Back in the fall, when it became clear that Ski Areas were going to make a go of it this season, I purchased a Frequent Skier Card that gave me discounted lift tickets at all three of the New York State owned Ski Areas. In fact, the first and sixth days are FREE! So my goal was to get a minimum of six days in.
Well, yesterday was Day Six, and what a day it was. Coming on the heels of the big snowstorm we had earlier this week, I was excited at the prospect of some excellent conditions. I had no trouble waking at 5 am. and getting on the road by 5:35. Thankfully, the road conditions were fine and the drive to Belleayre was smooth as could be. I took notice of the accumulated snow along the way, and was pretty anxious when I settled into a parking spot at about 8:15 am.. I had brought a chair along with me, to assist in the changing process, but the 20 degree temperature lead me to reconsider – I got changed inside the car.
Layered up against the cold, I was on the slopes by 8:40, and was not disappointed with the conditions at all. In fact, it seemed that Belleayre had gotten an additional snow accumulation of about four inches, the night before. Looking down on my first Chairlift ride, I could not wait to leave my mark on some of that untouched snow, I saw.
The first two hours were really great, with hardly anyone there, almost all trails open, and plenty of fresh snow to be found. The place got kind of crowded by late morning and there were actually some fairly long lift lines, but the sun came out and the temperature rose, making it an even nicer day. By about 1 pm., I began to wind it down and stayed only on less challenging terrain.
By 2:30, I was back at the car to peel off layers and ready myself for the trek home. It was a balmy 30 degrees in the parking lot, so I was able to employ the chair, during the changeover (an idea I stole from some regulars I had seen earlier in the season). It did make the process much easier. I was on the road before 3 pm., and quickly devoured my Peanut Butter Sandwich, washing it down with water. As the CRV winded its way east, I began to realize just how beautiful it can be in that area of the Catskills, especially along Esopus Creek.
I stopped for gas along Route 28 and was so enjoying the winter scenery, that I almost drove past Woodstock Brewing. I realized jut in time and stopped in to pick up some choice items to bring home, for later.
The rest of the journey home was pretty uneventful, which allowed for some reflection. I was thoroughly and satisfyingly, fatigued and recognized that I am extremely fortunate to be doing all of this stuff, especially considering the state of the world. I almost felt guilty… Almost!