First Decents: Part 2 - Cobb's Hill // Ski Stories
Throughout my travels in Rochester and even before my relocation here I had heard of Cobb’s Hill Park. Located in the city’s Southeast the park features many acres of woods, hiking trails and a reservoir that supplies drinking water. Around the fenced in perimeter of the reservoir is a widely used walking path and at one of the highest points is a grand view of the city.
During one of my inquisitive scouting visits I found this overlook intriguing. Below the opening that offers this view falls a steep grade down into the woods for a couple hundred feet. With this winter’s favorable cold and deeper snowpack I thought it was high time to give it a go. The forecast was favorable with sunshine and temps finally above 9 degrees so I enlisted my friend Mark who lives close by to come snap a couple shots.
I dropped in but quickly started scraping the dead leaves, dirt and rocks below. A bit startled I went into to survival skiing mode and was able to safely make it to the bottom. At the bottom I was feeling slightly disappointed but I wasn’t going to try my luck again as I was feeling a little sore in the knee. I was just glad to have tried it and hoped that the picture turned out well. Ultimately this run is just a little too steep and bony for good turns even with a 30” snowpack around the city. So I moved on to several other options I eyed up on the drive in.
The park road is a one way street that climbs up and around the reservoir. Looking left out the window on the drive up is a short but impressively steep slope that descends from the walking path to the road. One part of this area features a nice glade with several turns and then the rest is wide open. Unlike my first “decent” of the day I knew that this area featured manicured grass in the Summer which gave me high hopes for a smooth ride.
After my first run I knew I’d hit suburban gold. The sliding on this side of the park was smooth and deep with plenty of space for more runs. Of course I attracted the quizzical looks and comments from people out for a walk on the rec path but that’s become expected. Some were amazed that I would go through the effort. One lady thought I made it look easy. I responded that I was just happy to be out enjoying the winter. The laps were short but the pull of the soft and steep motivated me to do, “just one more.” Finally after a half dozen laps and some deep trail breaking an hour had passed; I had tapped into that fix that keeps me grounded.
As they say, there's no turn like an earned turn!
Brent Buckman is a jonser that used to log 100+ days a year skiing the Green Mountains of Vermont before moving to Rochester, NY to pursue other dreams. He still keeps it real in the suburbs on any embankment, golf course or school yard hill he can find. To read Bren’t full story and other posts click here.
Written by Brent Buckman on 3/26/15