The 2010-2011 ski season started off slowly, without a lot of natural snow. In our corner of New York — the southern Adirondacks — we only had ten inches of snow by New Years Day.
But sustained cold through the entire season ensured that what we got stuck around, and NY ski mountains made steady progress covering trails with manmade snow.
My season included a nice lists of firsts. I skied the opening days at Gore, Hunter and Plattekill. And my day at Hunter was the debut of New York’s first six pack chairlift, the Kaatskill Flyer.
Opening day at Plattekill was also a treat. I was fortunate to ski with the “official unofficial Platty stashmeister” Sean Riley. He assured me that Laszlo would want us to duck the ropes and snag some fresh tracks on the unopened runs served by the double chair.
On the last weekend before the holidays, I made it back up to the Adirondacks. On December 18, I met Danzilla before dawn, and we headed up to Wilmington. Early in the season, and all season long, Whiteface got significantly more snow than Gore, including a foot and a half a few days before we arrived. The highlight of the day was lapping Wilderness which was all natural and 100% ungroomed.
I love skiing on my birthday, January 8th. As an added bonus, we scored 10+ inches of powder snow overnight. It was the beginning of a nice streak — by my count, at Gore we got 68 inches in the next 30 days.
January 29 was the opening of Gore’s Interconnect — the trails that join Gore Mountain and one of the oldest ski areas in New York, the North Creek Ski Bowl. While those connector trails are flat in spots, we felt inspired, skiing from the summit of Gore down into the upper Hudson Valley towards North Creek.
On February 12, I had my first chance to test myself at Hickory Ski Center in Warrensburg. I’d been to the mountain in the fall to tour the hill, and was excited to ski the steep, ungroomed terrain on 100% natural snow. Hickory was everything I’d imagined — challenge, bumps, trees and the wonderful, comfortable feeling you get when you are surrounded by friends.
Late in February, after two years of lessons, Neve boarded the Gondola, and we skied as a family for the first time. I was on cloud nine when the three of us skied Gore’s signature green trail, Sunway, together. It was as much fun as any run I had this year. Neve led the way, and Zelda and I followed the leader with huge grins on our faces.
The next day, I headed down to the Ski Bowl via the Interconnect to ski the trees with the most knowledgeable locals in North Creek. The terrain is challenging and the trees are surprisingly well spaced. I decided that day that the Ski Bowl was more than a living ski museum — it’s yet another facet on a great big mountain.
Danielle and Laszlo, the owners of Plattekill, are two very aggressive marketers. On March 18, they offered a free ski-day to Plattekill Facebook fans. Plattekill gained 700 new fans, and I had my first day of spring skiing. Conditions were fantastic. Laszlo kept the lifts running well past 5 pm and we skied until the sun went behind the mountain.
I’d been dreaming of skiing Jay Peak for years. In early March, I made my first trip to Jay for the first Northeast Ski Blogger Summit. We’d planned the Summit far in advance, and Jay seemed the logical choice for the best shot at good conditions. That reasoning paid off, as a major NCP event a few day before missed Jay, and eight inches of snow during the first morning of NSBS delivered one of my best days of the season.
Finally, in early April, after four years of trying, I got my first chance to ski the Slides at Whiteface. It was a huge day. For his first ski trip to New York, Riverc0il had driven from New Hampshire to stay with me at the cabin. After skiing groomers in the morning, he and I got three laps in the Slides. Our third lap, on Slide 4 with Highpeaksdrifter, may have been my most exciting run this year.
35 days was the most I’d ever skied in one season. Our four-year old is thriving on skis. I skied Hickory, Jay Peak, The Slides and the Ski Bowl for the first time. A perfect season could have included a few more powder days, and a shot at Tuckerman Ravine. But when I look back at it, it’s hard to ask for too much more.