Let the Countdown Begin!
All I can say right now is WOW! Is it really the middle of November already? It seems like the high water and awesome rapids of spring were here just yesterday. In a blink of an eye summer and fall are behind us and now we are quickly moving full steam ahead to winter, or as I look at it - ski season! While part of me wants to be nostalgic about all of the fun that came along with the seasons past, I much rather reconnect with my winter friends as we get ready to hit the fresh powder on the trails and slopes.
As we start the countdown to the 2015-16 ski season, I thought I would relive the highlights of last season experiencing the ski scene in the southern Adirondacks.
But first, A confession...
It's hard to admit this - but after having three kids, I was experiencing a bit of a dry spell. It wasn't like the click of a switch... in some ways it sort of started without me even realizing it. When my first was born, I still had the opportunity to find the occasional "me time." But when the two youngest came along so close together, I went such a long time without giving in to the urge that the term "dry spell" didn't seem to do me justice anymore. However, I'm happy to say that last year, with the kids getting a little older, I was able to break out of retirement and get my winter groove back. Better yet, when someone asks me "do you ski?" there is no more awkward silence while I try to figure out how to answer the question.
2 Ski Areas, 2 Disciplines
On a quest to get back out there, I found myself traveling out of the comfort zone of my hometown slopes - I was on a mission to try out some different Adirondack ski areas. First it was for a leisurely cross-country ski... and then, again, for a some great alpine action. Both experiences well-exceeded any expectations, and both left me craving more time in the southern Adirondacks.
Lapland Lake Nordic Vacation Center
With 38 kilometers of impeccably groomed cross-country ski trails, 12 kilometers of ungroomed trails, lodging, dining, rental & retail shop, and even a resident reindeer, Lapland Lake Nordic Vacation Center is an postcard-like ski & snowshoe destination. And, it's waiting for you just an hour north of Albany. I ventured down to Lapland Lake for the first time in a late January snowstorm. By the time I reached the ski center the snow had settled, the clouds had parted, and the trails were in perfect condition for a ski. It was my first time on skinny skis in, let's just say just say, a very long time. But everyone from the owners, to the rental staff, and even the other friendly guests at the ski center, made it one of the most memorable adventures I've had in years (and if I recall... I didn't even fall once!).
Opening its doors for the first time in 1978 by former US Olympic Skier, Olavi Hirv, today Lapland Lake is getting ready to celebrate the passing of the torch (sorry, couldn't resist). At the time of my visit, Paul and Kathy Zahray, the new owners of Lapland Lake Nordic Vacation Center had just closed on the purchase of the ski resort. The 2015-16 season will be their first full season operating this amazing resort tucked away in the southern Adirondacks. In honor of this milestone, they will be hosting a celebration & open house the weekend of November 21-22. With two-days of great ski-package and equipment deals, lots of prizes, great food and more, this is sure to be a great way to get into the winter spirit.
I would like to wish the Zahrays much happiness and success in operating Lapland Lake Nordic Vacation Center. But based on the passion that I heard from them as they talked about their love for this venue and their many years there as visitors & now owners, I know that they will do very well. So now all I can say is, I look forward to seeing you both again soon!
Oak Mountain in Speculator, NY is one of the Adirondacks' best-kept secrets! This family-friendly ski area offers some of the most affordable downhill skiing and riding in New York State. With day lift tickets for the 2015-2016 ski season being less than half the price of what we have come to expect to pay for a day on the slopes, Oak Mountain is a real bang for your buck - especially when you are traveling with a tribe, as we will be this year. Better yet, there are even better deals if you purchase your tickets in advance, and 4-hour anytime tickets, which allow you to pick the 4 hours that fit your schedule.
In lieu of the low prices, one might be nervous as to what Oak Mountain has to offer. Is it really worth the drive? This is the best part... At Oak, when it comes to amenities, you will find all of the features you have come to expect at a ski area. Oak boasts awesome terrain, a killer snowboard park, high-speed quad chair lift (as well as 2 t-bars), PSIA & AASI certified ski & snowboards school, high quality on-site rental shop, tubing park, and some of the friendliest staff you will ever find! Then there is the lodge and their famous Acorn Pub and Eatery which is going into its second year with Executive Chef, Lou Petrozza - who just happens to be a finalist from season 4 of Hell's Kitchen with Gordon Ramsay. So don't waste time packing the brown bag, your taste buds will punish you for it!
My first day skiing at Oak Mountain was this past Valentine's Day. This was also the first time I ever skiied with my husband. As I said earlier, ski time was "me time." But I will admit, it is so much better being "us time." After a Saturday on the slopes at Oak, my husband returned his skis to the rental shop - only to purchase his own gear on Monday. This year we plan to return to Oak to teach our youngest child to ski. So I am guessing that will soon mean, when someone asks me, "do you ski?"- I can proudly answer "Not only do I ski, but I've created a ski-bum family!"
Plan to experience it yourself!
So I've shared my first experiences at two awesome New York State ski venues, now I would like to invite you to come try them for yourself. Whether you are a newbie, a seasoned skiier, or simply wanting to break out of a "dry spell," trust me the southern Adirondacks is the place to be this winter. So don't let the long winter ahead bring you down, call your ski buddies, pack up the family, book a room and come experience an authentic ski weekend in the Adirondacks.
This week in related ADK pre-ski season news: Wax On!