There are plenty of opportunities for outdoor winter recreation in Saratoga—ice skating at the Spa State Park, fat-tire mountain biking at Daniels Road State Forest, downhill skiing just up the Northway at West Mountain. But you have to hark back to the late ’90s and early 2000s to find the lesser-known (but equally cold) pastime that once beckoned Saratoga’s sportiest die-hards every winter: snow volleyball.
“I came up with the idea to do a cabin fever party in February between the Super Bowl and St. Patrick’s Day because there was nothing to do,” says Saratogian Chris Carola, whose brother, Barry, ran the Leprechaun Pub on Route 9 from 1996-2006. Chris ran sand volleyball leagues and tournaments at the bar during the summer, and many of the people who played in them came out to the Leprechaun’s cabin fever party. And, as anyone familiar with the local volleyball community knows, if ever there are four or more v-ballers and a net on hand, volleyball will be played. “The first year I had six people come out and play in two feet of snow,” Chris says. “The last year I did it, the winter of 2006, I think we had 36 people out there. Some of my brother’s biggest days were those cabin fever parties.”
Since the Leprechaun Pub closed on St. Patrick’s Day 2006, the property has been home to Almost Saratoga Bar & Grill and The Galley, which opened in the fall of 2021. The volleyball courts are still there…Anyone up for a cabin fever party?