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Obituary: Mitch Kaplan ’71

Mitch Kaplan died of leukemia Monday at 61.

“Mitch lived for skiing,” said his wife of 38 years, Penny, also a 1971 graduate of Antioch College.

Mr. Kaplan, a writer specializing in winter sports, golf and travel, launched his Record column in 2003. Every Thursday between Halloween and Easter, he told enthusiasts both advanced and beginner what they needed to know: where to ski locally, nationally and internationally; where to take lessons; what gifts to buy fellow skiers; even what ski wax to use. Each column ended with a “ski tip of the week,” such as remember to bend your ankles, not just your knees.

On Dec. 4, 2008, Mr. Kaplan revealed his favorite North American ski destination: Steamboat Springs, Colo. “It holds some of the continent’s best tree skiing, offers excellent kids’ programs, and at least 15 inches of new snow has always arrived there when I’ve arrived,” he wrote.

Mitch Kaplan graduated from Fair Lawn High School and received a bachelor’s degree from Antioch College in Ohio and a master’s in fine arts from New York University. He was trained as a theater director but never worked as one, preferring instead the routine of a freelance writer and “stay-at-home daddy,” his wife said.

Mr.Kaplan was active in the Eastern Ski Writers Association and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association. He wrote or co-wrote several travel books, including “52 Weekends in New Jersey” and “535 Wonderful Things to Do This Weekend,” a guide to fairs, festivals and events in the Mid-Atlantic states. He also was content editor of and editor of, a travel site for baby boomers.

His final Record column, written from a hospital bed, appeared last Thursday. It was about the Saddleback and Sugarloaf ski resorts in Maine, and the ski tip was about the technical challenges posed by deep powder.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Kaplan is survived by a daughter, Laina Kaplan of Franklin Lakes; a son, Daniel, of West Dover, Vt., and a brother, Bernard, of Metuchen.

The family plans to hold a memorial service in the spring. Arrangements were by Louis Suburban Chapel, Fair Lawn.