This is my happy face.
Maybe it is because this was the first place I ever truly skied. Perhaps it is a result of the stunning panoramic views in every direction. It may be because of the friendliness of every staff member I’ve ever encountered. Or, it might be because of the all-things-considered reasonableness of the price of a lift ticket and rentals. This past Sunday, the spectacular weather was definitely a factor.
Whatever it is, I absolutely love Belleayre Mountain. If you know me, you are aware that my general expectation is not “perfection.” I actually find it to be a bit overrated as a measurement. Yet, Sunday, I heard myself saying “perfect” an uncountable number of times. It truly was a day of skiing that I will have a hard time ever matching, much less surpassing, regardless of how many seasons I revisit those slopes.
Why was it so special? Well, the drive south was beautiful, as winter and spring continued to switch places for a few days. Getting my equipment and lift ticket was a breeze, and I was on the chairlift within 20 minutes of parking my car. The snow was soft, the sun was blazing and the sky was blue. I was traveling light (sans boys), hanging with Aloysius and his next generation, and feeling absolutely giddy on sunshine and life. To all of you who weren’t there – I’m sincerely sorry you missed the opportunity to feel the joy of gliding down a mountain with the warmth of the sun on your back. Or the simple happiness of a tasty beer sipped al fresco midway down the slopes. Bliss.
Upon my return to Albany, the only way I could possibly punctuate a day that glorious was with a terrific dinner at the Capital City Gastropub and my first TasteeFreez visit of the year. It may not get any better than this, but, no worries, I’ll continue to keep trying. Kisses – Silvia
That would be a sundae – with nuts.
Filed under Aloysius, beauty, Eating, Exercise, favorites, Recommendations, road trips, skiing, snow, sunday, upstate New York, winter
Yesterday was the first snow day my district has had this academic year – and it was well worth the wait. I understand that we don’t all have the luxury of a delayed start or the cancellation of our work day due to the weather and think you should know I am very appreciative of this career perk. I was so very thankful for yesterday’s surprise (2″-4″ was the forecast, I’d say 6″ or 7″ was the reality) snow day that I just might send my superintendent a thank you note. You know how I like to do that. Or, as my snow day, cross-country skiing partner in crime suggested, perhaps I should send that note of gratitude to the superintendent of my children’s district for not giving them the day off. I certainly have enough appreciation to spread it out, trust me.
As I spent my found day doing fun things, I realized that I had experienced a perfect snow day. Here are the factors which led me to that ultimate conclusion:
- The day off was completely unexpected. I would have been more than contented with a mere delay.
- Speaking of delays, the fact that the boys were delayed and I was off was an incredible gift. We had an easy morning and then there was quiet.
- Coffee with my favorite fellow was another unexpected treat.
- Skiing with one of my best hardcore exercise girls at Capital Hills on a day with incredible light and eventual warm temperatures. Spring skiing rocks!
- A terrific lunch at the golf course’s Club House. Seriously, the food was really good!
- Getting my Saturday chores done a day early. It almost feels like I was given 2 days!
- Afternoon coffee with my favorite fellow
- Making pizza with my boys
- A hot bath
- A reasonable bed time
The secret to homemade pizza? A HOT oven.
I hope you were able to enjoy the recent (bonus) snowfall but, if you didn’t, I think I had enough fun for both of us. You’re welcome!
Filed under Albany, beauty, Eating, Exercise, favorites, friends, Local, pizza, Recommendations, skiing, snow, Uncategorized, winter, x-country skiing
I spent most of my childhood in a village nestled in a valley between two (smallish) mountains. Each of these mountains was home to a (smallish) ski resort. Despite the proximity of these places to experience skiing, I personally never availed myself of the opportunity. Skiing was always a bit beyond the budget, a fact that I recognized and accepted without question.
My first real chance to ski was as a newlywed. We were visiting with some friends in Vermont and the plan was to ski, with borrowed equipment, from the condo to the base of the hill where we would purchase our lift tickets and enjoy an afternoon of outdoor activity. Sounds fine, right? Skis over my shoulder, I joined the others for the walk through the parking lots of the condo complex. We arrived at the place where we were to snap into our skis and I looked down that hill, the whole time thinking about my lack of health insurance, and just knew it wasn’t happening for me. I happily went back to the condo and read the afternoon away, relieved to have avoided the certainty of a broken leg.
Years later, I had a one hour private ski lesson at Bousquet Mountain in the Berkshires. At that point I was a fairly accomplished cross-country skier and, other than the icy mound I had to face as I disembarked the chairlift, I was pretty comfortable negotiating my way down the hills after my lesson. Skiing was a fun activity, but not something for which I felt a burning excitement. I was content with the affordability of cross-country and I loved the fact that I could keep my equipment in my car and take advantage of the opportunity to ski at a moment’s notice. Winters began to feel much shorter.
Other than a winter triathlon that I participated in (“competed” in being too strong of a word), I didn’t ski again until this year and, I want to tell you, something has changed. Skiing suddenly seems like a lot of fun and I am very much looking forward to getting back on the slopes with the frequency allowed by my budget and calendar. Maybe it’s all the running I’ve been doing, but I find downhill skiing to be easier than cross-country. The ability to turn as I glide down hill, as opposed to skiing down the hills at Albany Muni on long skis without real edges, makes controlling my speed much more manageable. My legs are strong and although I expected to feel some residual soreness after my day at Belleayre, I didn’t have the slightest muscle tenderness to remind me of the fun I had enjoyed.
Speaking of enjoyment, Aloysius and I brought along our generation next boys and planted them in Kids Camp for the day. It was an investment ($100 + lunch), but we enjoyed knowing they were getting some quality instruction (2 to 1 ratio with the instructor) while we were exploring the mountain. We had a great view of their activities from the lodge, beers firmly in hand, and they seemed to be having a good time together. As far as the little guys enjoying the whole skiing thing, the jury is out on that. I can tell you they probably had more fun than their teacher who noted that although the boys might be the best of “vacation buddies,” they certainly weren’t the best “learning buddies.” What can I say – they’re lively boys. They’ve got years ahead of them to learn to love to ski. Trust me.
Filed under Aloysius, Boys, Camp, Exercise, family, friends, Recommendations, skiing, snow, upstate New York, winter
Despite the fact that the conditions were dangerously icy yesterday and I fell multiple times, jamming my thumb really hard once and landing on my ass hard enough to create a bruise that I almost felt compelled to name, I absolutely LOVE cross-country skiing. If you haven’t given it a try because you mistakenly believe it to be for old, slow people, you, my friend, are sadly mistaken. We’re at the point where we need a new snowfall to get the conditions back to where they had been for the past couple of weeks, but my own skis are in my car for the duration. There is no better time to be had than tooling around
Albany Muni Capital Hills with a couple of friends and a flask filled with homemade limoncello. That is upstate winter living at its finest!
View from a lower trail
Snow goddesses abound!
Spectacular sunsets, too!
Filed under Albany, beauty, Exercise, favorites, friends, Local, Normanskill, Recommendations, snow, Uncategorized, upstate New York, winter, x-country skiing
Today, without a doubt, was the best cross-country skiing I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy in the past 2 winters. The company, the conditions, the lighting, it was all perfect. The only thing that ever so slightly marred the afternoon was an exchange we observed between a couple as we headed up a hill following our loop through the back nine. We decided to climb one of the steeper hills rather than remain on the slightly groomed path that skirted around the golf course. As we duck walked up the hill, we watched a mom climbing up the hill with two sleds in tow, one of which had a cute passenger of about 3 years-old. As she steadily made her way up the hill, a man, comfortably ensconced at the top of the hill, yelled down to her. Words of encouragement, you might assume. Or, perhaps, an offer of assistance, right? No, it wasn’t either of those things he was conveying. What he said, repeatedly, was “You can’t do that” followed by “You know you can’t do that, don’t you?” I honestly don’t know if it is a function of my age or my personality, but I was immediately pissed. How dare he tell her what she was and was not capable of doing? Was she somehow internalizing his lack of confidence in her? How were those boys she was shepherding up the hill processing the man’s skepticism in her ability to help them to reach the top? I stared daggers at the guy as my friend and I not-so-quietly talked about what an ass he was. Screw him.
Yep, just another day in the life. December dawned with an appropriate and picturesque dusting of snow, pretty to look at, but not necessarily fun to run on. I thought the Jingle Jog 5K began at 9:00, but since 10:00 was the actual time, I had plenty of time to stretch and mentally prepare to run at a cautious, slow pace. You know, slow down and enjoy the run, Christmas Pandora and all. I was wearing my new UnderArmour compression shirt, and I have to say, it really did keep me warm as my base layer. The crowd was festive, with Santa and the Grinch represented in the pack of participants and I started at a nice even pace. I came this close to injuring myself when I rolled my ankle in the first 1/2 mile, but pressed on and was able to run fairly comfortably to continue the race. I finished 141st out of 446, with the not particularly stellar time of 30:08, but the time wasn’t important, especially at a time of the year when time is so precious. It was a wonderful way to start this month of holidays and festivities.
I didn’t take photos, but here’s a gallery of the event from TU photographer, Michael P. Farrell.
After an afternoon of making cookie dough, doing laundry and running errands, I found myself gussied up and heading to the State Room for Albany Center Gallery’s 35th Anniversary Masquerade Gala. I was seriously concerned about the parking situation with the huge UAlbany-Sienna basketball game at the TU Center, but did well on State Street only having to mince step for a couple of blocks on my ace-bandage wrapped ankle. (Thank you, to my friend, for taking care of my war wound.) The State Room was pleasing to the eye in every direction and the guests were creatively attired – a good looking crowd, I’d say. Check out those photos here.
Walking back to my car, I captured this shot of the Capitol. Ah, Albany!
|look closely…see where they claim to offer snow removal?
|note the condition of their sidewalk? hmmm….