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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Hunter, the Hard Way

“Is this the way to Hunter Mountain?”

Here we f’n go, I thought. We were on the Spruceton Trail, a jeep road leading to Hunter’s summit and fire tower from the west. One of the biggest trails in the Catskills, it’s a veritable highway. How could you not know where you were.


Biting my tongue, I replied, “It’s a mile or so up… do you have a map?”

He pulled a crumpled piece of paper out of his pocket and unfolded it. Definitely not a NY-NJ Trail Conference map. But it was something.

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