"It is not about your experience with backpacks, it is about PEOPLE DYING". The ski patrol's inexplicable rule prohibits me to take my backpack to the ski hill in New York.
This is my first visit to U.S. after Trump took office, and my first ever problem with taking backpacks to a ski slope. Coincidence? Maybe not. Just think about it: travel ban - backpack ban. And considering what happened yesterday in Sweden, it actually makes a lot of sense.
Seriously though, the people at Thunder Ridge, NY, were nice. Even the ski patrol people. Particularly the ski patrol people. I was able to negotiate an exception to their rule, given that I was a blogger needing to carry a camera. After all, the ski patrol did believe in the importance of journalism, and obviously lame ski bloggers are at the centre of journalism's important role in bringing out the facts. The only problem was that I had to re-negotiate like ten times when running into different lifts and lifties. But it was all good.
And the facts are: none of my U.S. friends believed there could be skiing so close to New York City; they thought the story of a ski hill an hour north was fake news. Well, it wasn't. It is very real, while not big it is important for the kids, near for the city dwellers, and an overall fun place with varying terrain. the mid-week special tickets cost only 25$ for a day.
And it really is just one hour from the city, although you have to add another hour to get 5 miles out of JFK in the traffic that was standing still :-)
Unfortunately, I was only able to enjoy this playground for half an hour. While I had a ten hour layover in JFK, it took a while to rent a car... the airlines were unwilling to deliver my luggage to a layover point, so I had to get rentals... and I had an important work conference right when I arrived at the ski area. But no matter, call completed, the open parts of the ski area all explored, and I even made it to my next flight in time.
As a side note, I spend a lot of time on conference calls. And when I travel, I don't just look at convenient flight times, I schedule layovers so that I can take calls. Can't just travel from California to home, need to stop Wednesday morning for that call. So the layover was a necessity, not a choice. It was only afterwards that I started investigating what to do in New York. There's plenty to do of course, but I've done many of the sporty things (like skating or climbing) already, so I wanted to find something new. Thunder Ridge was a surprise find for me as well. My previous New York ski trips have been like four hour drives.
I should also say that going to ski lifts with backpacks CAN be dangerous. Be careful out there, and take off the backpack before going to a chair lift at least -- getting the backpack tangled with the chair could be bad. As we saw recently in the story about the miraculous save of an unconscious man hanging from the Arapahoe Basin chairlift.