This is where I grew up. I fell in love with skiing on this 250-foot “mountain”. What you see is what you get and that right there is the top - there really isn’t any more to it than that. In fact, even as you neared the top of the chairlift, the liftie at the bottom would still be on the megaphone yelling, “CHAIR NUMBER 30, PUT YOUR BAR DOWN!"
The New Jersey Metropolitan area is the most densely populated area in the US, ranging from 20,000-50,000+ people per square mile. The nights I spent skiing here were my way of finding peace in the chaos. From the top of this hill you can spot the distinct skyline of New York City - this was as close to the big city as I ever felt I needed to be.
Upon turning 10 years old, I was a proud member of the Campgaw Alpine Ski Racing Team, “The Rattlers” as we were called. I wore my red and black team vest to school with pride. We trained under the bright lights three nights a week on this little slice of vertical. Determined to progress, I would find rides up to the mountain on weekends and drill on my own until I had the skills down pat. I would later return as a college student on winter breaks and serve as a coach to my old team.
There were many times growing up when I wished I lived somewhere else. I was upset that I lived in a place that didn’t embrace winter and the outdoors the way I wanted to.
Since moving to the Rockies I’ve found myself on terrain that I’d never experienced before. Every day I push myself to ski with friends who grew up in the West so I can learn from them. The thing is, those skills I kept hammering away at on my small home hill really do translate to these big mountains, only proving that it’s not the size of the hill, but your desire to ski and learn that count.