Man, I Wanna Be a Local

Man, I want to be a local. And this year, I’m not alone. Second homes in the mountains have been occupied full time since the spring, and the real estate market in the Adirondacks and Catskills has been off the hook.

But for me, this isn’t a new thing. I’ve been dreaming of living in the mountains of New York since I found them for the first time back in 1988. I discovered my love for cold and snow and remote locales, freeheeling in leather boots in the Siamese Pond Wilderness.

While we have a plan to make it happen, it’s a few years off, in 2024, so it’s not going to help me this season.

In pursuit

My stories on NYSkiBlog have always been, at least in part, about the struggles of a flatlander to get to the mountains. And I’m not the only one.  If you read through most of the great powder days on this blog, they often start with the challenges of balancing the weight of responsibility and distance from the mountains with the joys of skiing. For me, for now, it’s what I do.

Over the last decade, through sheer force of will, I’ve had some success, scoring experiences that are often reserved for locals. This year, there is no doubt it will be even tougher. The question is will it be possible at all? Will I be able to put together a memorable season?


I’ve been looking at couple of scenarios.

In the first, New York continues to allow skiers from contiguous states to visit without quarantine.  In that case, my strategy would essentially be the same as a normal year, with Plattekill and Gore as the backbone of my season.  I’ll continue to poach days at other mountain when the opportunity arises.  The primary difference would be that without Vermont in the picture I’ll probably venture farther west in New York, to Greek Peak and beyond.

If New York does institute rules like those of Vermont, I’ll have to get more creative, and even that might not get the job done.  Plan B is still a bit up in the air, but it would include an end-of-year quarantine, and if the weather looks promising in January, I could base myself at our cabin in the Southern Adirondacks.  I’d have to pick some days where I ski in the morning and work in the afternoon or at night.  If I could swing it for two weeks, I’d live on a steady diet of Gore, Whiteface, McCauley, Snow Ridge and Plattekill.


If that sounds a little half-baked consider that it includes no accommodation for reservations or capacity limits. Somewhere I should have master spreadsheet for every ski area in New York with details and URLs and phone numbers. But that’s just not how I roll.

Beyond all that, there are all kinds of other life logistics that I haven’t addressed. Will the fiber optic connection, promised for so long on our dirt road finally come to pass? Will my business partner, and more importantly my life partner accept an extended absence?  I like to be optimistic, but it all seems like quite a long shot.


There are only a few things in my life — outside of work and family and friends — that really get me jazzed. And most of those things, in one way or another are connected to skiing.

Yes, my first passion is skiing.  I also like being in the mountains, which let’s face it, is related to skiing. Then there is the writing. Skiing makes me happy, and when I can’t ski, writing about skiing helps.

For your sake and mine, dear reader, let’s hope we can get to the snow and you can read about skiing on this page. You’ve been very patient, and with some luck, or maybe a lot of luck, we’ll deliver.

So yea I want to be a local. This is no surprise to anyone who knows me. Until then, as Leo Kottke once said, “well, I’ll give ya what I got.”

8 comments on “Man, I Wanna Be a Local

  1. Those of us who ARE locals, especially those who work at the areas, are mostly still waiting too. Still no consistent cold, still not any significant real snow. Still waiting for the call to get called back to work. We are waiting. Unlike last year, it’s Thanksgiving week…. and there is no snow. We’d been open for two weeks already. Still, no meetings. Not much cold. More rain forecast. Few words from the front office…. I stopped by my employer late last week and it was really quiet and lonely. Restaurant was open. One other table was occupied. The one waitress said business has slacked off since the leaf peepers left…. There’s some construction work going on to deal with Covid ticketing. And there’s no sign of any snow….. I have a feeling this winter’s key word is going to patience.

  2. Harvey, I share your sentiments about this “supposed ski season” which looms large and full of doubts. I still believe there’s no need for the extremism that VT Governor Scott has unleashed on his state, by announcing quarantine rules for out-of-state visitors who come to VT to ski. Why? Most ski areas have already announced there will be no “apres ski” activities this season: this means no bars open, no big crowds milling around and spreading germs; and, the state has already been making rules limiting capacities of diners in restaurants. Now, you’re pretty much left with visiting skiers in their own lodge rooms, spreading their own germs among their own germ bubble. Big deal. And out on the mountain, does anyone seriously think that people will be catching viruses while sitting on chairlifts, at reduced capacities, traveling at 10mph? (Which btw, means the wind is blowing by you, on the lift, at 10 mph!)

    And to Doug’s comment: Cheer up man!! Snow in Nov/Dec means nothing! Last years early storm around Dec 1 was nice, but all I remember was an incredibly mediocre ski season in terms of freshies and decent weather. Last season was dismal, even before the early closings! I’m predicting an epic season because it’s going on 6 years since we had a big snow season. We’re due, don’t be blue.

  3. I want to be a local too so that I can ski every day before work. Then, every time I share a lift with a flat lander, I can say “Man, you should have been here yesterday. The snow was so much better then it is now. You really missed it, man.”

  4. “Will my business partner, and more importantly my life partner accept an extended absence?”

    Harvey, if you’re as lucky as me in this department, the answer will be “YES.” Hoping the answer will be the same for you if the opportunity arises. Most probably not as much of a longshot as you may be thinking it will be.

  5. Harv… that REALLY is all most of us Mt Folks want… to be in the Mountains all the time!
    Snow is coming! Winter is around the corner!! And we will all make do! And ya.. that little slice of property just got more valuable than money.. its space!
    Peace Y’all
    See ya on the Hill!!
    And in the parking lot for beers!
    How has the tailgator truck with beer on tap?

  6. Being “a local” is the best, but I worked 42 yrs in education before it became a reality. Worth the wait.

    Don’t hold your breath for broadband up your way. Like ours, it will be a while before it finally reaches us. I feel sorry for all of those trying to make a living on the pitiable service we have.

    That said, I got two days on the XC skis two weeks ago and looking for many more. Covid will make the Mt experience interesting to say the least. I’m looking forward to mid-week skiing and mostly skipping weekends with grandkids.

  7. After many years of leasing a camp in Johnsburg, we lost our lease to Covid. Though we have our own “rustic” summer camp in Johnsburg, it does not have adequate environmental control to allow winter stays. It is sad. Between the pandemic, lack of cold temperatures, potential ticketing issues and our inability to secure a ski camp, this winter will surely break our family traditions.

    All is not lost! I started my ski life in the Hudson Valley (Ski Dutchess) and then branched out into the Catskills. This year, I return to my roots. Plattekill is a short hop from our home and the plan is to take advantage of the great skiing I remember from my youth once again.

    Harv I’m hoping we can rendezvous for some turns despite the challenges life is throwing at us! Ski On!!

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