Orville and Izzy Slutzky based the success of [R184R, Hunter Mountain] on the art of snowmaking,and it paid off in a loyal clientele of skiers and riders who make the two-hour trek north from Greater New York with impressive regularity.

The enterprising brothers had a lot to work with in terms of skier base, at first, and later skier and rider base as the new sport of snowboarding caught on to the point where traffic on the nation's slopes is split about evenly between skiers and riders.

Snowmaking remains the heart of winter operations at Hunter, and a big reason why New York area urban dwellers feel confident of finding snow on Hunter's trails.Operators say 95 percent of the mountain's customers come from south of Exit 18 on the New York Thruway, and 75 percent come from northern New Jersey, Long Island, and the Metropolitan area. Less than 5 percent come from Albany, since skiers and snowboarders from there would rather drive farther north and west than take the shorter but counterintuitive trip south to Hunter, or Windham.

Over the years - 50 of them - the Slutzkys embraced better and more efficient snow guns, new groomers, and high-speed chairs.

Hunter was the first ski area in the world to have top-to-bottom snowmaking. That happened in 1967, thanks to the Slutzkys' dedication to the new technology.

The Catskill resort became the first ski area in the world to have 100 percent snowmaking coverage on its trails 13 years later.

Hunter's summit is 3,200 feet above sea level, with a 1,600 foot vertical drop, 240 acres of skiable terrain, 11 lifts, and 55 trails.

Hunter uses more than 60 miles of snowmaking pipe; can pump 43 gallons per minute per acre; has compressed air capacity of 90,000 cubic feet per minute; can make 40 tons of snow per minute; can cover 1 acre with 1 foot of snow per hour; converts half a billion gallons of water into snow in a season.

More information. Or call 800-486-8376.