Pisgah’s playground

From left, Houston Shortell, Ryder Harrison, Lena DiDivitis, Anthony Samperi and Max Hall work on a ramp near the summit of Mount Pisgah. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone) (Correction: Lena DiDivitis' last name was incorrect in an earlier version of this caption.)

SARANAC LAKE — After days of warm weather, ice and … rain, Mount Pisgah finally saw its first layer of fresh snow in the new decade, and on Sunday, Saranac Lake’s kids were out in force, playing in the powder, building ramps and trying to fly, just for a moment.

It was the ski mountain’s eighth day of operation this season, and though only one trail was open, there were plenty of skiers and snowboarders on the slope, criss-crossing paths, catching air and building ramps.

Some were learning, doing “pizza skis” all the way down the slope, or getting going too fast and collapsing in a ball of snow-spray glory. Kids are resilient, though. They would get right back up and head back down the slope. Some even seek out a good crash.

Near the summit, a group of park rats — including Houston Shortell, Ryder Harrison, Lena Bedizigif, Anthony Samperi and Max Hall — were looking for a challenge, so they built ramp using snow and water from bottles they were filling at the lodge.

They said the ramps they had built the day before had been groomed over that morning. Houston Shortell said he wanted to build it high enough to pull off a 180, which he said he had done on the previous day’s ramps.

Anthony Samperi, 13, catches air with a Taipan grab on Mount Pisgah Sunday afternoon. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

As they got the ramp to a satisfactory height, the crew of eight or so skiers and snowboarders trudged up the hill and one by one put their project to work. Hitting the ramp and propelling themselves into the air, they seemed weightless for a moment.

With the vastness of the Adirondacks before them, they might have seen the Bloomingdale Bog and the mountains leading north. Their eyes were not on the vista, though. They were fixed on where they were landing. They would not be weightless for long. As they came back down, some would slap the snow with their boards or skis, sticking the landing. Some did not have their feet under them and would slam into the hillside and roll downhill. All emerged smiling and returning for another shot.

Earlier, before the ramp, Connor Gillis, Cedar Crist, Noah Hastings and Mik Denkenberger had found an edge they could hit and lift off the ground for a dozen feet or so.

Everyone was chasing weightlessness.

The snow machines were running full blast, turning water mist to snow and blowing it out across the unopened half of the slope. Kids gazed longingly into the woods, where trails weave in and out of the trees, with ramps, bridges and obstacles aplenty to play on.

Connor Gillis, left, and Cedar Crist slide to a stop on Mount Pisgah Sunday afternoon, spraying snow toward the camera. Noah Hastings and Mik Denkenberger follow close behind them. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

All these trails will open later in the season, weather permitting.


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