Hunter: The Season Opens in NY

After the 2019-20 ski season ended with a whimper on the wind, I was determined to ski every chance I got this year and be thankful for it. So when Hunter Mountain — one of three hills that I can day trip from Long Island — announced Opening Day 2020, I made a reservation.

Alan Belsky
photo by Gabrielle Feilen, Hunter Mountain

I pulled into the muddy lot to the right of the main building a little after 9:30. Everyone was funneled into one entrance greeted by three or four Hunter employees with scanners. I breezed past the ticket windows serving a handful of customers and through the underpass without going into the lodge. A ribbon of beautiful white snow and a mass of maybe fifty people were in line or milling around the base, all wearing masks.

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Thanksgiving Monday POW at Hunter

Last week, after a major rain event on Tuesday, my hopes for a great weekend of family skiing were tempered. We made the call to sit out our traditional start to the season, at Gore, after Thanksgiving.  We opted to get our Christmas tree and hang out at home.

Hunter bar before first chair

While Winter Storm Ezekiel never made it on to my radar, I was vaguely aware of a chance for redemption late in the weekend.

As the week came to a close, forecast snow amounts grew, and my plan to watch the storm from my desk at work began to evolve. As I walked out of the office Wednesday evening, I called out “see you on Tuesday!” just in case.

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Anticipation: Hunter Opens 2019

Anticipation. It started late last spring, over Memorial Day weekend. It grew, on the summer solstice, as I bought new skis when most were considering summer beach plans. Almost before the season was over, I couldn’t wait to slide on snow again.

Hunter Mountain is open
Hunter Mountain: November 17, 2019

My plan, as always, was to start my ski season the day before Thanksgiving. But this year, the recent cold snap encouraged the big hills in the east to blow snow, I couldn’t resist the urge to get out earlier.

With only a day to ski, I wanted to stay close to home, downstate. With no natural snow in the Catskills, I turned to the “Snowmaking Capital of the World” — Hunter Mountain — which opened for the season on Friday.

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