A History of Hunter Mountain

Hunter Mountain Ski BowlThe history of Hunter Mountain is the story of two brothers whose desire to build would not be denied.

Orville and Israel Slutzky had a vision for a ski area on a steep, rocky mountain in Hunter New York, and no amount of adversity or skepticism was enough to deter them from their goal.

In the mid-1950’s the sport of skiing was gaining popularity in New York and across the northeast. At the same, as people became more mobile and began to travel farther for vacations, the Catskills’ appeal as a summer vacation destination was declining. Meanwhile a few miles to the south, Belleayre Ski Center was attracting visitors and driving economic activity in the town of Pine Hill.

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A History of Mount Van Hoevenberg

“When I was a boy, we made skis out of barrel staves. We didn’t know we were supposed to use poles,” George Remington recounted.

Skiing at Mount van Hoevenburg.
photo courtesy of ORDA

George, my grandfather, grew up on Racquette Lake, where his parents were caretakers for a great camp. Some historians posit that Racquette Lake got its name because a retreating Tory brigade abandoned their snowshoes (“racquette” in French) on their flight to Canada during the Revolution. It’s a paradox that Grandpa was figuring out skis in a place named for a huge pile of abandoned snowshoes.

My grandfather would have been on skis in the early 1920s, about the same time that the first ski races were held in Lake Placid. Originally a summer resort, the town began promoting winter sports around 1905. One account suggests that winter vacationers back then had to be taught how to have fun on the snow.

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Introducing the NY Nordic Ski Area Directory

In the original blog entry announcing the NY Ski Area Directory we included a comment about the possibility of developing a section for cross country ski areas. At the time, I didn’t know what was involved.

While my roots are in cross country skiing, I had no idea how many nordic centers were in the state and didn’t know what would make a directory valuable to both classic and skate skiers.

Shortly after the original post, I got a note from Peter Minde, a forum member and follower of NYSkiBlog. He was enthusiastic about the nordic section of the directory, so I asked him if he was interested in being the guest editor of the directory. He agreed.

Peter is a dedicated and knowledgeable nordic skier. He’s the editor of www.oxygenfedsport.com and a freelance writer who contributes to both fasterskier.com and Trail Runner magazine. He’s also an age group winner at the Lake Placid Loppet and has skied more than 100 races. He regards both Mount van Hoevenberg and Vermont’s Prospect Mountain as home bases, but he’s also happy setting tracks old school in the park near home in the NY metro area.

Each listing in the nordic directory includes a trail map and statistics about the area including elevation, trail counts, snowfall statistics, links to conditions reports and information about area amenities for each area featured.

The nordic directory is a work in progress. It’s our goal to produce a complete profile for each area based on actual skier experience. Peter has been incredibly valuable in this regard, but we will continue to build out the directory over the summer and in the years to come. We hope NYSB reader will share their knowledge to make the directory as complete as possible.

Input on the directory as a whole can be added as comments below this blog post. Comments or additions on specific area profiles can be emailed to us: