George Quinn has spent most of his life in the Catskills and much of it around the skiing industry. In the 1950s, when George was just a kid, his father operated the ski shop on Belleayre Mountain, and since 1999 George has been doing the same at Plattekill Mountain in Roxbury.
Back in 1997, well versed in these beloved mountains, Quinn wrote his first book, a guide to cross country and back country skiing in the region.
Quinn begins in the 1920s and through the use of photographs and extended captions he takes us through the mountains, from Bear Mountain, and Norway Ski Club (with photos of the young, famous ski jumper Dean Schambach; to Mohonk; to the trains that carried more than 1400 skiers per day to Simpson Memorial Ski Slope in Phoenicia from New York City; rope tows and chair lifts; there’s even a photo of ABBA, the rock group, at the Pine Hill Arms, maybe early 1980s, judging from the hairstyles. The Trailsweepers club cavorts at Highmount, and Onteora High School’s ski teams from the early 1970s are highlighted; we go out to Roxbury and up to Hunter and Windham — no slope remains undocumented.
Through it all, Quinn keeps things light and moving, as the history retains its freshness. Quinn is our brother bass player who played with John Herald for years, a wonderful singer/songwriter and mandolin player, and his new role as author/historian suits him fine.
George Quinn will be signing copies of his new book Skiing in the Catskill Region: Images of Sports at 7 p.m. Wednesday, December 4 at Barnes and Noble in Kingston. Go see him there and get a copy. And pray for snow.