by Bill Hoffman
Feb 19 – 22, 2019
Only five KnG’ers attended the Cazenovia trip on Feb. 19-22 (3 nights): Lisa Baer and Bart Richwine, Bob and Joan Johnston (new members but not newbie skiers), and the leader, Bill Hoffman. As usual, we stayed at the Brae Loch Inn, which has been our home for as long as I’ve run this trip. Bart was recovering from knee surgery and was under doctor’s orders not to ski, so he snowshoed instead.
On Wednesday, the first day, we went to Highland Forest, which had been blessed by a few inches of new snow a day or two before. That salvaged this venue, which had been icy until then. We skied the 4-mile Westwind trail in the morning and the Southside Loop (using the shortcut) in the afternoon, for another 4 miles. Both trails were well groomed and despite finding ice less than 2 inches down, conditions were quite good, without ice on the surface and no bare spots. It being a weekday, there were not many other skiers around.
Storm “Petra” that brought a mixed bag of precipitation to Pennsylvania left only a bit of freezing rain in central New York. Thursday morning found temperatures in the mid-30s. After a brief scouting walk around the Inn to test the snow, we decided to go to Stoney Pond State Forest. Andrea Hospodar had tipped me off to this place about 10 years ago, and I’ve skied parts of it once or twice. Today we found conditions adequate – not great but quite skiable. The top layer of snow had softened from the rain, which aided in control on descents. And since almost all the trails are in the woods, the sun doesn’t get much chance to melt the snow.
But we discovered a new wrinkle: some of the trails here are now groomed! It was hard to see evidence of it, as no tracks were set, but there were small mounds of snow on the sides, indicating that a groomer of some type had been through, though probably not recently. We were the only skiers here this day, at least until about 1PM when we left. Bart again snowshoed, but today Bob joined him. It’s nice to move this place higher on the list of venues for the Caz trip. I like it better than Green Lakes State Park, where we have skied a number of times, and it’s closer to Caz.
We have had some nearly snow-free trips to Cazenovia, which may help explain the often low attendance. But everyone who’s gone likes the Inn and the close proximity of ski venues. So I guess we’ll keep this trip on the roster.