If I don’t ski again this season, I can live with that after the experience I had at Gore Mountain in Johnsburg Saturday.
From the soft snow, perfect air temperature and deep blue sky to the tasty German cuisine and company at Beck’s Tavern at the base of the Gore access road, it literally was a perfect ski day.
And I wasn’t alone in those thoughts.
The 20-something-year-old heating and air conditioning contractor from New Jersey was smiling.
So was the couple from just north of New York City.
And the guy from Ballston Lake.
And those were just a few of the people I shared lift rides with.
Everyone was happy.
This spring is making people forget the frigid December and subsequent warm, rainy snowless spell.
Gore had tons of terrain open and even though the parking lot was full and spilling over into two lower lots, the fact that essentially the entire mountain remained open dispersed everyone nicely.
“We deserve this,” said Jim Potter, a second-grade teacher in Corinth who lives in Wilton and also shared a chair ride with us.
A season pass holder, Potter said it was a tough season weather-wise, with a mix of extreme cold, then snow, then rain, the freezing again.
“It was hard to put more than a couple good days together,” he said, saying he skied both Saturday and Sunday at Gore last weekend and both days were great. “But Saturday it was so nice so early.”
Ashley Plimpton-Lapolla, from Queensbury, was feeling guilty skiing Saturday — because her husband had an injury preventing him from joining her.
She said she hung out with him in the morning, had breakfast and chatted for a while, but the sun-drenched mountain was calling her name.
“He’s my teammate. He’s my partner and it’s tough to go out without him,” she said of husband Mike. “But he’s a skier. He gets it.”
Like Potter, Plimpton-Lapolla said she agrees that skiers and riders deserve more days like Saturday after the unpredictable winter.
But this teaching aide is hardcore, and said she finds joy on the hill in any conditions.
“Any day I’m skiing, it’s fun for me. I make the best of it. Not every day is amazing, but you always find something good,” she said. “Skiing fills me up.”
Gore General manager Bone Bayse said customers have been really excited with the late season skiing and riding — and that excitement has translated into an increase in season pass sales.
“So far the last third of the season has been fantastic for us, skier number-wise, and condition-wise, the skiing has been fantastic,” he said. “We hope to stay open for a few more weeks anyhow. Call me a dreamer, but I’m still hoping for an April snowstorm.”
Bayse said visitors this weekend can expect to ski on the same extensive terrain as last weekend, minus a couple glades.
“Everything is open and skiing great,” he said.
My skiing partner Bob Bishop and I hit trails all over the mountain Saturday, from the steeps up top to cruisers down low and finished with a couple of high-speed, wide-turn runs down Showcase before calling it a day.
I almost always end my ski day at the Tannery Pub at Gore, usually with a bloody mary and bowl of amazing chili. But earlier this season I met the owner of Beck’s Tavern in Gore’s new summit lodge, a renovated gondola house.
It was in the back of my mind as we drove past it on the way up to ski and after skiing for hours and taking our boots off at the car, we decided to give it a try.
Glad we did.
In addition to the potato overload of tasty treats we ordered (poutine and pierogies) along with healthy salads, chef Andy McNamara came out with a meatball, pasta and sauerkraut concoction topped with cheese that he wanted feedback on.
We liked that too, and were brainstorming to help him come up with a name for it.
I looked up interesting German words on Google and came up with Kummerspeck — which apparently means “excess weight put on by emotional overeating.”
We had a carb overload, so the name seems fitting. No?
Dave Blow writes a weekly outdoors sports column for The Post-Star during the winter months.