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Hunter - Feb 22 - 23


New member
Jan 29, 2010
Date(s) Skied: Feb 22 - 23

Resort or Ski Area: Hunter

Conditions: Early spring

Trip Report:

After getting some great advice from the forum here, I decided to take my family to Hunter for the first time. We typically ski at Belleayre and had never been to Hunter before. We were only planning to ski one day, but my wife could not make it on Wednesday, so I skied with my 10 y/o daughter on Wednesday and my wife and 7 y/o daughter joined us on Thursday. That worked out very well, because my older daughter and I got to know the mountain well on Wednesday and could show the rest of the family around the next day.

Wednesday was a beautiful, sunny morning. I had heard that the bridges from Shandaken to Lexington had recently re-opened after the hurricane, so we took, 42 to 23A. I had never been on these roads and it was a gorgeous drive. We arrived around 8:45am and were on the lift by 9:00am.

Our first impressions were very good. For our first run, we basically just followed the lift line and later realized we had skied the Cliff to Racer's. There was a nice consistent pitch all the way down, with the steepest part at the end. By mid-morning it was probably 45 degrees. The snow was still firm and there was no sign of ice. The bumps on Lower Crossover were very soft, so we decided to try Lower K27. It was bumped up and soft; a real treat. I guess the ice signs were still there from the previous weekend. If there was ice on that trail, I certainly did not find it.

There were no lift lines and we probably skied all the blacks on the front side by 11:00am. Then, we decided to check out the west side. I've been hearing about Clair's for years, so I was eager to check it out. The top was nice, but there were some icy patches in the middle. My daughter is very conservative skier, but she took off ahead of me and had good speed going down. She skied it very well, but she was frightened by the ice and did not want to do it again. Clair's looks like it would be a lot of fun when conditions are good, but why bother when the snow on the front side of the mountain is so good? I never did get back to Clair's. I wanted to try it again in the afternoon, but I wasn't going to take my daughter somewhere she did not want to go. The scariest thing about Clair's was that there were several people who clearly had no business being there. We stayed far away from them, but it could have been dangerous. With all the warning signs they put up, I just don't understand why people ski terrain they are not ready for.

We only took 30 minutes off for lunch and were exhausted by 3:15. Conditions were still decent, but it was very warm and the snow was getting heavy. I didn't count our runs, but I am sure that I have not skied so much in years. We usually skied from top to bottom without stopping and we never waiting in a lift line. It was a work-out and I was in bed by 9pm.

The next morning, we repeated the drill, but this time I brought my wife and 7 y/o daughter. It was cloudy, warm and raining on the way to Hunter. We expected to get soaked, but it was not raining at Hunter it looked like they even got a bit of overnight snow. It was so foggy at 9AM that we could barely see Hell Gate from the lift, but by 9:30, the fog had burned off and it turned into a sunny day. Unfortunately, the conditions were not quite as good on Thursday as they were on Wednesday. The warm weather was beginning to take its toll and some of the trails were a bit slushy. Like the previous day, there were no lift lines.

My wife is a solid intermediate skier, but she prefers the blues at Belleayre and rarely skis the blacks. I told her she could ski all the single blacks at Hunter and I was right. We were able to ski together all day and only split up so the girls could do Racer's, Lower K27 and Upper Crossover. My wife even skied Upper K27, which was her first double black ever. I'm not really sure why that is a double black. My wife found it easier than Belleayre's single blacks. My 7 y/o had a great day. She had no problem on any of the terrain and especially loved the bumps on K27.

By 3pm, we were all exhausted. The heavy snow continued to clump up during the course of the day and skiing became more of an effort. I don't think I could have done another run if my daughters had begged me.

Final Thoughts:

Hunter is a well-designed mountain and we had two excellent days there. I did not find the mountain to be visually attractive, but we were there to ski it, not to look at it. Some of the trails are especially fun because they are chiseled out of the mountain and don't just go straight down. This was a nice chance of pace, since Belleayre's most challenging terrain goes straight down. While the top of Belleayre is probably steeper than most of Hunter's trails, Hunter has a consistent pitch all the way down, which we we enjoyed.

My biggest surprise was that Hunter actually had better terrain for my wife than Belleayre. I was afraid she would do laps on Belt Parkway all day, but she could handle all the single blacks and especially liked, Jimmy Heuga, Minya Konka, Colonel's Alternate and Way Out. At Belleayre, she often skies from mid-station when she is not in the mood to take on the steep top of the mountain.

After our two days at Hunter, we had three excellent days at Belleayre. They are very different mountains and we like them both. Unless ORDA screws up Belleayre, we will probably continue to get season passes there for years to come. It works well for us as our base mountain. We will also look for opportunities to ski Hunter mid-week, at least once or twice a year. I look forward to skiing the west side when there is plenty of snow. It looks like it can be a lot of fun. Thanks again for all the advice you guys gave us in advance of out trip.


New member
Dec 18, 2010
Good report, there is always rumor's circulating about Hunter cutting another trail or two on the top front. Everyone knows they need one more blue up there. As I calculate the ZipLine is on their property and around there could accommodate a trail, Probably not the year to be spending money. What do youse hear????