In This Place: February 4, 2015

Mid-Winter Whimsies & Wonder

These paeans to the Groundhog need no explanation, although one thing I did learn this week is that February 2 on the religious calendar is Candlemas Day, marking the mid-point of winter, when traditionally farmers and families would take stock and hope that they still had half of their fuel and food to see out the last weeks of winter. By this time, almost everyone can find a complaint about the weather — either too much winter or not enough — except of course Clarke Sanford, who found something magical even in the dead of winter.
From the issue of January 31, 1936From the issue of January 31, 1936


In This Place: January 28, 2015

Risky Business

As we all work ourselves into a football frenzy, I thought we could take a look back at the serious dangers the game posed especially to high school players. One would say “back in the day” but as it turns out there were at least three high school football fatalities just last year. Our mountain villages did not maintain football teams for most of their histories — often the game was only play­ed as an intramural sport, and even then serious injuries were known to happen.


In This Place: January 21, 2015

The Other Side of the Mountain

Since we focused last week on Belleayre exclusively, I thought it would be fun this week to look back at our other local ski slopes and their beginnings. Not all of them are still with us, but all played a vital role in providing excellent skiing, often helping to alleviate overcrowding at the larger ski centers.


In This Place: January 14, 2015

From January 27, 1950. The opening paragraph read: “The dedication and official opening of the Belleayre Mountain ski slope Saturday afternoon was the greatest day the Cats­kills have known since the Ulster & Delaware railroad ran its first train to Pine Hill nearly a century ago.”From January 27, 1950. The opening paragraph read: “The dedication and official opening of the Belleayre Mountain ski slope Saturday afternoon was the greatest day the Cats­kills have known since the Ulster & Delaware railroad ran its first train to Pine Hill nearly a century ago.”
First Tracks

I knew I wanted this week’s column to be about the early days of Belleayre and possibly ski patrol but then I stumbled on the Woodward and Bernstein of ski report­ing: Frank Elkins. Although a Long Islander, Elkins spent plenty of ink promoting skiing in our area. So I leave a large part of this column to his portrait of the new ski area just as it was entering the 60s.


In This Place: January 7, 2015

Happy New Year — Some “Firsts” on the “Fives”

This first column of the year is dedicated to beginnings and fresh starts. I scouted for happy news in the first issues of years ending in five, although 1925 was missing, and I felt it was inappropriate to cheat on that year.
Let’s start with an old-fashioned skimelton in Roxbury. Some of the type in this item was cut off, so I don’t know if the “skimeltoners” were young men or young people of both genders. Too bad none of them is still here to ask!