It’s 6 a.m. in New York City and I am hungover. A giant billboard emblazoned with a half-naked Calvin Klein model towers over me as I awkwardly carry my skis, boots, and poles to the corner of Houston and Lafayette and blearily wait for a tour bus to emerge from the empty streets.

This corner bustles in the daytime, but I’m the only one here on this cold, dark March morning in SoHo, Manhattan’s famously hip shopping and arts district. I’m on my way to Hunter Mountain, a small ski area in the Catskills about two and a half hours away. Tomorrow, I’ll go to another hill—Windham. My mission is to make skiing a part of my city life—to see just what New York’s weekend warriors are up against. The outlook is good, as three days ago a fierce storm, dubbed Stella, dumped three feet of snow on New York’s ski areas, breathing life into a season dominated by rain and manmade snow.

Out of the darkness, a lone man in an obnoxiously patterned jacket

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