Thursday, May 17, 2012

2011-12 Ski Season Wrap-up and Highlights

Gore Mountain's Straightbrook chairlift, Feb. 4, 2012.

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.
You wouldn't necessarily know it from the title of my article in Adirondack Almanack earlier this week - 2011-12 Ski Season the Worst in 20 Years - but I actually had a very good, maybe even excellent, ski season. Of course, that article was more about the decline in skier visits at Adirondack ski centers (and nationwide) than about my own personal experience this winter. To some extent, a skier's season is what he or she makes of it.

I had 3 goals for myself and our family this winter:
  • Ski as a family at a few new ski areas. Our season passes to Gore keep us pretty locked in there, but our family skied 3 days at Whiteface and a day at Bromley. Check.

  • Get our 4-year old daughter, Sylvie, skiing. By mid-winter Sylvie was riding the T-bar and skiing down the bunny slope on her own. By the end of the season we had her skiing down from the gondola. Her big break-through came when she took a lesson at Willard. She's more than ready for Gore's Mountain Adventure program next winter. Check.

  • Beth skiing the Porter Mountain Loops at Mount Van Hoevenberg, Feb. 23, 2012.
  • More cross-country skiing for Beth and me, including racing in the Lake Placid Loppet. Well, two out of three ain't bad. Poor ski conditions near home completely eliminated the possibility of local cross country skiing. There was some good skiing to be had at the touring centers, but that didn't fit well into our schedule other than one daytrip to Mount Van Hoevenberg. The Loppet was postponed and then ultimately cancelled. There's always next winter.

If there was a common theme to last winter's skiing, it was that conditions were almost always better than expected. Near the end of the season, another skier commented to me "Too bad for the people who missed out on this season because they thought there was no snow. There was plenty, thanks to the snowmaking and grooming crews." Here is a sampling of photos from the season.

Essex, on Whiteface's Media Day, December 14, 2011:

Hawkeye, bumped up the way it should be. Gore Mountain, December 26, 2011:

Running the snowguns on Whiteface's Mackenzie trail, January 15, 2012:

Riding the Snow Train to Gore, February 11, 2012. The skiing was pretty good too!

Skyward, at Whiteface, February 20, 2012:

Skiing the Cave Glades at Gore, Sunday afternoon, February 26, 2012:

Late afternoon on Ripcord. Sugarbush, VT, March 15, 2012:

Hawkeye above a sea of clouds. Gore Mountain, Saint Patrick's Day, March 17, 2012:

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