Hunter Mountain First Melt

Spring skiing is something you can count on. Or at least it feels that way. As the inexorable warming that starts in March continues to build, all that snow has to melt. When that happens the skiing has got to be good, right?

NY Thruway

The odds of scoring perfect corn snow may or may not be higher than the odds of scoring powder. I have seven pow days this year, and if I get seven corn days, I’ll be ecstatic. Still, I believe there’s a perception among skiers that good spring skiing is somewhat inevitable.

But the last two years haven’t worked out that way for me. Like many of us, last year I missed spring completely. I didn’t ski any kind of melt before my last day, on March 8.

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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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