Last Call: Hero Snow at Mount Van Ho

When I saw the weather reports for the north country predicting a big snowfall in the last week of February, I made plans to go to Lake Placid on the night of Friday the 28th February.

It was the storm that kept on giving: on Saturday morning, I brushed an inch of fresh snow off my car, and drove to Mount van Ho. It was a frosty 8 degrees when I arrived.

I corked four layers of kick wax into my skis, put on all the warm clothes I owned, and set out for a tour. Since I had to head home Sunday afternoon, I decided to flip my workout routine: Saturday would be easy long distance, and Sunday would be intensity.

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The Battle of Saratoga

My alarm goes off Saturday morning at zero dark thirty. It’s the day of the New York State Ski Racing Association (NYSSRA) Championships distance race. The Battle of Saratoga will be re-enacted at the Saratoga Biathlon Club, on the shores of the Great Sacandaga Lake.

Pre-race photo by Tom Moffett

For a change, I was prepared for early departure. The ski prep was straightforward. I’d made a breakfast and a lunch the day before. All I had to do was get dressed, shave, slurp coffee and make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything. You haven’t lived ’til you’ve driven 260 miles and realized you left your ski boots at home.

Peru Nordic teammate Stan arrived from Philadelphia around 5 AM. Within 15 minutes, we were headed towards super slab.

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Trapp Family Lodge: Return to the Hills

The day after the Craftsbury Marathon, I drove to Trapp Family Lodge for a recovery ski. I hadn’t been there in 15 years.

Yes, that Trapp Family. The hills are alive, sweet vocal harmonies, cavorting in alpine meadows, and all that. After fleeing Austria, the von Trapp Family settled in Stowe, VT, buying a substantial piece of land and opening their first guest house in 1950.

In 1968, the Trapp Family Lodge opened a cross-country ski center. According to their website, it was “the first of its kind in North America.” Mohonk Mountain House began offering ski tours to their guests in the 1930s, but they didn’t — and still don’t, to my knowledge — have a lodge for day guests.

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