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Full Moon event at Cascade Ski Center keeps’em howlin’

Next one slated Saturday, Feb. 4

January 31, 2012
MARGARET MORAN, News Staff Writer , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - I never thought I would find myself out in the middle of the woods at night, but on Jan. 7 I did.

With snowshoes strapped to my feet, I made my way along a moonlit snow-covered trail with trees shrouded in darkness towering over me on either side.

Being my first time snowshoeing, I walked a little clumsily, not being used to the oblong snowshoes. But steadily I marched on, and with each plop of my foot, I felt that I was taking part in something unique to the area.

Article Photos

Attendees of the Cascade Cross Country Ski Center’s Full Moon Party held Saturday, Jan. 7 crowd around a trail bonfire, roasting hot dogs and hot dog buns and enjoying beverages. This popular Adirondack event is scheduled two more times during the winter season.

Photos/Margaret Moran/Lake Placid News

I along with approximately 200 others that night were attending the Cascade Cross Country Ski Center's Full Moon Party, which featured not only snowshoeing on moonlit trails, but also cross-country skiing, a bonfire, hot dogs, hot chocolate, beer and live indoor band performances.

Stacy Pagoda, manager of the Cascade Cross Country Ski Center, described the event as "legendary," while many participants described it as just plain fun.

"It's just fun," said Sue Richer, of Tupper Lake, who was attending the event for the first time with her husband and daughter. "I'd like to do it all winter long."

Fact Box

The cost to see the bands perform was $5 per person, whereas the pass to go out on the trails, which included the food, beverages and performances, was $15. It was an additional $15 to rent trail equipment.

More full moons

The next Full Moon Party is scheduled for Feb. 4 with another one on March 10. The trails open at 7:30 p.m. and remain open until midnight with band performances inside the Cascade Cross Country Ski Center lasting until around 1 a.m.

You must be 21 years old or older to participate in a Full Moon Party.

"We ski a lot, and this is just something different," said Sue's husband, Pete Richer.

"This is my first one (Full Moon Party)," said Krysta Peterson, of Webster. "It's wonderful. The trails are great."

The trails

With temperatures being warmer than normal, many of those who traveled on the trails were pleasantly surprised by their snow cover.

"The lack of snow is not an issue," said Pete. "The skiing is good."

Pat Peebles, of Saranac Lake, also was impressed with the trail conditions.

"I love being outside, and the conditions are fine," she said. "Cascade did a great job grooming it today."

Yet just to be safe, I took Pagoda's advice and made sure to lift my feet well off the ground, so as to not catch on any roots. As I walked along the trails, I noticed that there were changes in the terrain with slight dips and inclinations.

They didn't pose too much of a challenge for me since I was in snowshoes, but they did seem to give some cross-country skiers an issue. Going down hill, some took a tumble, but instead of getting upset or embarrassed, they would often laugh it off and get back up to continue on their way.

"I really like Cascade because it's a laid back atmosphere," said Keith Kogut, of Saranac Lake.

And it has a friendly atmosphere, as well.

Even though I came alone to the Full Moon Party, early on complete strangers allowed me to tag along with them, and as we walked, we chatted a bit. Its' nice to be part of a group, since it seemed like many of the event's attendees were part of a group whether they were with friends or family.

I ended up lagging behind the group I was with so I could ask others on the trail a few questions about the event.

Alone on the trail, I was able to appreciate the beauty around me. I noticed how some snow still clung to tree branches and how the light along the trail dimmed as clouds pass across the moon. There was a certain stillness to the whole scene.

Periodically, I would pass others on the trail, many of them cross-country skiing, and after awhile of walking, one of them told me "You're almost there."

To what? I thought. The end of the trail?

After going down an dip, I found out.

Bonfire

At a clearing, I saw people crowded around a bonfire, mingling with one another, roasting hots dogs and buns on sticks, and drinking beer.

The scene had a warm, inviting atmosphere to it, which was only enhanced by the glow of the fire.

Taking off my snowshoes and placing them off to the side by a pile of logs where other equipment was resting, I joined the scene.

Everyone was really friendly and open, telling me a little about themselves and their take on the Full Moon Party.

"It's pure Adirondacks - hot dogs and beer in the middle of the woods," Kogut said.

Combined, those elements gave the bonfire area a camping vibe to it.

Adding to the ambiance was an impromptu acoustic performance by a few attendees. Sitting around the bonfire with one man playing the guitar, the collective singing voices of the group rose and mingled with the crackling of the fire.

During the performance, the wind shifted blowing smoke and embers in the direction of the performers. Having been on the receiving end of a wind shift earlier that night, I knew that the performers' eyes were stinging.

Not pleasant, let me tell you.

Trying to keep the embers away, some crowd members used their coats and jackets as a shield.

After a listening to a few folk songs, I put on my snowshoes once more and headed back to the Cascade Cross Country Ski Center to hear the scheduled bands perform.

Music

Scheduled that night to perform live was the Blind Owl Band followed by John Kribbs and "Delia."

As soon as I entered the back of the center, which was where the bands were to perform, I noticed that atmosphere there was completely different from the one outdoors.

It was crowded to a point where it was sometimes difficult to move around, but it was buzzing and energetic. The lighting in the room was dim, giving it an intimate feel.

People stood close to one another sipping on their drinks and mingling, while others took to the dance floor.

John Kribbs and "Delia"'s uptempo playlist got people to move their whole bodies in rhythm with the music. In the whirl of people spinning around, shaking their heads and arms, and moving their hips, a smile here and there could be caught.

"I love it," said David Staszak, of Saranac Lake. "The band was great."

While I was able to catch some of John Kribbs and "Delia"'s performance, I missed the Blind Owl's Band's show entirely, since I was out on the trails at the time.

The cost to see the bands perform was $5 per person, whereas the pass to go out on the trails, which included the food, beverages and performances, was $15. It was an additional $15 to rent trail equipment.

More full moons

The next Full Moon Party is scheduled for Feb. 4 with another one on March 10. The trails open at 7:30 p.m. and remain open until midnight with band performances inside the Cascade Cross Country Ski Center lasting until around 1 a.m.

You must be 21 years old or older to participate in a Full Moon Party.

"I would advise tourists to come," said Grace Wilkins, of Lake Placid. "It's one of the top five things to do here. There's great hospitality and great trails; all you can ask for in the Adirondacks."

Contact Margaret Moran at 518-523-4401 or at mmoran@lakeplacidnews.com

 
 

 

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