December 01, 2008
Ski resorts take advantage of the cold
Song Mountain, which will open Saturday, is the only resort yet to open
TRUXTON — Alan Coffin skied with his son Stephen, 5, and his daughter Julia, 8, for the first time this season on Saturday at Labrador Mountain.
It is the fourth consecutive winter that he has taken Julia to ski there and the second consecutive year he has taken Stephen.
“It’s like we left yesterday,” Coffin said. “When the summer’s over you start looking forward to it. And each year we get better,” Coffin said.
Most local ski resorts are now open. Labrador Mountain opened on Friday as did Toggenburg Mountain in Fabius.
Greek Peak in Virgil opened Nov. 22, and Song Mountain in Preble is scheduled to open Dec. 6.
About 1,500 people showed up Friday to ski and snowboard at Labrador Mountain, said Rick Bunnell, director of marketing.
On Saturday morning, Bunnell said about 70 percent of the snow on the mountain was man-made and about 30 percent of it was natural snow.
He said most skiers at Labrador are from a 100-mile radius around the mountain, the majority coming from Syracuse, Binghamton and Cortland.
The Coffins live in Tully about 10 minutes away from Labrador Mountain.
Coffin taught Stephen to ski last year, and Saturday morning they were continuing the lessons from where they stopped last spring.
As they descended the top portion of the slope, Coffin spread his skis wide so that Stephen could ski immediately in front of him, the outer edges of his skis inches from the inner edges of his father’s skis, as his father guided him.
Farther down the mountain, Coffin let his son ski alone. When Stephen fell, Coffin stopped and sidestepped back up the slope to help him to get back up, as Julia stood waiting for them.
Julia is a member of the Flying Fore Runners, a racing club that meets in a private lodge at the ski resort. Starting in January, club members meet every Saturday for six weeks. This winter, Julia will continue to learn the techniques of ski racing, and when she is a little older she can begin traveling to other ski resorts to compete in races.
When Coffin is instructing his son on the way down the slopes, he shows him how to snowplow — pointing the tips of the skis together to slow down or stop — and how to ski from side to side to maintain a comfortable speed.
But Coffin’s said his main strategy is the following: “Relax and have a good time.”
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