Tuesday, February 21, 2017

West Mountain Ski Area

I skied a lot after I got out of the Army, and Sally and I used to ski together quite a bit right after we got married.  We skied on our honeymoon and when the kids were little enough to stay in Day Care while we were out on the slopes.  But the kids reached a certain age where they were too big for Day Care, and sometimes life just gets in the way.  One thing led to another, and next thing we knew, it had been eight years since we'd hit the slopes.

We needed to find a little mountain where the kids could take some ski lessons, and Sally and I could re-introduce ourselves to the sport.  West Mountain in Queensbury, New York, fit the bill perfectly.
Located just south of Lake George, West Mountain is small, relatively affordable, and for the most part relaxed and easy-going.  The trails are all fairly easy.  There's a nice mix of greens and blues with a couple of blacks and a pair of race course thrown in for good measure.  It was also not overly crowded.  They were hosting a college regional championship meet the days we were there, and we still saw almost no lift lines.  This was on President's Day Weekend!  Plus, since Lake George is generally a summer resort, you ought to be able to find some good Groupons for off-season lodging at reasonable rates.  That's what we did.

West Mountain's trail map.
Sally on the slopes.
That's me!
Sally and I hit pretty much all the trails over the course of two four-hour lift passes, and if you're coming to West Mountain, I think four hours is about the right amount of time to spend out on the slopes.  That's certainly long enough to see everything twice, and they have a terrific little bar and restaurant that serves a ton of local Adirondack craft beers at the base of the mountain.  Sally and I enjoyed the lodge as much as we enjoyed the skiing!

Hannah and Emma did West Mountain's two-day ski camp.  I think they did okay.  They started on the Bunny Slope and worked up to one of medium-sized chair lifts.  Hannah, our ice skater, picked her form up faster but didn't get her turns down quite as well.  Emma started more cautiously but finished with more controlled turns and better overall form on the second day.  They seem eager to get back out there again, so from that standpoint, we accomplished our weekend goal.

Hannah and Emma, ready for their first day skiing.
Couple selfie taken outside the West Mountain lodge.
We had beautiful weather, but it hurt conditions a bit on the second day.
Obligatory selfie from the chairlift.  It was warm on Sunday.
Overall, I think the camp was pretty good.  It ran from 9:30 to 2:30, giving Sally and me plenty of time to ourselves on the mountain.  Next time out, we might try taking the kids ourselves down some simple greens on one of the mountains that's a little closer to where we live and to see how they do.

Couple selfie form the top of the mountain.
Though this post is nominally part of the "NYC and the Area" series, West Mountain is actually about fifty miles north of Albany, off Exit 18 on I-87.  There are closer places to New York City, and if you go another half-hour, you can reach Gore Mountain or White Face at Lake Placid, both of which are larger resorts with more challenging runs.  However, West Mountain and Lake George in particular were perfect for this weekend's family get-away, and indeed, it is for this that I recommend it.

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