Updated to include town in NJ and additional information.
Special thanks to Vail Daily for contributing to this report.
VAIL COLORADO (EAGLE)–According to reports a New Jersey man has died by Chair 37 Skyline Express Lift in the Blue Sky Basin area of Vail’s legendary back bowls. Jason Varnish, 46, of Short Hills, New Jersey, died Thursday on Vail Mountain, coroner Kara Bettis has confirmed.
Coroner Kara Bettis said the death has been ruled an accident.
Bettis, in a text, wrote: “We are still investigating how this whole situation happened. According to our initial investigation, the deceased slipped through the seat of the chair lift and his ski coat got caught up in the chair. The coat ended up going up around his head and neck area putting his neck in a position that compromised his airway.”
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.
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.
HUNTER, NY–Cold air earlier this month and a recent snowstorm has benefited many east cost resorts for early openings and should provide great conditions for your holiday weekend.
On a Pre-Thanksgiving trip to Hunter Mountain, NY snowplows were finishing pushing snow out of parking lots around the resort. Hunter was open with 3 lifts and 14 trails open with a base of 12″ to 36″ and a 7″ natural snowfall this season so far. During this trip weather was in the 50s and conditions were great with coverage edge to edge on open trails.
Some reports from several north east ski resorts, always check the resort’s website for the current conditions and operating hours prior to heading to the mountains.
HUNTER, NY– Our crew from Robbinsville and Hamilton, NJ were on the road early to get to Hunter Mountain Resort for opening day 2019. With the recent cold weather ski resorts up and down the east coast have been pumping out snow and opening terrain earlier than anticipated. This was the earliest opening day in the past five years for Hunter Mountain. Snow guns were blazing away all day and more terrain is anticipated to open on Sunday with cold weather in the forecast for the entire weekend.
Those wishing to get a great deal on a season pass check out Season Pass Sales If you use the discount code BSMUDA you will save some cash. The Peak Pass Drifter for ages 18 to 29 at this link don’t forget the discount code. If you already have a Peak Pass and wish to upgrade to EPIC or EPIC Local passes you have until November 17, 2019 to upgrade. If you are looking for an EPIC or EPIC Local Pass they are on sale until November 24, 2019 they no longer sell the pass after that date, so don’t miss out after that day you will be buying day tickets.
MOUNT SNOW, VERMONT–Brian Smuda a MidJersey.news correspondent was up before the sun and first to wait in line for the first chair for Mount Snow’s opening day. This is his 6th consecutive year scoring a seat on the first chair at the resort. Brian Smuda runs Season Pass Sales and those looking for a discounted season pass can use his discount code of BSMUDA to save money on a season pass.
Alterra Mountain Enters Agreement to Purchase Sugarbush Resort
The last I checked going rates for sharpening and waxing skis or snowboards were $35 to well over $50 depending on location and type of service. In this video I show you how to sharpen and wax your own snowboard and if you keep up with regular waxing could save you money over the entire season and seasons to come. Normal sharpening and waxing can be done by yourself with some basic tools.
If there are issues with your board, visible damage or something does not seem right always take your board to your local snowboard shop for service. Check all bolts and screws for tightness after servicing your board and at regular intervals.