Hickory Ski Center
Hickory Ski Center has a saying. “Mad River Glen – Ski it when you can’t ski Hickory”. Comparing an 18 trail, 225-acre ski area to a Vermont legend like the Glen may seem a little presumptuous, at least until you ski Hickory for the first time. Hickory has an advertised difficulty mix of 30 percent novice, 30 percent intermediate, and 40 percent advanced, but don’t let that fool you. The advanced trails feature some of the hardest terrain in the east. This is because Hickory has no snow making coverage. Instead, you’re left with what Mother Nature provides; on days when the snowfall is good, Hickory is amazing. On another note, Hickory Ski Center doesn’t groom their slopes either, so when you’re zipping down the Winfall steep, watch out for rocks.
Hickory has no standard chairs to carry you around the mountain. Instead, you get two Poma lifts and two T-bars. If you’ve never ridden a Poma, you’re in for a treat. It’s almost like getting to ski in both directions, especially with the speed that Hickory’s Pomas run at.
Novice skiers will have fun using the T-bar to hit Cottontail, Lower Peabody and the Bunny Hop. If you’ve got a little experience, head to the edge and take the bottom half of Snowshoe for a fun tree lined experience. Don’t worry. Even though Hickory doesn’t groom, they do pack the lower half of the mountain, so you’re relatively safe here.
Intermediates can ride Poma 1 up, but hop off at midmountain or you’re going to have an interesting time getting down. Everything else that Poma-1 services is expert terrain. To begin, start with Peabody, a great intermediate slope. There’s just enough of a drop in at the beginning to let you know that you’re not on the bunny slope anymore, but after that it’s easy cruising. Lodge Run is a great tight cruiser that zips through some narrow tree tunnels and gets you almost to the Lodge’s front door. For the longest intermediate run, ski over to Poma-2 and head up. Take Ridge Run to your right and enjoy the wide open skiing and spectacular view. At least, once you get out of the trees. On a good powder day, stick to the right of the meadow for the best skiing.
For advanced skiers, you’ve got your terrain set out for you. From the top of Poma-1, you’ve got four steeps waiting to test your mettle. If you’re up for a challenge, ski Grand Teton to your left, the slip into Beatnik for a tight tree-lined run that will keep you on your toes. Top Notch is the safe way down and the most skied. For more challenging terrain, take Jack Rabbit down to the base of Poma-2. Take this lift and three minutes later, you’ll find yourself overlooking Winfall. As mentioned, Winfall is a run to take seriously. There are several sets of rocky ledges that can lead to a bad tumble if you aren’t prepared. Alternately, head right to Hare. This run is a dream with windy narrow steeps and an amazing fall line. It’s a short run, but it’s one of the best.
One other thing about Hickory. If it’s on the map, you can ski it. Hickory doesn’t maintain its woods, but it doesn’t close them off either. However, it’s not uncommon to see locals heading into the trees following lines they’ve cleared. Make friends with them if you’re a fan of glade skiing. You won’t be sorry.
Après Ski and the Best Breakfast Sandwich You’ll Ever Have While Skiing
The base lodge isn’t cheap, but it isn’t expensive either. The food is cafeteria style grub and there’s a fire pit with circular seating around it. If you’re there, it’s part of your job to feed the fire with wood, so don’t slack off while you’re relaxing. For more formal dining or after-ski drinks, head into nearby Warrensburg. If shopping is your après ski of choice, Lake George Village is about 15 minutes away and has a large outlet shopping center nearby.
Now, let’s talk about that sandwich. We heard about it through word of mouth and didn’t believe it either. But stop in at Jacob and Toney’s Meat Store of the North and you’ll become a believer like everyone else. A simple egg, sausage and cheese sandwich lies between two buttered and toasted halves of a Kaiser roll and it is light years beyond any other breakfast sandwich you’ll ever have. It’s almost a reason to come scrape up your skis at Hickory all by itself.