For the third winter in a row, the Mountaineer has had to cancel its annual backcountry ski festival due to a lack of snow.
The Keene Valley store had planned to hold the festival this weekend. As usual, a variety of backcountry ski tours and clinics were on the schedule.
Ironically, the region is seeing some snow today after a prolonged thaw.
“You can’t get frustrated; it’s the weather,” said Dustin Ulrich, a Mountaineer worker. “You can’t do much about that.”
Ulrich said the Mountaineer staff plans to discuss whether or how to continue the ski festival in the future. “We need to sit down as a team and decide where to go from here,” he remarked.
The good news is that the Mountaineer is sponsoring another event for skiers this month: the second annual Whiteface Ski Mountaineering Classic. It will be held March 18 at the Whiteface Mountain Ski Area.
Participants will skin and boot-pack up trails at the ski area and ski back down to the base of the mountain. The four-mile course involves more than 2,500 feet of climbing.
The $60 registration fee includes a Whiteface uphill pass good through the 2019 season. Proceeds will benefit the New York Ski Educational Foundation and the Keene Valley Ski Club.
Ulrich said the Mountaineer intends to continue the Ski Mountaineering Classic in the years ahead. Since Whiteface makes snow, this event is less dependent on the weather.
The Mountaineer hopes to get thirty to forty participants this year, though Ulrich expects the number will grow in the future.