Monday, June 1, 2015

Hunter June 1 - traffic alert

Hi All,
Hope your spring (more like summer) is going well.
For those of you who have not been up here lately and are planning to attend Mountain Jam or the Country Festival this or next Wed thru Fri and plan to leave Hunter on either Sunday or Monday morning after the festivals be advised of the following situation:  There is major bridge and road construction in Palenville on Rt 23A which has created 2 one lane only openings within a half mile of each other controlled by traffic lights which is creating delays on a normal basis and one can only imagine how long it would take to get through there with festival traffic.  I would therefore suggest alternate routes which could include Thruway exit #19 to Rt 28 to Phoenicia and #214 to Hunter or exit #21 Catskill and Rt 23 to Windham and #296 to Hunter. For those of you familiar with the back roads consider Platt Cove Mountain Rd (County Rt 16) from either exit 19 or 20. This is a scary road at best and not for the faint of heart. There may also be State Police at exit 19 and or 20 directing traffic to alternate routes.
 
Each festival is expected to draw 15-20,000 visitors. Hunter Highlands and Liftside Condo owners may need special passes. Contact your owners association for details.
On another subject, the Bagel Shop has re-opened under new management – for how long, who knows?
Be safe,
Jon

Monday, May 11, 2015

Hunter May 11 updates

Hi All,
Summer is here! No spring. Temps have been in the 80’s with humidity for about a week now and it is dry as a bone. We really need sustained rain. The forest fire on the back side of Hunter in Lanesville continues to smolder since burning over 100 acres last week.
I regret to advise you that the Bagel & Bakery Shop in Hunter has closed as the owner, Frank, just gave up on it. His assistant, Michelle, may try to re-open it in June in time for the festivals but I am not that confident it will happen.
The Hunter Mountain Brewery seems to doing okay in spite of a really dead off season month. It is open Wed – Sun from 5 pm with a 5 – 7 pm happy hour. I like the food and the views of the sunset are spectacular. The locals for the most part have been increasingly supporting it.
If you plan on eating at Messina’s in Windham make sure you ask the price of the specials before ordering – they are way out of line with the standard menu prices.
Hellgate is still covered with a lot of snow and there are patches of snow also on many other slopes.
Stay cool,
Jon
 
Regarding hiking at the Kaaterskill Falls please note the following DEC press release:
 
 

DEC Proposes Plan to Improve Public Safety at Kaaterskill Falls

Draft Kaaterskill Wild Forest Unit Management Plan Features a New Trail to Provide Safe Access to View Kaaterskill Falls

Public Invited to Comment on the Draft UMP Through June 5

A proposed amendment to the Kaaterskill Wild Forest Unit Management Plan (UMP) is designed to make the Kaaterskill Falls area a safer destination to visit, state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Regional Director Keith Goertz announced today. DEC invites the public to submit comments on the draft amendment through Friday, June 5, 2015.
"DEC is committed to protecting and maintaining this unique natural and historic treasure in a manner that enhances public safety and is consistent with forest preserve management principles," Director Goertz said. "We worked with state and local officials and user groups to develop the proposed amendment to gather input on ways to improve public safety and enhance user experiences. We look forward to hearing from a wide range of constituencies on the proposed amendment, which would enhance viewing access to Kaaterskill Falls and make the site a safer and more enjoyable destination for individuals and families to visit."
The draft UMP amendment proposes the construction of a new foot trail leading from the end of the marked Kaaterskill Falls trail at the base of the falls upslope to intersect with the Escarpment Trail on the east side of the falls. This 0.2-mile trail would include construction of a stone staircase at the end of the current marked trail that would lead to a potential viewing area and then proceed upward to the new connector trail to the Escarpment Trail.
The staircase would be approximately 260 feet long, with about 200 stone steps. As part of this proposal, an approximately 300-foot spur trail would lead from the staircase to a point above the middle pool of the falls. At the end of this trail another shorter set of stone stairs would be installed to provide access to the middle pool area. The stone staircase would be designed to blend in with the natural stone of the area at a location to limit its visibility from below.
The proposed trail and stone staircase will address the public's interest for access to a better view of Kaaterskill Falls and the middle pool area, while protecting public safety. Despite DEC's efforts in recent years to prevent people from continuing past the end of the marked Kaaterskill Falls trail, which included increased signage warning of the danger, some people put themselves in danger by continuing past the fence at the end of the trail.
The draft amendment also calls for the expansion of two nearby DEC-managed parking areas: the Laurel House Road parking area and the Schutt Road parking area. Both lots would be expanded to accommodate approximately 50 cars each. Currently, the lots can accommodate about 9-12 cars each.
In addition, the draft amendment calls for the installation of up to 10 permanent anchor points in the middle pool area to assist first responders with rescue operations. The anchors would allow safety ropes to be quickly and safely secured during rescue operations. The anchor points will protect rescuers, as well as those being rescued, from potential falls and injury.
In the fall of 2014, DEC installed about 500 feet of split rail fencing at both the upper and lower falls. The fencing serves as both a physical and visual barrier to alert the public to the potential dangers of proceeding further. Additional signage was also installed in more conspicuous locations to warn the public of the potential dangers in the area. Under the draft plan amendment, these features would remain in place.
Beginning this summer, DEC will construct a bridge over Spruce Creek, an observation deck and associated spur trail at the top of the falls and hire a seasonal steward to educate and interact with visitors at the falls. The steward will gather information about public use of the area, including peak user times, behaviors and preferences to inform management decisions.
The management actions proposed in the draft amendment are intended to complement the actions outlined in the 1987 UMP and the 2013 UMP amendment. When considered in their entirety, the proposals are designed to provide a safer, more environmentally sustainable user experience at Kaaterskill Falls.
DEC prepares unit management plans to assess the natural resources of specific parcels of DEC-managed lands and identify opportunities for public use that are consistent with the classifications of the lands and the ability of the resources and ecosystems to accommodate such uses.
The draft UMP amendment is available on DEC's website. Comments can be mailed to Josh Borst, NYSDEC, 65561 State Highway 10, Suite 1 Stamford, NY 12167, or submitted via email to: R4.UMP@dec.ny.gov. The deadline for comments is June 5.
For more information about the UMP process, visit DEC's website.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Hunter seasonal passes / lockers etc.

Hi All,
The calendar says spring is here but not in Hunter. We had a dusting of snow the past 2 mornings and only 24 last night (34 now) with wind and flurries. Most trails are still fully covered with snow.
This is to remind you all that the last day to buy seasonal lockers and passes before a price increase of $50 is April 30, next Thursday. Yep – they want your money early!
My sources tell me that over 4,000 tickets have been pre-sold for the Tap NY just for tomorrow, Saturday. The weather will be cool and windy:
 
Tonight
Partly cloudy, with a low around 24. Northwest wind 13 to 17 mph.
Saturday
Sunny, with a high near 51. Northwest wind 14 to 18 mph.
Saturday Night
Partly cloudy, with a low around 30. Northwest wind 7 to 9 mph.
Sunday
A slight chance of showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 56. North wind 7 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
 
The new Hunter Brewery is open Wed thru Sun from 5 pm and I can tell you the menu and food are excellent! You get a lot for the money. Happy hour is 5 to 7. There are 20 beers on tap plus many bottles to choose from and a full assortment of liquors. The décor and view are exceptional – catch a spectacular sunset as you dine.
Van Winkles at the KMC is closed on Tuesdays until July 7.
Have a great spring if it ever arrives!
Jon

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Hunter April 2 - pond and deck party date changed

Attn all Hunter Fans,
The pond skimming and deck party have been moved to Saturday April 11 due to the expected cold and nasty weather forecast for this Saturday.
 
The soft opening of the Hunter Mtn Brewery last night was a huge success with a great turnout. The food and service / staff were excellent considering it was the first night. The ambiance was also very pleasant. The prices were reasonable for the portion sizes and everything came out fresh and hot. I would attach the menu except it is printed on brown paper and wouldn’t copy well so you will just have to stop in: Wed – Sun, closed Mon & Tues at least for now.
 
The temps last night got down to 20 but it is 48 now and rising fast making for some classic spring conditions. Mud season has begun. The weekend is not looking too good:  http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?CityName=Hunter&state=NY&site=ALY&lat=42.2112&lon=-74.2157#.VR1Rh-GwGJ0
 
Party on.......
Jon

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Hunter April 1

HI All,
Winter continues on the mountain top – no spring here yet. On Monday and Tuesday mornings we awoke to an inch of new snow that melted by late afternoon. The night time temps have been in the 20’s and daytime only reaching to upper 30’s however with sun and some wind. Skiing has been excellent with groomed granular conditions. The steeper west side trails usually open late morning.  The temp right now at 12:50 is 29 at the summit with a real feel of 20 and 40 at the base. The weather outlook for Thursday is good but it goes downhill from there on Good Friday and Saturday. Easter Sunday is looking good.  We are not done with snow yet. Hunter will decide tomorrow if the pond and deck party scheduled for Saturday will be postponed until the following weekend due to nasty weather predictions. The party was featured in today’s Daily Mail newspaper:  http://www.thedailymail.net/news/article_f82248bc-d803-11e4-a1f4-8f0800d45aad.html
Here is the link to the Summit and base weather stations:  http://www.wunderground.com/personal-weather-station/dashboard?ID=KNYHUNTE3
I can finally report that the new Hunter Brewery (ex Fireside) will have a soft opening tonight with an anticipated grand opening on Saturday. I have seen it and the décor is very impressive especially for this area with 20 beer taps, a full wine & liquor bar and great seating areas both inside and outside. I will check out the menu – pub food – tonight. It will have its own 4 craft beers in about 3 to 4 months.
None of the above information is an April Fools joke.
Ski ya around,
Jon

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Hunter March 25

Hello all,
Crazy March weather continues to preserve the snow not only on the slopes but over the entire mountain.  It is all still white however that could change with rain and warm temps tonight and tomorrow. The base is still very deep for this time of year.  It is clouding up now.
The surface conditions have been loose and frozen granular but very flat as the excellent grooming keeps all trails very easy. The west (Claire’s) has been opening only in the afternoon as it takes time to soften a bit.
Temps at night have been in the low teens and single digits. This AM there was an inversion as the summit recorded 30 while only 14 at the base. It is now in the low 40’s on both the top and base. The sun has been brilliant for the past 3 days but the wind was a factor until today when it finally died down a bit. Very variable weather due for the next 4 days including warmth, rain, snow, wind and a return to cold.
Hunter has a few activities such as the Cardboard Box Slope-side Derby this Saturday along with several DJ’s starting at 1 pm: 
Make your preparations for this weekend! March 28th is the Cardboard Box Derby and Dummy Race! It's time for constructing your winning cardboard craft and/or dummy! Get all the details here.
 
Plan to party!
Jon

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Hunter March 19

Hi All,
Well it’s still winter here with temps in the mid 20’s, strong wind but lots of sun today. I did not ski but can tell you surface conditions were frozen granular, noisy but easy. Wind chills on top have been in the single digits for two days now. The Flyer was off loaded and shut down at 3:15 for mechanical issues. The weather outlook for Friday thru Sunday is not great with a chance for both snow, rain and a cold wind. Spring officially begins around 6 pm tomorrow.
No other news of interest to report.
Jon