Lake Erie Fluff

This week, the west is being pounded with “Snowmageddon”. Amazing amounts of snow in the Tahoe and Mammoth Mountain region. I can’t wait to get out there in March, but for the time being we are treated here in the east to the maddening cycle of snow and cold, rain, warmer temperatures, back to cold, ice, wind, etc. etc. etc. It takes fortitude to be a skier in the East and even if there is no snow on the ground in the city and suburbs, don’t ever underestimate the power of grooming, and snowmaking at the local resorts. img_1265

Fortunately cycles change and we are blessed periodically with a phenomena that I call Lake Erie fluff. As with the storms that come from the Pacific that bang into the Cascades, we here in the banana belt see storms that come from Canada. They roll over the warmer waters of Lake Erie which produce locally heavy snows in the Western New York areas as well as colliding with the ridges of the Laurel Highlands and produce a light powdery snow that is the fluff. Lake Erie is our “snow machine” and for those who live in the northwest corner of Pa. and Western New York, it is a reality of winter even in the cyclical winters of late. I went to school in Meadville, Pa where I wore Bean boots from September through May. But to local skiers, we look forward to these storms which can salvage the cyclical damage of the winter rain, freezing rain and warmer events. IMG_0515

My wife Janet and I take advantage of these storms each winter snowshoeing and skiing locally but also traveling north to the Lodge at Glendorn to celebrate her birthday and to take advantage of mid winter storms in the “icebox” of Pennsylvania. Snowshoeing on the local trails there is a very pleasant experience especially when the Lake Erie fluff falls softly during our outings. The crackling fires of the lodge are welcoming and we have been very fortunate to time these visits with snow events rather than warmer, rain events. We usually combine these visits with trips to Ellicottville, NY to ski at Holimont or Holiday Valley, each of which lie directly in the path of the storms rolling across Lake Erie. ellicottville-20130208-00088

It is not uncommon here in Pa. to see blizzard conditions in the northwest corner of the state with nothing on the ground as you drive farther to the south. Then the snowpack increases as you drive into the Laurel Highlands where you see the results of the storms colliding with those ridges and emptying larger amounts of the fluff on the local areas in the region. A strange weather pattern to be sure but it enables us to have some outdoor winter activities despite not being in the more traditional snowbound areas of New England or the west. newaerial

I often hear people say that they don’t ski in the east or they don’t ski locally, they only ski out west. That is fine if you are satisfied with only a week or two enjoying your favorite winter sport. In my mind, take advantage of the local opportunities so that when you do go on a trip, you can be ready to go. In my mind, making turns is making turns. The more you make of them, the better you are prepared and also the more you can enjoy the winter. This particular winter has been a strange one but skiing Wildcat at Laurel Mountain has been a fun experience seeing that it is the steepest slope in Pennsylvania and the area has been reopened after a 10 year hiatus. I know that lapping those runs will get me ready for my Adirondack and western trips but it also has been truly enjoyable in its own right. Janet and I will be venturing north shortly and hoping for a nice dump of that Lake Erie fluff again on our visit. Our friends, Mike and Judy Smith, drive all the way from Philly to join us.img_0541 They usually only ski the west but were pleasantly surprised with the Holimont experience in Western New York. Also the stay in Glendorn is memorable. Get there if you can.

13 thoughts on “Lake Erie Fluff

  1. Janet says:

    Nice!! Can’t wait !I Hope we have perfect conditions πŸ˜‰

  2. Bill belch says:

    ooh yes the wild banana belt for sure ,, enjoying every day just going with it , snow head to the mountains ,mud -trail it .great read pat !

  3. Russel Davies says:

    Great post Pat.There is also lake effect snow off of Lake Ontario. I lived in Rochester NY in the late 60’s. The most dependable lake effect snow band routinely dumped snow on the Tug Hill Plateau which is located North of Rome NY between Syracuse and Watertown. Snow Ridge Ski Area is located there by the village of Turin. We often skied there. I was snowed in there for a week. When we left after the roads opened all you could see was the cross bars of the electric lines along the sides of the road. And of course Bristol Mountain and Swain Ski Areas southwest of Rochester benefitted from both Lake Erie and Lake Ontario snow belts.

  4. Art Bonn says:

    I love that whole area Holiday Valley, Holimont, Ellicottville, it’s great! The snow machine from the lake really helps. I hope you guys get some fluff and great conditions while you’re there.

  5. Matthews, Jamie says:

    From: chroniclesofmccloskey
    Reply-To: chroniclesofmccloskey
    Date: Thursday, January 12, 2017 at 11:28 AM
    To: “Matthews, Jamie”
    Subject: [New post] Lake Erie Fluff

    patmccloskey posted: “This week, the west is being pounded with “Snowmageddon”. Amazing amounts of snow in the Tahoe and Mammoth Mountain region. I can’t wait to get out there in March, but for the time being we are treated here in the east to the maddening cycle of snow and”

  6. oclv454 says:

    “A turn is a turn”…….sort of like saying “a grape is a grape” when it comes to wine. I will say, if you can turn ’em in the East, you can turn ’em anywhere.

  7. Lisa says:

    That is a private to ski. I will have to try it. I like Holiday Valley and Let me know when you and Janet snowshoe. I have some too and never go.

  8. Lisa says:

    Nice blog. One thought is that you could go further north to Lake Placid see blog link abou it at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s