Skiing

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 Long-time skiers and riders won’t believe this, but the most iconic resort in the state changed hands in early December.

Hunter Mountain in the northern Catskill Mountains, owned by the Slutsky family since the 1950s, was sold to Peak Resorts for nearly $37 million, according to published media reports.

Since the beginning, Hunter Mountain was known for its massive snowmaking capability and metro New York City appeal. It has been an easy drive-to resort for snow sports enthusiasts from Albany and the downstate region.

The new owner is based in Missouri and also has skiing interests in Vermont, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. Peak Resorts operates 13 ski facilities across the nation, including Mount Snow in southern Vermont. Initially, Peak Resorts is partnering Hunter with Mount Snow and then including all Peak on-snow properties.

Season pass-holders from Mount Snow and Hunter Mountain will be able to use Peak’s Northeast destinations at a discount. Hunter pass-holders are eligible for such benefits on lift tickets via the Mount Snow Fan Fare Card. Consider a trip to Attitash, Wildcat and Crotched Mountain—all in New Hampshire—and cash in on their Vertical Value Card.

Hunter Mountain has an elevation of 3,200 feet, with a vertical drop of 1,600 feet from top to bottom. As a result of the unusually mild November and December, opening day was delayed until December 12.

The Peak Resorts marketing division also intends to announce special pass-holder-only events this season. You can get more information on these reciprocal programs by logging on to www.peakresorts.com/peak-perks.

Learning a lifelong sport

The one thing we can say about skiers and riders is that they enjoy sharing their love of the sport with others. Back in 2008, a few state ski associations decided to create Learn to Ski Month. It didn’t take long for New York State to recognize the benefits of the program. Now many ski resorts around the state make it easy to get into these sports, especially in January.

Check around and you’ll find many ski operators aggressively packaging lessons, equipment and lift tickets, especially in January, to entice more participation over the next few weeks. In fact, if you spend a little extra time researching, you will see that some resorts offer this appeal all winter long. 

Our neighbors to the east are aggressively packaging the Learn to Ski concept. The members of Ski Vermont are “spreading the love of winter to new enthusiasts.”

The majority of member resorts are offering a $49 beginner lesson, excluding holiday periods. The beginner package includes equipment rental as well as a lesson with a professional instructor and access to beginner terrain. That’s more than enough for first-timers.

For the specifics, log on to www.skivermont.com. Also, bookmark the Ski Areas of New York web site (www.iskiny.com) as another source for Learn to Ski information.

What’s so unique about the snow sports is that you can enjoy them long after your final rec league basketball game has been played or well beyond that hamstring you pulled running down the first base line.

Skiing and riding are sports with low impact and high exhilaration. They are rewarding activities at any age, and with today’s gear, they are amazingly easy to learn. Click into a set of shaped skis today, tack on instruction and mileage, and within a week, you’ll be an intermediate skier. Very few sports have such a quick learning curve. At that point, you’ll be hooked.

Next month

February is the height of the skiing and riding season, highlighted by the Presidents’ Week holiday that closes many schools around the country. We’ll tell you about the great events that will occur in snow country.

By then we’re hoping that the warm, slow start to the winter season will be a distant memory.

 
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