and a bunch of assholes mining BitCoin and spewing the equivalent of 1 million trans-atlantic flights worth of CO2 into the atmosphere:

    This is the last Hurrah – Enjoy it while it lasts

  7. Yeah, sad but true. Winter is f$#@ed. We moved from NY to Montana after a few rough winters to eek out a little more. Still miss aspects of the east coast ski vibe though

  8. @CK1 – So impressed with that move!!

    I live in Brooklyn and will probably end up in Jersey in a few years with the house / kids / commute. I would love to just pick up and move to Maine or something but it’s hard with jobs, family, friends and what not.

    I love skiing out West but I feel at home in the East. I enjoy skiing hard pack on a heavy 76mm wide ski one day, and then tight trees on a light 90+ the next.

    Would you be willing to share what you do and how you were able to just move to Montana? I work in tech which is possible to work remotely (although lonely), but my wife is in media and is very tied to either NYC or LA (No thanks)

  9. @TheGreatAbyss – Yeah, it was bold but has worked out so far (~2 years). My wife and I moved from Queens to Bozeman. A little bit different. 🙂 I work in the design/ construction field and Bozeman (and most of the West) is growing rapidly so it was easy to find work. Definitely took a pay cut and the cost of housing is high so economically it has been challenging but there is literally a lifetime of exploration and adventure in a 1/2 day drive radius. Being close to Bridger Bowl, Big Sky, and lots of good backcountry is fantastic. And cold smoke is everything it is hyped up to be. There is a tech sector here though small. It hasn’t all been easy. Friends and food have been hardest for me. I mean I still read NY Ski Blog regularly so obviously my east coast love is strong. I don’t know if the move will be forever but I’m glad we did it. I’d be happy to give more details if you want. You can send me a message and I’ll give you my email. Good luck

  10. Nice piece, Harvey. Makes me yearn for winter…but my internal clock tends to do that this time of year anyway. A little help from your friends and Ullr, makes for a great weekend!

  11. I remember Valentines 2007 vividly as one of the first true powder days of my life. We had a vehicle that didn’t make it home. Good times and good tales, thanks, Harv.

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