Already up in the Catskill region for Easter, we had planned to ski on that Monday anyway. One last hurrah on the hill, still holding on to the waning days of winter as the warm weather lay on the horizon. I anticipated spring conditions at best. You know, 56 and sunny, corn snow early and by mid-day sticky and slushy. Never did I expect to look out the window on Monday in the early morning din of the sun and see the ground covered in white and snow coming down like it was mid-winter. What a fortuitous stroke of luck, to plan for this spring ski day and end up with six inches of fresh snow on the ground. As the late Prince once sang, "Sometimes it snows in April," and as my family made our way to Belleayre Mountain, we truly couldn't have asked for more.
Chasing Freshies at The Belle
The Belle, as it is lovingly referred to, is one of my favorite mountains in the Catskills. In a region housing the likes of of Hunter and Wyndham, Belleayre is a welcome reprieve. Never one for crowds, it is a throwback to a time when lift lines are characteristically small and navigating around them is quite easy. In fact, that's the beauty of this place and on April 2nd, (pretty late in the season for them) despite it being spring break and a minor pow day, Belle was even less crowded than usual. Talk about ideal. We had fresh tracks all over the mountain right up until late morning when the snow dissipated, the sun began to shine and the temps started to climb to just above freezing. Talk about perfect. Freshies in the morning then JWO (jacket wide open) skiing in the afternoon...it doesn't get much better.
The Evolution of a Ski Family
My girls were in their glory, stoked to be out on the mountain once again and realizing just how great these conditions were. Watching them evolve as skiers this winter has been incredible. When the little ones entered ski school in January, I never once thought that we'd all be out on the mountain together as a family by winter's end. Yet there we were, in April, skiing together on all varieties of trails they had to offer. And as for my oldest daughter, she is a true powderhound. Ready and willing to ski right alongside daddy on any given day. Often times she's dressed and ready to go before me. It's truly remarkable.
These little ones are also no slouches when it comes to the après-ski scene either. They can down hot chocolate and rice crispy treats with the best of them which is good since they have some damn good hot chocolate at the Groomer's Pub in the Overlook lodge at Belle. Not to sell the hot chocolate short, but the real superstar of that lodge is the deck with full views of the Catskill Mountains. We were sure to drink in the view, taking full advantage of the bluebird day this had turned into.
The Perfect Ending to a Memorable Ski Season
If, in fact, this was my last day of the season, I couldn't have asked for a better ending. From fresh snow in the morning to sunny, somewhat springy, bluebird conditions in the afternoon the skiing was as good as it has been for us all winter. Then, spending that last hour or two together with my wife and three little girls drinking some ice cold Belleayre Ales and their delicious hot chocolate allowed us to wind down on what has been a memorable ski season. Cheers!