see also: [
Cross-country skiing ]
Back when we were into bushwhacking around in the Hudson Valley on skis,
there cannot have been many people who explored more of the backcountry
skiing potential south of Albany than we did.
Nowadays we do most of our backcountry skiing in other regions of the
world. And when there's decent snow in Hudson Valley, we usually
prefer the more reliable pleasures of the the fine cross-country skiing
available on the groomed trails. But when the snow is really deep
and good, and our mood is right, we still head for one of our special
runs in the backcountry.
This page's title does not mention snowboarding -- although Ken has a
backcountry snowboard (split-board) and has used it in several
interesting regions of the western U.S. and Canada. But neither of
us has made a snowboard run yet in the Hudson Valley backcountry.
(Though once we met a couple snowboarding high on the northwest side of
For backcountry downhill skiing in the Hudson Valley, our experience
was that we had to get rather
lucky with snow conditions. First to have enough snow to cover the
rocks, logs, stumps, thorns, etc. Second to find a day off from
work to get to the snow before a warm sunny day hits it and it gets crusted
But also there aren't many slopes with vegetation and access
favorable for a downhill run -- at least back when we were
exploring. If we just went and tried out some slope we hadn't
checked out before, we usually did not find good skiing.
So we spent a lot of summer days bushwhacking around slopes on foot,
documenting possible ski runs for winter. Sometimes we did not
actually get to ski a good slope we found until years later. Back
then we found the summer bushwhacking fun in itself -- until the scares
about Lyme disease got serious -- and until we discovered how much fun
is the road bicycling in
the Hudson Valley.
In this website, we're not going to say much about the specific
"good places" we found for backcountry downhill runs. In
addition to the usual concern about not wanting to see the snow get "tracked
out" before we or our friends get there, there's also a problem of few plowed parking spaces for some
of the runs. And the character of the skiing or snowboarding on
many of the runs is such that folks lacking a strong enjoyment of
exploration wouldn't like them much anyway.
We have found exploring backcountry trails in the Hudson Valley on
skis to be a more reliable outing than going for downhill turns.
But we found we still needed a fair depth of
snow, since lots of the Hudson Valley trails have rocks, roots, and
We had best results by betting on trails that were pretty gentle, since
they are less likely to have severe erosion damage or very difficult short steep
And often we found that it convenient to have climbing
skins for exploring hiking trails. Because even gentle trails can have
little steep sections. And because on a narrow trail it's often
convenient to leave the skins on for going back down it.
These might include "rail trails", "trailways", and
Some of these are listed under
Places for cross-country skiing.
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