First Ride

first_ride

The first chair lift ride of the morning up Elk Mountain is sometimes nothing less than mystical.

Before the throngs of skiers load the lift, chatting about this or that, there is quiet.

The soft rumble as chairlift chairs glide along the only sound. Birds, squirrels, and other beings are used to this sound, and go about their morning business oblivious to the first few humans that ride the chairlift  up the mountain.

The chairlift affords a great perspective of the mountain and it’s critters as they awaken for the day. Squirrels scurry this way and that, carrying pine cones in their mouths. Crows call to each other, announcing their presence to each other, and maybe, the location of a tasty tidbit for them and their friends to share.

Deer can sometimes be seen traversing the slopes on their way to find breakfast.

Sky casts horizontal light, sometimes pale dawn pink, sometimes gold, across the slopes as sun breaches the horizon described by neighboring Catskills.

Along with the critters, one can sense that the mountain itself awakens.

Elk Mountain is a place where many people, enjoy that wonderful combination of gravity, winter, and physical exertion.

Quiet times on the mountains can provoke a more reflective demeanor. For some of the Native American tribes for whom the ski trails have been named, and for some of us who continue to cherish it’s residents, woods and slopes each morning, Elk is a sacred place.

Snow Tracks

snow_tracks

“I am an artist; snow is my canvas!” proclaimed the Ski King recently. Fresh snow overnight provided an opportunity for him to execute his signature “figure elevens” on the slopes of Elk.

Alongside, a snowboarder matched linked turns with a skier resulting  in the more traditional “figure eight” pattern.

The combination of a few inches of natural dry light powder snow, blended into the magnificent “white smoke” Nick and the snow crew have been blasting out of their guns has made the conditions at Elk outstanding.

With a chance of more snow over the long holiday weekend, it’s a great time to come to the neighborhood, ski, ride, and enjoy music and a bite to eat at Stone Bridge on Friday and Chet’s Place on Saturday.

Yup, it’s been quite a wait, but Winter is here!

Finally!

View from the top of Elk Mountain
View from the top of Elk Mountain

For the past month it’s been difficult to not think about skiing.

December’s unseasonable warmth, generally agreed upon as being unprecedented, kept us from the slopes until this past Tuesday.

Late last week the weather cooled to the point that the Elk Snow Crew and Groomers could work their magic and coat several slopes with enough snow to satisfy our cravings for skiing.

A brief warmup this weekend will be followed by seasonably cold weather – plenty cold for The Crew to open more and more terrain next week.

Finally, Winter seems to have arrived!