KB Ski Resort

Looking up the slopes at the Central chairlift at Kissing Bridge in Colden, NY.

This past week, we finally got a snowfall here in the Southtowns worth talking about. As is usually the case, it was a tight little snow band, so the areas affected were pretty much limited to Eden, Boston, and Colden, but that was just fine by me. We came home from a delicious Thai dinner with Heather and Erik on Wednesday night to find over a foot of supremely sweet and airy powder in our yard. We missed the opportunity for some sweet pow pow at Kissing Bridge (KB) because we didn’t get home until 8, but we made sure we hit the slopes the following day and were not disappointed. With one snowfall KB went from having only 30 percent of their slopes open to 100 percent. They were capitalizing on the cold weather and blowing snow like mad while we were skiing too.

As everyone around here knows, KB is a small resort. But it makes up for its lack of vertical with its proximity to the city. Taking the back roads and parking at the top of the resort, Stan and I can get there from home in 20 minutes. I can’t tell you how oh-so-convenient that is! We dress at the house, and bring nothing but our equipment and wallets. I know what you are thinking, it’s such a small resort. So it is, but don’t knock it because we are lucky it’s still operational. This past week, I read an article in The New York Times by Bill Pennington about a website called the New England Lost Ski Areas Project (www.nelsap.org) run by Jeremy Davis that catalogs the now defunct mom and pop ski resorts that once dotted the mountains across New England. Apparently, there was practically one on every corner in the state of Vermont. Many of these local resorts were pushed out of operation in the seventies thanks to the oil embargo and the increase in the popularity of the sport. Large resorts grew larger and the neighborhood resorts simply could not compete with man-made snow, high-speed quads, groomed slopes and increased operational costs. Davis was surprised by the number of inoperational resorts, but also the special place they held in the memories of the families who used to patronize them. I couldn’t agree with their sentiment more; KB is a small place, but it’s alive and kicking and for that I’m grateful.

Bell Single

A single chair ski lift in Belleayre, NY.

Stan and I have been skiing since we were young, so a few years back we both took up snowboarding to make the sport new again. I’m laughing as I write this because Stan and I are old enough that we literally witnessed the birth of snowboarding when we were in high school, and back then snowboard was truly the Rebel Yell of the ski industry and boarding was banned from all kinds of resorts. For those of you who know the sport, my board is a Salomon Prelude. Yep, that’s right, it’s that old. The Prelude was the prototype for Salomon’s first board; it was never even mass-produced. And it is one sweet ride. And even though I’ve upgraded my boots and bindings over the years, I have never felt compelled to replace that board. It is perfect in its simplicity.

But when Stan and I hit the slopes the other night, I wasn’t on my board. I chose instead to test the mettle of my legs by spending the night on my tele skis, or telemark skis. And as much as I love my board, I have to say that I love my tele skis even more because even though I’ve been involved in snow sports since practically the first day I walked (apparently my Dad had me on cross-country skis when I was three), tele skiing is a formidable challenge. It’s also the perfect sport for small resort skiing for someone who will only contemplate catching air when the landing is cushioned by two feet of powder!

For those of you who still can’t quite picture what I mean by tele ski, hang in there. I’m hatching a post on the history of the sport as a write. So until next week, happy trails!

Thanks to http://www.kbski.com for the photo of the Central lift chair and http://www.nelsap.org for the photo of an inoperational single chair in Belleayre, NY.