It was a Nobel Prize winning, GE chemist named Irving Langmuir who was likely the first individual in North America to climb mountains with the intention of sliding from their summit. And he did this right here in the northeast, deep in the heart of the Adirondack and Appalachian mountains. Whether he knew it or not, in 1907, Langmuir had given birth to a pastime so many of us enjoy today. Before long, northeastern skiers were leaving their tracks on the hard wooded mountainsides of Vermont’s Green Mountains, up and over the snow-plastered summits of New York’s Adirondacks and down the steepest ravines of New Hampshire’s White Mountains – establishing a rich skiing culture that characterizes our region today.
Here’s a great little film by Mike Whelan, featuring some classic footage of Langmuir (captured later in his life) and the mountain in the Catskills on which it all began (Slide Mountain). This film also features a modern-day Adirondack skiing legend, our friend Ron Konowitz, who is the only skier to have skied from the top of all forty six of the Adirondacks’ High Peaks. He’s captured here enjoying some modern-day powder hounding on the mountain where it all began. Langmuir would be proud.
- Brian Mohr