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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McCauley: The Answer

As another week unfolded, things went true to routine, for this season. A healthy dose of overtime at work to get it all done, and a chance for snow in the forecast. I picked up the hotline to reach out to Scottski. He was thinking the same thing as I; McCauley on Friday.

Scottski, Mogul Junkie, Lemmycaution and I all wanted to ski McCauley on Friday, but beyond that things were unsettled. Carpool options were complicated; ultimately only Scott and MJ shared and I drove solo. I had three days to ski, and our place, 60 miles east of McCauley, was top of mind. From there, both Whiteface and Snow Ridge — ground zero for the recent new snow — are within range.

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