Saturday, February 25, 2012


AMAZING day at Plattekill today.  They got 3-4" yesterday before the rains started, but the groomers did a great job last night and it was soft, smooth corduroy this morning.  And then, around noon, it started to snow.  A lot.  Total whiteout for a good half hour and the snow kept comin' all day.  Was snowing pretty hard when I left.

After skiing on man-made hard-pack all season, we finally got to feel real snow under our feet - and legs!  Definitely a lot more work pushing deeper snow around.  Even started to get some nice bumps on Blockbuster and Freefall. 

Here's a view from the top of Northface after the skies opened up a bit:

Apres ski, got to play some tunes in the lodge with friends Alyson Slack and Aaron Pacitti, who came down for the day from Albany.  We then headed over to WIOX Radio in Roxbury to play some tunes live Terry Doyle's Crackle program.

New snow, good friends, old time music: it just doesn't get any better that that.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Token of my Extreme

These days, seems like it's all about the extreme.  Sure, it's a lot of fun to watch on TV - which might explain the profusion and proliferation of so-called extreme sports.  But how many of us are really going to do that backflip off that cliff?  And how many of us really should?

I've got nothing against gettin' a little air now and then, but when we focus on the extreme, or even the 'deepest pow' or the steepest slopes, we often miss out on the joy of the snow we've got or the terrain that's underfoot.

Took Henry today to one of our favorite parks nearby, right on the Hudson River. Woke up to snow on the ground this morning - a rare event this winter, as we all know. I'll be at Plattekill tomorrow, but today was all about climbing up and sliding down a little hill in our neighborhood.  I guess that's extreme in its own way.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Clinton County IceFest 2012

As the father of an almost-two-year-old boy, my suspicions were confirmed when I came across this article in the New York Times last year about the decrease of testosterone levels in fathers who are actively involved in raising a child.

These days, there's nothing unusual about dads changing diapers, feeding, bathing - caring for a child.  Times have changed:  I'd be surprised if my dad changed a single diaper in his day. But, it seems, being a caregiver entails a sacrifice of more than time and energy: quite literally, you become less of a man.

For me, then, this year's IceFest - my second - functioned as a kind of hormone-replacement therapy to counteract testosterone deprivation associated with the duties of fatherhood.  It's eight guys in a hunting cabin on top of a mountain in North-Central (Hyner) Pennsylvania with guitars, banjos, fiddles, ukes, mandolins, a little percussion and a lot of beer, whiskey and great food. And guns.

There's a little skiing, too.  Not a lot of snow this year, but still a couple of the prettiest days on a mountain I've enjoyed this winter.  Here are some pictures:

Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here

The Road Less Travelled
Old and In the Way

Look Out!  He's Got a Gun!

Fungus Among Us

The End

Friday, February 17, 2012

Ain't Nothin' Like the Real Thing, Baby...

Skiing on man-made snow all season certainly beats the alternative - that is, not skiing at all.  But we here in the Catskills had almost forgotten what the real stuff was like. Machine-made snow isn't really snow, of course - those are little-bitty ice pellets. Real snow is silkier.

We were treated to a few inches of fresh this morning.  A bit heavy, and -  I confess -  I bailed out of the deeper stuff back onto the safety of predictable corduroy (might have to invest in some rockered powder skis).  My paltry 80mm underfoot wasn't enough to cut through, I guess - though I did manage to save some face in the afternoon with a run down skied-up, ungroomed Blockbuster.  Here's a cool view from the top ---------->>>

And here's Wayne at the top of Northface, which skied great all day long: 
A terrific day, and bound to be a nice holiday weekend at Platty.  The freeheeler's off to PA tomorrow for the Clinton County Icefest - eight guys in a hunting cabin at the top of a mountain with banjos, whiskey and guns.  Could get dangerous.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Making the best of it...

We all love spring skiing - soft corn, warm temps.  But who expects spring conditions in early February?!

This is the worst winter for skiers that anyone can remember - but that doesn't mean you can't still have a great time skiing.  Spirits are high and chins are up at Plattekill, where they've been rolling the snow-ball uphill even as Mother Nature keeps pushing it down with warm temps and rain.  But we seem to be having a good stretch of cold overnight temps now, and last weekend was a blast on the mountain.  Here's a late-day pic from last Friday.