Jonas: Know When To Hold Em

I was in denial last week. As always I followed the weather closely and I knew the storm was coming. But as late as Wednesday I was holding out hope that storm would track west and deliver the goods to the mountains. Heaven knows we need it.


But as the week wore on, the forecast pushed the storm track even farther south and east, and by Friday even the Catskills were getting skunked.

Still, foolishly I clung to my plan: I’d stay home Saturday, weather the storm and if the power stayed on, I get up even earlier than usual, shovel out, and daytrip Plattekill.

winter storm jonas

Snow started to fall in earnest before midnight on Friday and when I woke Saturday morning the girls were still asleep. I made coffee, posted the NYSB weather update and strapped on an ancient pair of Karhu skinny skis.

When it snows in our corner of the flatlands there is no shortage of places to ski. The planners in our town have gone to great lengths to preserve hundreds of acres in the midst of one of the most densely populated parts of the east coast. With a just a little bit of walking, there is a lot of open space available.


During Winter Storm Jonas there was no walking required. The snow was coming down hard enough so that it was game on right out the front door, I started skiing right on our street. Right across main street and into the preserve.

I was the first to venture out on skis and was breaking my own trail. I tracked a few out-of-the-way routes, hoping that in the afternoon I could take advantage of my effort and ski some posthole free tracks. This part of the country doesn’t get enough snow for the average joe to develop respect for ski tracks.


It snowed into the night, ending before midnight. After dark I headed out to cheer on my hero Al, who owns a body shop on our otherwise residential street. During any mega-storm he’s out all night with his snowblower helping everyone out.

Early Sunday morning, I didn’t even consider heading to the Catskills. Everything was buried under close to thirty inches of snow, and heading out wasn’t practical or even legal until 7am.


I did a repeat of Saturday: coffee, Karhus and ski. At that hour the plows hadn’t nearly caught up and the roads were still skiable. When I got to the park, the only evidence of my tracks from the day before were subtle undulations that were visible in the bright angled light of a sunny dawn.

It was a spectacular morning, quiet and cold, beautiful by any standard. Still, at times I found myself resisting a mind game, looking down at my skis as I pushed them through the snow, pretending I was in the mountains of New York.


I believe that one thing that draws us to skiing is the fact that you need a coincidence of factors to create snow. To the human mind, nature is magic, unpredictable and uncontrollable by definition.

The incredible snowstorm I experienced this past weekend was something special, and I did appreciate it. Like the guy on the fatbike, I’d like to get to the point where it’s second nature to take what is given and enjoy it for what it is. I think I made progress.

8 comments on “Jonas: Know When To Hold Em

  1. Sadly, no snow up in VT and we are still here as driving back would have taken us hours and we heard parking was short of impossible and all the lots near us (within 1 mile) were charging $50 per day to park your car! So, we opted to just stay up here another day and head back during the day. I will say the skiing was great up here – not busy at all and pretty much had the mountain to ourselves. Bitter cold but, the snow was really good and the glades decent. Thankful for the snow earlier in the week up here though wishing Jonas tracked due North too.

    Happy to see the PA,VA and NJ hills getting pounded – those places so needed it and hoping that they can recover some of their losses from this hard season.

  2. I saw quite a few Nordic skiiers sliding through my town, Maplewood! It was great to see. The golf course lets people slide around too, they told me, and the trails in South Mountain Reservation are also popular.

  3. If you wanna make some turns, Mt Minski Fire Trail might be really sweet. As a mid-atlantic native I always dreamed of where I would ski so close to home in snow like this…

  4. I took advance of Jonas in a different way. I ventured from Orange County to Hunter on Sunday. Apparently a lot of people from Long Island and other points south were still digging out on Sunday so the lift lines were about half the size they normally would be on a weekend day there. Hunter didn’t receive any snow from Jonas but the conditions were good just the same.

  5. Harv, it was a similar scene in my part of NJ. On Saturday, I skied the streets of Dover. It was already so deep in the park at 11 AM, and coming down so hard, that trying to set track would have been futile. Sunday morning at 3:30 AM, the town had plowed the mouth of my driveway shut. There was no percentage trying to get up to Prospect. I dug out and went for a nice day at high Point.

  6. Being in the Northern part of NJ I also took advantage of the 20 + inches we received. Sat was a short trek on the skinny skis down my street through an old trolley track that cuts through my neck of the woods. Didn’t go far was just nice to get out for a bit. Sun I grabbed my AT gear and headed for some gas and power lines which I’ve had my eye on for quite some time. After a a bit of a trek I earned some fantastic turns before my 108’s discovered the multitude of hard, sharp, pointy things beneath me. The snow was extremely light which was fantastic but with no base underneath you get the picture. My skis certainly took a beating but I’d have to say it was worth it. The way this winter is going I’m not sure when I’ll get that chance again.

  7. Usually I want to stay where the snow is, but with nothing forecasted for the Catskills and crippling snow and state of emergency forecasted for Northern New Jersey, I decided to “get out of Dodge” while the roads were still clear. So I packed the car and headed up to my house near Plattekill. It was the right choice: Platty was empty on a blue bird sky day! Saturday was also empty because most weekenders were stuck in the suburbs. Plattekill made some excellent snow and is proving that they are serious about making snow when mother nature does not cooperate. So after two great days of skiing and riding, I headed home very early Sunday morning to spend six hours shoveling out about 30 inches in Jersey! Go figure!

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