First Tracks – Hanging Out
by Scott Launt - Wednesday, February 19th, 2014
Get off the couch! Hit the slopes!

So February is more than half over, it’s winter break for many schools in the area, and the Winter Gods have provided some much-needed snow cover for us in CNY. Here’s few suggestions at this point in the season. Try something different- be it ski area, downhill method or snow sport venue.

Here are a few suggestions for areas just outside our CNY purview-

Bristol Mountain

At two hours and 85 miles away southwest; located just west of Canandaigua Lake, it offers up 1200 feet of vertical. A total of six lifts, two of which are high-speed detachable quads, one fixed grip quad, one fixed grip triple, one fixed grip double chair, and a Magic Carpet conveyor lift await. It’s modern, well maintained and equipped, having 34 trails; over 2/3rds are beginner and intermediate. Can’t get there for first tracks? That’s okay, as Bristol offers an 8 hour or twilight pass. CLICK FOR MORE INFO

McCauley Mountain

Located in Old Forge, NY, two hours and 100 miles away from Syracuse, McCauley is a hoot! It’s a friendly throw back to the 80’s in look and feel, probably because it’s run by the town. Don’t let the rather small stature fool you. There are trails there that will kick your ass. Those moguls under the chair on Helmer’s (editor note-correct spelling) aren’t necessarily just bumps. They are snow covered boulders! Cold UC on tap. On the way home, check out the Old Forge Hardware if you have time, or grab a burger and a beer at “The TOW Bar”- a nice place with nothing special. If The Paul Case Band is playing there, get a room and stay the night. Or for an outstanding Italian meal in town, go to Billy’s (yes, Italian) and try the veal. Should you stay overnight, breakfast at Walt’s Dinner is a must, where bacon is a main course, spice or a topping. DANGER! Get out of town before Mud Season. If not, your Buick won’t get pulled out until late April. CLICK FOR MORE INFO

Snow Ridge

Ever hear of lake effect snow on Tug Hill or lose your skis or board in snow up past your buttock? Keep an eye on the weather for Snow Ridge this month and next. They can get 4 feet, yep, in 48 hours. Head north out of Rome in a SUV or Subaru. Just in case, be sure to take your sleeping bags; they will let you sleep in the lodge if the road closes. It’s an hour and a half drive from Syracuse. CLICK HERE FOR INFO

The journey is the reward.

So- Never try snowboarding? Why not? I’m not into public humiliation myself, but if you have the same vanity, go somewhere different. Check out http://www.iskiny.com/ for deals to try skiing or boarding for the first time at many areas within NY.

Cross country skiing is a great option for getting outside this time of year and enjoying the snow at a minimal cost. It can be a great cardio exercise for young and old alike. Go to http://crosscountryskinewyork.com/ for good rundown on places to go. Rental cross country equipment is available by the day or weekend.

Get off the couch!

Like to ski?

Check out this online article from the New York Times (it’s pretty cool) – CLICK HERE

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