Kids’ Almanac (Feb. 21-28)

seven wonders book cover detail“Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage.”
– Benjamin Mee,
We Bought a Zoo movie


Catamount in Hillsdale offers family-friendly skiing for all levels

In September 2012, I shared our family’s excellent ropes course experience at Catamount; now I’m excited to describe our awesome skiing and snowboarding visit there. I find Catamount to be family-friendly and fun, with plenty of trails to satisfy all of our family’s needs.

Our daughter loves the easier green trails, as well as the bunny hill with its Wonder Carpet lift: a flat-surface lift that riders just stand and glide onto to ride up to the top. She finds this much easier than T-bar lifts at other mountains that she has to grab and hold during the ascent.


Our son just started snowboarding this year, and appreciates the awesome Terrain Park for doing tricks, as well as the Junior Jib park with smaller elements for jumping and grinding. Using the regular Terrain Park requires a one-time viewing of a five-minute safety video, signing a waiver and paying a $5 fee, and the resultant gold admission card is good for life.

All three of us have benefited greatly from the fantastic instructors at Catamount. Steve Catsos, Snow Sports director, sets a great tone for his program because all of the teachers we have encountered are experienced, professional, upbeat and incredibly helpful. Our kids beg for lessons whenever we visit Catamount. I wasn’t planning on taking a lesson myself the last time we visited, but the bundle pricing made it absolutely worth it, and I’m so glad I did!

I told my instructor, Paul, that I wanted to learn to use my ski poles. I described how I had skied fine without them for the past few years, so I needed to understand why they mattered. He showed me how the movement of using the poles helps to focus my turns, and suddenly, it clicked! I actually teared up, it was such an immense breakthrough for me. I savored these 90 minutes during which I could focus on my own skiing skills with expert guidance.

I like the friendly culture at Catamount; I feel comfortable and welcomed by the staff. I mentioned to Catamount president Tom Gilbert how impressed I was that the staff greeted and opened doors for us, and he simply replied, “Isn’t that what people are supposed to do?”

I recommend Catamount for any level of skiers and snowboarders, especially for families looking for a place to accommodate mixed skill levels, expert instruction and a relaxed environment. Catamount is located at 3290 State Highway 23 in Hillsdale, about 55 minutes from the Kingston traffic circle. For more information, call (518) 325-3200 or visit


Help Lucas Handwerker turn The Hidden into a feature film

You may recall my October write-up about Lucas Handwerker, who does astounding work using hypnosis, neurolinguistic programming and psychological persuasion to help and inspire people during his performances. His movie The Hidden was screened as part of the Woodstock Film Festival’s “Teen Shorts” program last fall. Now he is making plans to develop The Hidden into a feature-length performance film, and he needs our support.

Handwerker has created a campaign at with special premiums for people interested in donating toward the film. The way Kickstarter works, Handwerker must meet his fundraising goal by Sunday, March 17 in order to receive any of the funding. I invite you to experience Handwerker’s talents, to learn what he does, at his performance this Friday, February 22 at 7 p.m. at the Byrdcliffe Kleinert/James Center for the Arts (see Sharyn Flanagan’s piece in this week’s Almanac for more information). Byrdcliffe Kleinert/James Center for the Arts is located at 36 Tinker Street in Woodstock.

For more information, call (845) 679-2079 or visit To learn more about the performer, visit For more information about supporting The Hidden performance film project, search for Handwerker at


39 Clues author Peter Lerangis touts new Seven Wonders series in Kingston

Clear your calendars for Friday, February 22 at 7 p.m. and thrill your family with a visit to Barnes and Noble in Kingston to see best-selling children’s and Young Adult author Peter Lerangis. Sarah Bellora, local mom and Master of Library Science student at Syracuse University in the School Media Program, knows children’s and YA literature and encouraged me to share this event with you (thanks, Sarah!). She mentioned the popularity of Lerangis’ books, including the 39 Clues series; and now your family can check out his new work, The Seven Wonders: Book 1, The Colossus Rises, an “epic tale of adventure, action, sci-fi, fantasy and history.”

Barnes and Noble is located at 1177 Ulster Avenue in Kingston. For more information, call (845) 336-0590 or visit To learn more about the author and to download a free prequel to The Colossus Rises, visit


There is one comment

  1. Mary Chase

    Great column, dear daughter! So happy your family loves winter sports and activities offered in great supply locally!
    Proud Mom

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