Kickstart My Heart: New Trails at Mt Van Ho

Part 1: New Years

On New Year’s Eve, I drove to Lake Placid with the child for a short, socially distanced ski break. Lake Placid had only been brushed by the storm that dumped 30 inches elsewhere in the northeast. When we arrived Mt van Hoevenberg was operating on machine made snow on the new trail system designed in advance of the World University Games.

Biathlon Range

Everything at MVH is different this winter, and not just for the reasons you’d expect. I parked and walked to the towering new lodge. Part of the building is open, and construction is still underway. I collected my season pass and headed out.

Continue reading

First Tracks at Mt Van Hoevenberg

Who needs West Yellowstone when you’ve got early season skiing nearby? After Thanksgiving dinner, I set out up the Thruway for Lake Placid. Gusting wind pushed my new used VW shooting brake around, treating the ski box as a spinnaker.

Mount van Hoevenberg skiers

Rain washed away the snow Mount van Ho had the previous weekend, leaving only the 500-meter loop of machine made snow, courtesy of the Snow Factory. After a leisurely Friday morning breakfast, I clipped into skate skis. The Snow Factory loop had held up through the warming trend, still 18” deep.

After a couple laps around the loop, I ran in to Duncan Douglas. We shot the breeze, he intended to ski the Porter Mountain trail. But he’s a larger than life two-time Olympian, and I’m just a guy from Jersey. I opted to stay on the mini loop.

Continue reading

Freshies at Mount van Hoevenberg

With the Technoalpin Snowfactory running in full cry, I heeded the siren call to Mount van Hoevenberg for opening day. Leaving right after Thanksgiving dinner, the traffic was relatively easy, and I arrived at my lodging spot around 10:30 PM. After decompressing from the drive, I fell into bed.

mount van hoevenberg snow factory
Snowfactory photo courtesy ORDA/Whiteface Lake Placid

On Friday morning, there was a glistening 1000-meter loop of machine made snow. It might not sound like much, but the Snowfactory was still cranking out crystals as the temperature hovered around 40 degrees.

Perhaps it was a turkey hangover, but van Ho was quiet in the morning: perhaps 8 other skiers were traversing the loop. Among them was two-time Olympian Robert Douglas and his family.

Continue reading