Skiing the Catskill Divide

Steam poured out of the roof of the Frost Valley YMCA sugar house. I could see the sugarman tending the boil through the open door. I wanted to spend all day there hearing stories of sap runs from years gone by. But there was no time for maple lore and syrup as I had other plans.

Biscuit Brook Register
Biscuit Brook

My long time ski bum friend, M.G. Sickman dropped me off at the Biscuit Brook parking area. He was headed off to Belleayre to ski for the day. We had been to Plattekill for their Powderdaize exactly a week before and conditions were now very different. My objective was a point-to-point ski traverse along the Catskill Divide on the 15 mile Pine Hill West Branch Trail ending at Belleayre.

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Return to Mount Washington

This year my wife and I moved back east from Colorado. While I lived in Gunnison, I’d wake up early before work a few days a week and skin 2000 vertical feet before sunrise to ski, sometimes with a headlamp. This winter, back in Pennsylvania, I started skinning a small ski hill that is only 15 minutes from my house — Spring Mountain — to get my exercise and ski fix.

Mount Washington

Getting to Mount Washington was at the top of my list this spring. I hadn’t skied in the Whites since moving west and I was eager to get back. My plan was to arrive midday on Good Friday in hopes of getting a spot in one of the shelters near HoJo’s below the lower headwall of Tuckerman Ravine.

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Phat Times on Mont Albert

In the spring, backcountry skiing is a game of inches. Two degrees to either side of the dial and you’ll get a different day. That’s what it was like when my brother and I set off to ski some steeper lines at Mont Albert, in the Parc National du Gaspésie.

I’ve always felt that one of the primary reasons to drive to the Gaspé is to get a cabin at the Mines and tour right from your doorstep. The skintracks are accessible and often, in an hour and a half, you can be on top of something really nice to ski.

But Mont Albert is the king of the parc, and perhaps that is why he is the exception to the rule.

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