Year-round mountains: Ski centers shine in all four seasons

Above: The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup at Windham Mountain, the only event of its kind in the U.S., draws pro athletes from around the globe. Photo by Karl Anshanslin, an honorable mention in the 2014 Catskills Outdoor Guide Photo Contest.

One World Cup mountain biking competition featuring 7,000 riders from 35 countries. Three days of yoga. Car and motorcycle shows, skateboard races. Summer concerts starring Buddy Guy, Gretchen Wilson and the brothers Allman and Avett. A chance to taste more than 300 beers made by 70 New York state brewers, zoom above the trees on a zipline or take your kids geocaching.

Welcome to the Catskills ski region, where resorts whose main attractions involve the fluffy white stuff have increasingly morphed into four-season recreation centers with wildly diverse offerings — both indoors and out.

“You have this huge asset — you can’t just shut your doors and wait for it to snow again,” says Troy Ketcham, the sales and marketing director at Windham Mountain in Greene County. “Every mountain is really a year-round mountain.”

Mother Nature smiled upon the winter sports season in 2013-14, with early cold temperatures and bountiful snowfall. Fans of downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing had little to complain about as the snowpack endured into early April.  Read more

This Weekend: Celebrate National Trails Day

Above: The view from Cross Mountain on a brand-new section of the Long Path Trail, which opens to the public on Saturday, June 7. Photo courtesy of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference.

For 21 years, the first Saturday in June has been reserved for appreciating the nation’s mountain trails and greenery. This Saturday, June 7, Catskill area parks will observe the 22nd annual National Trails Day by hosting outdoor celebrations — welcoming residents and visitors to participate in hikes, runs and restoration projects, as well as the opening of several brand-new trails.

Below: Volunteers install a sign on the new Palmer Hill Trail in Andes. Photo by Ann Roberti.

Palmer Hill Trail opening, Andes, Delaware County  Read more

Deer charges through Kingston coffee shop

Above: A still of the doe mid-crash, from the security camera footage of at Hudson Coffee Traders. Via Times Herald Record's Youtube channel

Taking a break from the daily grind, a small doe crashed through the glass front door of Hudson Coffee Traders, a popular coffee shop in uptown Kingston, early Tuesday morning. Ariel Zangla at the Daily Freeman broke the story.

Police: Man leaves stool sample at chiropractor's office

The charge is "burglary," but according to state police, the only thing taken was a dump.

A Saugerties man was arrested on Wednesday, after allegedly paying a visit to the Saugerties Chiropractic Center before opening hours and defecating on the carpet near the reception desk. Arrested was 22-year-old Nathaniel Schultz, who is charged with third-degree burglary -- a charge that applies under New York State law whenever a person "knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in a building with intent to commit a crime therein."

According to a news release from the New York State Police, Schultz entered the building through an unlocked door before the business opened for the day.  Read more

Head injury can't stop Woodstock artist Lenny Kislin

Above: Lenny Kislin. Photos courtesy of the Orphic Gallery and Lenny Kislin.

After falling and hitting his head on the ice in February, Woodstock artist Lenny Kislin has recently returned to his passion: making sculptures from primitive early American antiques. 

Last week, despite the fog of anti-seizure medication, Kislin started making sculptures again. This Saturday, he'll make an in-person appearance at a new gallery show featuring his sculptures alongside the photography of Catherine Sebastian in Roxbury on Saturday.

Left: "Weather-Beaten, Angry And Disillusioned, Blitzen Flies No More," by Lenny Kislin.

Kislin is a longtime fixture on the Woodstock art scene. On February 9, he slipped on the ice and hit his head outside of his Woodstock home. Kislin was on his way to a gallery opening and didn't immediately notice that he was injured, until he found himself behind the wheel in the middle of an intersection with no idea where he was.   Read more

This weekend: Hunter hosts 10th annual Mountain Jam

Photo courtesy of Hunter Mountain.

The tenth annual Mountain Jam Music Festival, produced by Radio Woodstock WDST and hosted by Hunter Mountain, kicks off on Thursday, June 5 and continues through Sunday, June 8 featuring a line-up of 40 musical acts across three stages.

Jimmy Buff, program director at Radio Woodstock WDST, said booking acts for the Mountain Jam Music Festival is always a bit of a “juggling act.” It takes the perfect storm of luck, album releases and tour schedules to assemble the diverse line-up of new and old favorites.

“Sure, you’ve got your wish list every year,” Buff said. “But schedules have to match up with the dates. Work on this year’s Mountain Jam began when last year’s finished.”  Read more

Between meals: Catskills-style coffee breaks

Above: Phoenicia’s Mama’s Boy Market serves homemade baked goods and a selection of snacks from local purveyors.

Residents of the Catskills are often people who thrive on privacy and peace, but it’s also important that the commons contain ample opportunities to get off of the farm and out of the woods to socialize. Happily, we’re blessed with a fine selection of coffee shops and casual cafés that showcase coffee curation and offer sweet and savory snacks.

Bread Alone Bakery (, multiple locations) has been doing the bakery-café thing for decades, and has two Catskills shops: the main headquarters on Route 28 in Boiceville, and a satellite café in Woodstock. Flour milled to spec, locally sourced fresh dairy and wood-fired ovens are some of the ingredients in its well-loved recipes.  Read more

Wurtsburo man arrested for menacing at campground

A 54-year-old Wurtsburo man was arrested for menacing last week after allegedly flashing the butt of his silver handgun during an argument at Timberline Camplands, a trailer campground in the Sullivan County town of Mamakating.

Angel L. Rivera was arrested by New York State Police in Wurtsburo, and charged with the misdemeanor of second-degree menacing, after a witness told police he was threatened while trying to mediate an argument between Rivera and another man. 

All parties claimed to be former members of the board of directors at the Timberline Camplands campground, police said. Police say the campground had a history of problems.

Last May, according to an article in the Times Herald-Record, the seasonal campground was shut down by town and state officials due to a myriad of code violations, unsafe construction, illegal year-round use and unpaid taxes.   Read more

Cairo man arrested on moonshine and weapons charges

A South Cairo man was arrested and jailed last week after police found evidence of an illegal distilling operation, unregistered guns, marijuana and fireworks at his home.

On Wednesday, May 28, Robert Litchko Jr. of South Cairo was arrested by officers from the Town of Cairo Police Department and the New York State Police at Catskill, after police executed a search warrant on his property that turned up a variety of contraband.

Litchko faces two charges under the state's Alcoholic Beverage Control Law: illegal possession of a still/manufacture of illicit alcoholic beverages (a felony), and possession of illicit alcoholic beverages (a misdemeanor). Litchko is also charged with two felony counts of criminal possession of a firearm, criminal possession of marijuana, and unlawful possession of fireworks.

Litchko was arraigned in the Town of Cairo court and remanded to the Greene County Jail in lieu of $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bond.

Breaking ground: New trails in the Catskills

Above: The newly-restored Rosendale Trestle over the Rondout Creek, reopened in 2013 as a pedestrian walkway on the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail. Photo by John Fischer Photography (

To celebrate National Trails Day, which is this Saturday, June 7, we're posting our article about new trails from our brand-new 2014 Catskills Outdoor Guide, which hit the streets on Memorial Day weekend. There are more new Catskills trails than we cover here -- stay tuned for more coverage about Catskills trail events later this week. 

The saying “as old as the hills” is especially apt in the Catskills, a mountain range that stood as a high plateau more than 100 million years before the Rockies began to rise in the West. But across the time-worn mountains, new pathways are always springing up.  Read more