Powder Struggle: Puns and Presidents

Fellow listeners of Slate’s Political Gabfest may share in my enamor for a presidential kerfuffle on the icy coast, as shared by John Dickerson. The year was 1975 and incumbent President Gerald Ford was preparing for the 1976 elections with a campaigning trip planned for New Hampshire. Known to be an avid skier of the rockies, New Hampshire natives asked Ford’s Press Secretary Ron Nessen if he might shift the first family ski trip to enjoy the mountains of the east coast. His press secretary rejected the suggestion due to “icy and uncertain ski conditions.”

Hunter Mountain, New York

Ski Lift, Hunter Mountain

And so fury ensued in the Granite State toward the presidential dismissal of their beloved, if not, frostier slopes. Although some accounts note that the frustration was directed at Press Secretary Nessen and multiple mountain passes were made available to Ford. However, there is no account of Ford having taken up these offers. Travel in time with this fun article aptly punned, “Snow Comment” in The Day. In fact, Ford’s proposed New Hampshire travel as recommended in a memorandum to Dick Cheney regarded skiing in New Hampshire as “unnecessary” to establishing presidential leadership.

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Trail Map, Hunter Mountain

This passed weekend we gave Hunter Mountain, the closest ski mountain to New York City a visit. Strong winds and low temperatures were enough to make me wimp out on this day — when at its fiercest, the ice coast is for the bolder and more tolerant of snowy adventurers.

Snowmaking Capital of the World

Snowmaking Capital of the World

While Hunter may not be the most snow-sure of mountains, it does maintain the distinction of being the “snowmaking capital of the world.”

The lodge at Hunter Mountain makes for a lively setting with a clear view onto the skiers and snowboarders making their way to the base. One not need to travel far to find quiet. Just a few miles up the road is St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church — a gorgeous place built atop a hill in 1962 in the traditional log building technique of the Ukrainian Carpathian Mountain highlanders.

Built in traditional log building technique of the Ukrainian Carpathian Mountain highlanders

Stairway to Church

Cedar logs were imported from British Columbia

Cedar logs were imported from British Columbia

View from on top of the hill

View from on top of the hill

All ski/snowboard days end in après-ski. At Hunter, we like to visit the Spinning Room, a dive pub with good music, mozzarella sticks and cheap, cheap drinks. I was once served an 8 oz glass of champagne for $3 — it was terrible, but you have to appreciate those economics.