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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The Wonder Years at Mont Sauvage

Surface lifts have always held a special place in my heart, which must sound odd to skiers of a previous generation that grew up without bubble lifts and tramways.

Mont Sauvage

But there is so much to recommend about them, like low skier traffic, powder preservation and riding low and out of the wind. Plus you’re doubling your vertical by skiing uphill.

Some of my most memorable runs have been on surface lifts. My first time at Plattekill I drove up when The Weather Channel was forecasting heavy snow potential in the Western Catskills. While the Hudson Valley only had about six inches, I was getting my first taste of Platty magic, skiing the North side by myself in two feet of snow.

ticket window
Lift shack ticket window

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Mont Édouard Feels Like Home

The longest undefended border in the world exemplifies the special nature of the relationship between the United States of America and Canada. Since I moved north of that line, I find myself constantly tallying up the ways that the countries mirror and differ from each other.

Living in Quebec provides yet another layer of circumstance as the natives decide that their province is a nation-state when it suits them, or when Canadians from other provinces point fingers about how Quebec is just… different.

Still, few things bring people of all nations together like skiing. On New Years Day I found myself enjoying 8 inches of new snow at Mont Édouard with a few hundred pickup driving revelers and hardy folk.

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