Johnsburg While the flatlanders in Saratoga and Albany aren't seeing snowstorms this year, the woods and slopes of Johnsburg are ready and waiting for skiers to dig in their poles.
Garnet Hill Lodge is in great condition to host cross-country adventurers, said Ski Shop Director Jay DeJesus. With the help of their master groomer, Dale Monthony, the ski trails can open with only a few inches of snow cover and offer plenty of room to explore.
They regularly host local high schools' cross-country teams, and have had visits from schools as far away as Yale in this low-snow season that leaves the lodge as one of the few ski centers in the East with open trails.
DeJesus is working to expand Garnet Hill's relationship with ski teams regionally. The Johnsburg Central Nordic team had just wrapped up some time on the trails.
“You want to do everything you can to seed your future,” said DeJesus. He tapped a JCS Nordic team member on the shoulder and said, “This guy could be a future Olympian.”
Garnet Hill is lucky this year, partly because of its elevation, but DeJesus couldn't speak more glowingly of the lodge's groomer, who has 25 years of experience and long family history with the place.
At Garnet Hill Lodge, new owners Don Preuninger and Mindy Piper had a meeting with a group hoping to bring events for disabled veterans to the cross-country ski center.
Russ Myer, who coordinates the Capital Region Nordic Alliance, said engaging in outdoor sports should be a part of every disabled vet's recovery, and he's read studies that have encouraging results for those activities.
Their group is centered on Albany, and local state ski trails are bare right now, said Myer. With no snow for their winter excursions locally, a venue like Garnet Hill is exactly what they need.