By David Schissler
(March 2013) During a recent visit to Windham Mountain, NY I was stoked to learn they were celebrating their third annual US Ski Team Appreciation Day. No less than Bode Miller, Tommy Moe, Phil Mahre and Diane Roffe would be there on Saturday for the public to meet and greet. The ski stars were there all day long but the public had its best chance to see them and show their support at a 3:45 event in front of the base lodge. I have to tell you, other than an actual World Cup race; I haven’t seen so many people at a Ski Team event. Earlier in the day Troy Ketcham, Windham Director of Marketing told me, “This event has really caught on. Each year the crowd gets bigger”. He wasn’t kidding. By the time 3:45 rolled around there were several hundred people in line to get their autograph or picture. I was fortunate to be able to snap the shot above. Bode Miller, Tommy Moe, Phil Mahre and Diane Roffe all in the same shot! Pretty awesome.
The best story of the day came at about 2:30 while riding up the lift with my wife and some other skiers. One of them said, “Hey, you won’t believe this but I just took a run with Tommy Moe”! We must have looked at him like he was nuts or something because he said, “No really. I was sitting on the chair just like I am with you now and this guy leans over and says “Hi, I’m Tommy Moe. Want to take a run with me?” I said yeah! It was probably slow for him but man I could barely keep up! Wait ’til I tell everyone I took a run with Tommy Moe!” That’s the kind of excitement there was all over Windham that day.
Windham sponsors its own US Ski Team member. Fellow New Yorker Tommy Biesemeyer represents Windham on the World Cup tour. Biesemeyer placed 13th in the SG at the recent World Championships in Schladming, Austria. He’s poised to impress the world at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Windham is a resort on the move. While I was there President and General Manager Chip Seamans announced the purchase of the local golf course, the construction of another townhouse complex, and to further accommodate families, the installation of a totally new beginner area for next season. There’s also talk, though no plan yet, to replace the summit triple, “f-lift”, with another high speed quad, and to add trails in the bowl between the two peaks.
With 1,600 vertical feet Windham’s large enough to provide longer runs and has respectable pitch. On weekends, I particularly like the “G-lift” high speed quad. It’s higher up than the main quad at the base lodge. By not having to return to the base area you avoid crowds and get more runs in. Don’t miss Lower Wipeout off “C-lift”. The trail is a blue square that wanders through impressive homes worthy of Beaver Creek or Deer Valley. My wife Ann fondly dubbed it “the Real Estate Trail”.
While at the mountain, look for Karl Plattner or “KP” as he’s known locally. Karl’s a “Windham Ambassador” and genuine Austrian skiing legend. He was ski school director eight miles across the valley at Hunter Mountain for decades and at a number of top resorts prior. He knows everyone and he’s skied everywhere. Karl became a close friend of my family during the pro ski tour years which always included a stop at Hunter. These days he can usually be found wandering around the Windham base area with a cup of coffee or a Coke. Just head for the sound of laughter and you’ll find Karl. Many thanks to him for his courtesy during our visit.
Windham also has an above average selection of high performance demo skis. Trust Adam and Peter. They know each ski well. I continued my quest for today’s perfect ski, testing models from Fischer, Salomon, Rossignol and Line. But that’s another story.
If you find yourself in the Catskills go to Windham Mountain. It skis big. For more information visit: www.windhammountain.com