Sitting on my porch in shorts today, it’s hard to believe a week ago I was riding in a big storm. Last week was the best of the season for me, snowboarding six days in a row.
Wednesday and Thursday was the finale of night skiing at Woods Valley. I made my last turns under the lights before heading to Gore on Friday with coworkers.
Then I set my sights on Royal Mountain for the incoming powder on Saturday.
To finish the week I headed south to the Catskills for Belleayre on Sunday and a private rental at Plattekill on Monday.
Each day had its merits and they are all some of the best days of riding I’ve had this year, but the day at Royal was best of all. The storm delivered what could be the last powder day of the season in CNY and conditions were prime.
When Alex, Katie, Farah and I went to bed Friday night, there wasn’t a single patch of snow on the ground in Utica. The next morning there wasn’t a patch of visible ground. The one hour drive to Royal Mountain took two hours, with whiteout conditions and heavy snow drifts.
There was only one single row of cars in the lot when we pulled just after 9am. The top of the hill wasn’t visible and already the parked cars had gained a layer of snow. We geared up, grabbed tickets and slid over to Lift 2.
By the time we got to the top of the first run 6 inches had fallen. Our warm up run down Prince was dreamy with plenty of untracked snow to rip. Challenge and Royal are steeper and the turns wee even better turns with some face shots.
The trails were almost empty, so we had ample room to get fresh lines. With all the snow Royal’s undulations and steeper pitches really shined. Alex and I found plenty of natural drops and kickers to send. I had been day dreaming of a day like this since my first visit to Royal last year. Conditions kept getting better.
It felt like we had been riding all day but it was only 11. The snow was still coming down, and despite waterproofing we were wet. Inside the lodge we hung our gear up around the fireplace to dry out. The prices at Royal seem to deny inflation; we grabbed dollar coffees and three dollar waffles to refuel.
Soon our gear was dry and we were back at it, no more breaks. On the hill the snow was coming down even harder, the refills were on tap.
We cruised the greens to get back into the groove. The low angle trees were starting to look appetizing and we found ample coverage to make turns. With that in mind, Alex and I headed to Gladed Wench for some steeper trees. Coverage was coming back well, although a careful line selection was still required. A few cosmetic dings later, we popped back on to the main trail all smiles. Tools not jewels right?
The snow started to slow down around 3pm and so did we. Our legs were burning and we needed to save energy for the trip to the Catskills.
Riding the hype, Farah and I speculated on how good the following days would be. Sunday our group expanded with more friends and we spent the day dodging crowds at Belleayre. Conditions were still good and the sun was out. We capped off the trip Monday at Plattekill, which a friend of a friend had rented out. A bluebird spring ski day, with good friends and an empty resort.
As we said our goodbyes and headed home I thought, does this really have to end?