Day: December 3, 2019

Robbinsville 2019 Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting Celebration

December 3, 2019

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–The Township celebrated the lighting of its Christmas Tree and Menorah at the Robbinsville Township Senior Center tonight. The event was well attended and included: Arts and crafts, Photos with Santa, Gingerbread House Display by the Allentown-Robbinsville Girl Scouts, Robbinsville High School Choir Performance, Free Hot Chocolate (by David Bradley). The Robbinsville Township Police Department was on hand and the Robbinsville Township Fire Department escorted Santa to the tree via Robbinsville’s fire engine.

Winter Storm Ezekiel Dumps 27 Inches Of Snow on Hunter

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

HUNTER, NY–You have to wake up early on a Sunday morning to beat a snowstorm and holiday traffic one of the most busiest travel days of the year. Leaving the area at 6 am, I arrived at Hunter, NY around 9 am the snow had not begun to fall yet. Winter storm warnings were forecasting two feet or more for the region so it was worth leaving early to beat chaos on the roadways.

Sunday was spent riding Hunter Mountain Resort, as the storm approached snow began covering the trails and high winds were felt at the summit. This was a multiple day event so rooms were booked at the Holiday Inn Express back at the Thruway Exit. The ride back to the hotel was a little sketchy since the storm started to really produce some nice snow on Sunday evening and though the night.

Monday was used to explore Catamount Resort on the New York, Massachusetts Border in the Berkshire Mountains. The radar was looking good over there so it was worth the new adventure to visit a mountain on a multi resort pass called the Indy Pass. (See story on Catamount Resort Visit)

Snows remained light most of Monday but snow started to pile up again Monday night so the alarm was set for an early wake up for Tuesday morning, knowing Tuesday would be a powder day.

Upon arrival on Tuesday morning at the Hunter Mountain parking lot staff were using the mountain’s groomers to plow and open the parking lots. Making my way to the lift the line was long at the ticket window so it is one of the days it pays to have a season pass and walk right by the ticket line.

The first run down that morning was on Racers Edge a double black, Hunter has not even begun to make snow on that trail yet this year. I was able to find some spots of fresh snow but many of the runs were tracked out pretty quickly on this powder day.

With all the recent snow the time is now to get out there just in case the weather happens to take a turn for the worst. The weekend ahead looks like a great skiing and snowboarding weekend. Monday and Tuesday next week there is a chance of rain but snow makers will be able to lay down another coat of snow on Tuesday night according to the forecast Get out there and put in a day or two before the rain comes.

Catamount Mountain Resort Visit

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

HILLSDALE, NY, S. Egremont, MA—I arrived at Catamount Mountain Resort Monday December 2, 2019 during Winter Storm Ezekiel that was providing north east ski resorts with plenty of fresh powder. This happened to be Catamount’s 3rd operating day of the season. During my visit it appeared they had about 8 or more inches at the base and their three-day storm total by Tuesday December 3 was over 20 inches of new snow from the storm.

Never have been to the resort before but upon arrival you could immediately tell that improvements have been made and construction is on going in the base area. There is a new Catamount Lodge under construction and is scheduled to open after Christmas according to one local that was riding the lift. The ticket windows and offices in the new lodge are under construction so a temporary ticket operation is set up in the updated Berkshire Lodge.

I was visiting Catamount for the first time using the Indy Ski Pass set up by numerous “independent” resorts to help them compete against two large corporate passes the IKON and EPIC. For as little as $199 (preseason) and with a current price of $219. You could ride a total of 46 destinations for a total of 2 days each, additional discounted tickets apply after you use your two days at many of the resorts. It was simple to use the Indy Ski Pass, I told them my name they looked me up in the system showed ID and printed me a lift ticket on the spot. It was an easy experience using the Indy Ski Pass. Currently 46 resorts are involved with Indy Ski Pass but that almost seems to change weekly as more independent ski resorts jump on board with this great pass making it an even better value.  

After putting my RFID pass in my pocket, I proceeded to the Ridge Quad, there was no wait or no line to board the lift for several runs, and snow quality was great. After a bunch of runs and a short break in the lodge I went to the left side of the mountain and did a few runs off the Promenade Triple Chair. Snowboarded a total of 18 runs for the day. Trails open on that day were Upper Glade, Lower Glade, Off Stage, Upper Sidewinder Walter’s Way, Racing Slope, On Stage, Catamount, Kelli’s Run, Esplanade and the snow sports learning area.

Catamount opened a couple weeks earlier than planned. With the help from mother nature the snow was in great condition for being open so early in the season. Check the website and snow reports for current operating schedules. The local snowboarder riding the lift told me that weekends can get busy at times but weekdays the lines are empty. The resort is off the beaten path so that also helps keep the lift lines minimal. Overall great experience for a first visit and will be back once the new lodge opens.

Catamount has 1,000 feet of vertical that straddles the States of New York and Massachusetts in the Berkshire Mountains. Catamount boasts 43 trails and the longest run is 1.75 miles in length. The resort has steepest double diamond trail in the Berkshires called the Catapult. There are a total of 8 lifts, two chairs and it appeared 2 wonder carpet surface lifts were open during my visit. There is night skiing on 15 trails with more than 4 miles of coverage including two terrain parks.