Catskill Double: Birthday Surprise

Each year I find a way to make my birthday fun. I get a few days off work and drive north to the mountains looking for adventure. When I pull it off, for the moment, I can forget I’m a year older. There’s really only one rule for the trek: it has to include skiing Plattekill.

driving at night
Required element

For me, being born in early January was a blessing.

When I was a kid, it stunk having a birthday right after Christmas. Nobody was the mood to party. But now, there’s something I really want, that I can give myself, every year without fail. My present to myself is a solution to a problem: how can I avoid pondering the relentless march of time on the annual reminder of my birth? It’s simple, go skiing.

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McCauley to the Rescue

After a nice big storm in mid-December, I think it’s fair to say we dodged a bullet at the end of last week. A second big event, originally in the long range as snow storm, looked more like a sure thing for rain as it got closer.

Adirondack cabin

Then, at the last minute, the storm track moved a bit east. Not east enough for a full-fledged happy ending, but enough to deliver both front and backend snow in NY.

I’ve been watching NY snowfall radar for 20 years, and I’ve rarely, if ever, seen that kind of significant last minute reprieve, even if it wasn’t complete.

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Gore Mountain December Thump

For me, there is no adventure without logistics. If I’m going to ski something fantastic and life affirming I’m probably going to have to do some work in advance. Some of that prep can be exciting, like deciding what skis to pack, and some of it is housekeeping and clearing my schedule.

Bob Dylan

I follow the GFS 240 hour snowfall forecast to help me anticipate opportunities. In early December, a large storm appeared at the outer limit of that forecast.  On subsequent model runs the storm came and went a few times, out to sea and then drifting back into play. Soon enough though, it started to look like we were on to something.

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