Depending on how you look at it……. it has been a tough winter. If you live out west, you have had colossal snows and are probably getting weary of shoveling, road closures and roofs that are buried in snow. As a skier, you have perhaps had one of the best winters in years but still tough to get around. We missed new snow on our recent week in Utah, but the sunshine was welcome that week. My powder skis are still collecting dust, but maybe I will get to use them at the end of the month on our trip to Oregon? But suffice to say, the west is buried in snow and at least it will end the tough drought conditions out there.
Back here in the mid-Atlantic, it has been a tough winter from a skier’s perspective. I always say that if you live here, you can’t always be out west and you have to make the best out of local ski conditions and local ski areas. Unfortunately, this has been a thin one, but our local areas have done a good job of making snow and grooming and trying to give us the best conditions that they can muster in spite of challenging odds. Vail’s first year or ownership has shown promise, in my opinion, because they have been really challenged in their first year of operating our local areas. Lots of comments pro and con out there and lots to do in the coming summer to get ahead of things for the next ski season ( think expanded snowmaking and new chairlifts), but Vail is data driven and sees the potential of keeping local skiers satisfied.
That being said, we have skied in a lot of icy conditions, rain, poor visibility to get our days in. We all talked about how much work it is to get the days in and what we have to put up with in years like this. But the Epic Pass has brought out all the diehards and the numbers of people skiing are increasing despite marginal conditions.
As a skier, it is disheartening to see all the rain we have had lately and the warm temperatures especially when the ski season around here is limited to 4 months at best. We do take our trips which kind of salvage the winter, but this season has been a struggle locally, and there is the need to follow the snow and somewhere within local distance. Enter Ellicottville, New York.
EVL as it is called is a nice shot in the arm when you are jonesing for winter. This week, my pals Porter Scott and Hiller Hardie and I made the decision to get out of Dodge for two days and take in Holimont and Holiday Valley up in EVL. A great decision seeing that as soon as we got to Meadville, the ground was turning white from the Lake Erie snow machine and it was starting to look like winter again. The three hour drive is well worth it and we always say that if it was a little closer, we would all opt to ski there all the time as a “local” option.
Ellicottville is a great town with ski and bike shops, great restaurants, and specialty shops. It is like a little New England ski town planted right in the middle of Western New York. For us, the short trip was just what the doctor ordered with snow everywhere and sunny conditions which brightened our spirits and kind of jump started the winter again for us in the beginning of March. We felt like we were getting robbed with an early ending, and that Phil the rodent, was less than truthful in his prediction. But we gave him a pass as we made our way into the Alleghenies of Western New York.
One thing about skiing with Porter and Hiller is that they are two friends who are as passionate about skiing as I am. Part of all the fun is the enthusiastic conversation about skiing on the chair lift and at dinner. We pull out all the old stories and as the saying goes” the older we get, the better we were.” But the undertone is that we all want to stay in shape so that we can continue to ski for a long time barring any catastrophic events. We love to ski and although we live in the mid-Atlantic, we make the best of it and try for as many days as we can. My wife thinks I am obsessed and maybe I am? I am passionate about some things and to me, there is no better feeling in the outdoors than a good carved turn on some nice groomed runs. And to ski fresh loose snow is always a bonus. Lake Erie fluff, as I call it, is special and to us- well worth the drive.
So until Oregon, I will try to finish up around here and again applaud Vail for trying their best. Riding the chair lift with brown grass below is not very appealing but making turns is, and after the season, it is a long 8 months until I can have that feeling again. Thank for reading.