For the first time ever, Whiteface and Gore mountains are teaming up to offer the Ultimate Spring Season Pass, good for unlimited skiing and riding at either mountain through the rest of the 2008-09 season. The pass went on sale Sunday, March 22.
Adults (ages 23-69) can purchase the pass for $129; young adult passes (ages 13-22) are $99. The junior (7-12) rate is $69, and kids 6 and under ski and ride, as always, for free. Whiteface and Gore mountains are holding the season pass rates for next season, 2009-10. All season passes go on sale Sunday for the greatest value. Adult full season passes are $690 if purchased by June 12. A payment plan is available payments due at time of purchase, July 24, and September 8. This is the best value if pass holders ski more that 9 times a season including holidays.
The popular Whiteface only non-holiday returns for $399 if purchased by June 12. This pass includes blackout dates of December 26, 2009-January 2, 2010, January 16-18, 2010, and February 13-20, 2010. The passes must be purchased by June 12 to receive as the pass won’t be available after that date. This is the best value if pass holders ski or ride more that six times at Whiteface only excluding holidays
Both mountains plan to stay open through April 12. Whiteface is hosting a Mini-Park Meltdown March 28, followed by a Retro Deck Party with live music by Ironwood. The Apple Butter Open moguls competition returns April 4, while pond skimming is April 11. Easter Sunday wraps up the festivities at Whiteface and Gore with the mountains hosting Easter services, brunch, egg hunts and more.
Join your favorite Adirondack Almanack editor (yeah… me) at the St. Paddy’s Day Donegal Beard Contest, Gore Mountain Base Lodge, today between 1-4 pm; judging at 3 pm.
A Donegal Beard (also called a Chin-curtain or Lincoln) is a particular style of Irish hirsute appendage (facial hair) that grows along the jaw line and covers the chin – no soul patch, no mustache. Contest Rules: All contestants must be clean shaven January 1st and grow a Donegal Beard by St. Patrick’s Day. On the day of the contest all beards must conform to the Donegal standard.
Contestants will be judged on the following criteria:
1. Length 2. Fullness 3. Style and Sophistication 4. General Manliness
Judges will be chosen at random from the crowd by three wise Adirondack women – the Donegal Biddies. Donegal Biddies are also responsible for the issuance of Clean Face Citations for violations of the Donegal standard. All men without a Donegal Beard are subject to a $1 fine.
Whiteface is kicking of its winter events this weekend, December 13-14, with an open rail jam and telemark skiing equipment demonstration day.
The first of seven Whiteface Park n Pipe events is Saturday’s Rail Jam, sponsored by Cunningham’s Ski Barn. This event is open to all skiers and riders looking to show off their latest moves on the rails. Participants may sign up at the Guest Services desk anytime before 10 AM on December 13. The Rail Jam begins at 11 AM and lasts for one hour. During that hour, competitors may hit the rails as many times as they can with the best trick winning. Prizes are provided by Cunningham’s Ski Barn and will be awarded immediately following the competition. Cost is $10 and helmets are required. For more information on Cunningham’s Ski Barn, visit www.cunninghamsskibarn.com. High Peaks Cyclery is presenting a telemark and alpine touring demo day on Sunday from 9 AM to 4 PM at the mountain’s base lodge area. New 2008-09 gear from Atomic, K2, G-3, Black Diamond, Crispi, Dynafit, Alpina, Karhu, Garmont, Silveretta, Voile and Scarpa will be available to try. There will also be free one hour ski clinics for novice (9:30 AM), intermediate (11:30 AM) and advanced (1 PM) skiers. Pre-registration is required for the clinics so call High Peaks Cyclery at (518) 523-3764 to signup. For more information on High Peaks Cyclery, visit www.highpeakscyclery.com.
Lift tickets are currently $55 for adults (20-64 years old), $45 for teens (13-19) and seniors (64-69), and $32 for juniors (7-12). As always, children six and under and seniors 70 and over ski and ride for free any day of the season. These prices will be in effect until mid-December. Operating hours are from 8:30 AM – 4 PM.
Also: Present any empty Coca-Cola product and get a one-day adult lift ticket for only $38 at Whiteface and Gore Mountains. Offer valid Wednesdays only, through Closing Day, Spring 2009 except Wednesday except 12/31/08 and 2/18/09. Not valid with any other offers, programs, promotions, discounts, or frequent skier products. Limit one ticket per can.
Snow guns having been making snow around the clock since November 17, and combined with natural snow, Whiteface will have 11 trails and two lifts ready for the post-Thanksgiving Day crowd when it opens for its 51st season on Friday, November 28, at 8:30 AM. The Cloudsplitter gondola and Mixing Bowl lift will service 47 acres, or four miles, of trails for all levels of skiers and riders. The Whiteface children’s programs will be operating out of the new Kids Kampus lodge, with the children being shuttled to the main lodge for their skiing and riding activities. Whiteface boasts the East’s greatest vertical drop, and was recently named to the Top Five Resorts in the East in SKI Magazine’s Reader Resort Survey 2008. The mountain also received kudos for Challenge and Family Programs (No. 6) and Terrain/Variety (No. 10). Whiteface/Lake Placid also earned the distinction of being #1 in the nation for Off-Hill Activities for the 16th straight year.
Opening day lift tickets are $55 for adults (20-64 years old), $45 for teens (13-19) and seniors (64-69), and $32 for juniors (7-12). As always, children six and under and seniors 70 and over ski and ride for free any day of the season. These prices will be in effect until mid-December. Operating hours are from 8:30 AM – 4 PM.
Gore Mountain, Whiteface’s sister mountain located in North Creek, is also opening for the season on Friday. Gore was recently ranked seventh in the Top 10 Best of the East Reader’s Choice Awards by Skiing. For more information and current conditions at Gore, visit
The deadline to purchase discounted 2008-09 ski and ride season passes for Whiteface and Gore Mountains is November 14.
Skiers and riders may purchase an interchangeable non-holiday pass good at both Whiteface and Gore Mountains for $649. This pass for adults (ages 23-64) excludes the Christmas Week, Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, and Presidents’ Week holiday periods. Seniors (ages 65-69) may purchase the same pass at the same price at any time for just $399. The adult full season pass is $799 and increases to $959 on November 15. Young adult (13-22) full season passes are available for $335, and junior full season passes are only $275 through Nov. 14. The prices increase to $449 for the young adult pass and $375 for the junior pass starting Nov. 15. Seniors 70 and over and children six and under pay just $40 for a full season pass until Nov. 14, with the price increasing $10 thereafter.
Kids Kampus is once again offering membership into the Cloudsplitter Club and Cloudsplitter Teen Club. The Cloudsplitter Club is for children ages 7-12 while the Teen Club is for teenagers 13-16, regardless of ability. Both clubs are committed to the development of young skiers and riders and focus on safety, fun and learning. The program coaching staff will focus on mileage and the non-competitive aspect of skiing and snowboarding to instill a love for the sport. Cloudsplitter Club membership is $1,020, while the Cloudsplitter Teen Club is $1,095 until Nov. 14.
The popular Snow Sampler – a group of four interchangeable Gore/Whiteface lift tickets that can be used at any time during the season – is just $225 until December 14. The Snow Sampler is not available for purchase after that date.
Whiteface will also offer time-honored programs such as the Play-n-Ski for children at Kids Kampus, the Snowboomers Club for the young at heart, NASTAR season passes and much more.
In addition, season passes for cross country skiing at Mt. Van Hoevenberg and skating on the Olympic Oval may be purchased at the same time.
The full menu of passes and programs, payment deadlines and online store may be found at www.whiteface.com or www.goremountain.com. Most items may be purchased online, or people may contact the mountains directly.
For a complete listing of ORDA activities, venue-by-venue, and web cams from five locations, please log on to www.orda.org.
If it wasn’t painfully obvious before, weather for this early January week that stretched into the sunny 60’s at some Adirondack locations should serve as a reminder that global warming is going to have serious impacts on the Adirondack region. Unfortunately, few here in the mountains seem to understand the gravity of the situation for our local economies.
Our friends working at Gore Mountain Ski Resort have been hardly working at all and consequently spending a lot less on dinners out, winter gear, and even beer and other important winter supplies. The few trails open on Gore are so crowded (with even the small crowd that’s there) that the die-hards refuse to make runs for fear of being run-over. Whiteface in Lake Placid has been forced to cancel its annual World Cup Freestyle competition (now being held at Deer Valley, Utah) and has virtually no beginner trails open.
Meanwhile, two of the largest developments in Adirondack history are expected to be rammed through the Adirondack Park Agency by pro-development George Pataki appointees. The most bizarre part of these projects is that they, believe it or not, have relied on development of two area ski resorts to appease locals and persuade some that the good they’ll provide for the local economy by way of skiing will outweigh the damage to the park.
[Tupper Lake project] developer Michael Foxman’s mega-vision to create the high-end Adirondack Club and Resort, which would include 700 expensive units on 6,400 acres, much of it in back country, has been highly controversial since it was proposed three years ago. Part of the plan, a sop to the locals, is reopening Big Tupper Ski Center as an economic engine.
In North Creek (Warren County), local politicos and real estate agents are pushing (with the help of newly appointed APA member, Warren County Board of Supervisors Chair, and Johnsburg Town Supervisor Bill Thomas) a project called – get this – Ski Bowl Village at Gore Mountain that would include exclusive trailside housing, an equestrian facility, retail shops and restaurants, a major hotel, two smaller inns, a spa, a private ski lodge, and a 9-hole golf course, on 430 acres, some of which on what was a town-owned park and before that the historic North Creek Ski Bowl where downhill skiing an early start in New York State.
Folks – skiing in the Adirondacks in the future will be all but dead. If there hasn’t been a proper ski season for Adirondack resorts in at least four years, and the experts agree that the coming year will be the warmest on record (again), it’s time to see the forest for the trees – no project tied to the ski season has a hope of being successful on that basis in the long run.
In the Northeast, the climate may be changing even more rapidly, particularly in winter. Compared to 1970, there are now 15 to 30 fewer days of snow on the ground in the Northeast, one study found. Some regional models also show an increase in average temperatures of 1.4 degrees over 102 years, but a spike of 2 to 4 degrees over the past 30 years.
“Climate has always been changing, so we can’t talk about climate change as something new,” said Art DeGaetano, director of the Northeast Climate Data Center at Cornell University. “Clearly, the temperatures we’re seeing today … are much warmer than we’ve seen for the last 1,000 years. Clearly, there’s warming almost everywhere.
“Climate change is upon us,” he said. “Climate is going to warm, so we do have to act and we do have to prepare.”
If there are any segments of the Adirondack economy that you can count on to take a nose dive in the next 20 years it’s winter sports. It doesn’t take a genius to understand “15 to 30 fewer days of snow on the ground” means that investing hundreds of millions in Adirondack skiing and snowmobiling industries is not a good idea. Despite the ignorant claim by Mike Halpert, head of forecast operations at the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center that there is “No cause for alarm. Enjoy it while you have it,” you might also forget large investments in ice fishing shanties and winter carnival concessions in case you needed to be told.
So why – oh please tell us why – are state and local governments spending so much money on these debacles?
The [Tupper Lake] developer is calling for the Franklin County Industrial Development Agency to come up with $50 million to $60 million for infrastructure costs. In essence, that would require the county taxpayers to guarantee the bonds for his private venture. That is a stupefying request. Even more mind-boggling is that there are those in the town and county who are ready to go along with the developer.
And add a dose of misguided Republican cronyism:
Gov. George Pataki, down to his final weeks in office, announced plans Friday for a $7 million expansion of the state-run Gore Mountain Ski Center that will enable the Johnsburg attraction to boast having the eighth-largest vertical drop in the eastern United States.
The state will spend an additional $3 million to complete the railroad line connection between [Republican] Saratoga Springs and [Republican] North Creek.
Skiers from Saratoga Springs, as well as the Albany and New York City areas, will be able to take the train to North Creek and leave their personal vehicles at home, Pataki said.
“You’re not going to have the traffic; you’re not going to have the pollution, and you’re not going to have the congestion. But you are going to have the economic growth,” he said during a press conference at the North Creek train station.
Bill “Snow Is All We Have” Thomas:
When completed, skiers from New York City and elsewhere could take a train up to North Creek, delivered within a half-mile of the ski bowl area, Thomas said. “It’s very important to tourism in Johnsburg,” Thomas said of the resort plans. “I see it as a big catalyst for Main Street businesses.”
“Gore Mountain is a tremendous asset for the state and for our region. All of us here today share the desire and realize the importance of making an already great skiing experience at Gore Mountain even better. That requires sizable investments by New York State.”
Ahhh… Betty… New York State doesn’t make “sizable investments,” the people of New York State do.
Since 1995, the state has poured $70 million into the Olympic Regional Development Authority. If we assume about 100,000 year-round residents, that’s $700 per person! And that doesn’t count state and local tax discounts, increased costs of services for local communities serving ski resorts, the higher costs of goods and services priced for the tourist market, county funds (like the Tupper Lake 50 or 60 million), and who knows what else. According to NCPR, “This year, Lake Placid’s sports and tourism venues received more than $40 million in state subsidies. That’s roughly $15 thousand for every man, woman and child living inside the village limits.”
Developers, local politicians, ill-informing media – go outside! See, that there is no snow, and not likely to be regular snow at anything near historic levels in our lifetimes. Stop pushing fantasies that hide your real motive – unlimited development of the last great wilderness area east of the Rockies.
And while we’re at it – we received an e-mail from Bill McKibben today announcing a “a day of demonstrations for April 14” – a great idea (info at Stepitup2007.org).
It’s going to be an unusual day. People will be rallying in many of America’s most iconic places: on the levees in New Orleans, on top of the melting ice sheets on Mt. Hood and in Glacier National Park, even underwater on the endangered coral reefs off Key West and Hawaii. But we need hundreds of rallies outside churches, and in city parks, and in rural fields. It’s not a huge task — assemble as many folks as possible, hoist a banner, take a picture. We’ll link pictures of the protests together electronically via the web—before the day is out, we’ll have a cascade of images to show both local and national media that Americans don’t consider this a secondary issue. That instead they want serious action now.
If you are planning to organize an event, please let us know – we’ll list events as they’re organized – wouldn’t events at local closed ski resorts be something?
UPDATE: Pam Mandrel, over at BlogHer, has linked to this post and included some other posts about global warming’s impact on the American ski industry. Thanks Pam for a great follow-up.
Lame duck Representative John Sweeney has gone over the edge, into debt, and apparently, on vacation from the rest of the duties Adirondack voters once hired him to carry out. Rumors are also circulating at the Times Union’s Capitol Confidential blog that his house is for sale and he’s moving to DC – meanwhile, he has apparently never called Gillibrand to concede the race or to assist in the transition.
In North Creek, the bar owned by Sweeney spokesperson Maureen Donovan (Casey’s North), is up for sale. Donovan is now a two-time loser. She was let go from the Warren County Economic Development Corporation last January but landed on her feet as Sweeney spokesperson. We wonder if they’re both headed to the K Street lobbyists, for their next bite of our pie.
All of this saddens the North Creek New Enterprise. The NCNE was once a great little paper that was published in North Creek – was that is, until it was taken over by Denton Publications entitled “Local leaders hope for the best with this summer and became a mouthpiece for the Sweeney crowd. There was a funny article after the election on November 18thGillibrand.” Here’s a great quote:
Bill Thomas, Chair of the Warren County Board of Supervisors, said the election showed that people felt they wanted a new direction.
“I was very, very satisfied with everything John Sweeney did for us,” he said. “He was a great Representative for me, the Town of Johnsburg and Warren County, and I hope this new person will do the same.”
You “hope this new person will do the same”? Bill – her name is the Right Honorable Representative from New York, Kirsten Gillibrand. I mean, come on, you can’t even say her name? And how proud are you of Sweeney now that you know he intends to blow off the rest of the job we hired him for because he’s a sore loser?
And speaking of North Creek and Bill Thomas. The Press Republican (now also under new owners) is reporting that Thomas (who has also served as Johnsburg Town Supervisor for-ever) will be appointed to the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) in a flurry of last minute Republican appointments by George Pataki. Thomas has been a major proponent of the Gore Mountain – North Creek Ski Bowl connection – he says he’ll recuse himself.
The Ski Bowl Village at Gore Mountain is planning upscale trailside housing, an equestrian facility, retail shops and restaurants, a major hotel, two smaller inns, a spa, a private lodge, and a 9-hole golf course, all on 430 acres adjacent to the town’s Historic Ski Bowl Park, the original site of skiing in North Creek (and one of the first in the nation). The proposal has drawn tremendous opposition from locals who resent the Johnsburg Town board’s (led by Bill Thomas) turning over part of Ski Bowl Park to sweeten the developer’s deal (they’re from Connecticut).
The Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) – the state authority that operates Gore Mountain – has recently come under fire from some local business people (including Bill Donovan, Maureen Donovan’s husband) who objected to a 20-year contract that gave ORDA the rights to the Ski Bowl Park Base Lodge’s concessions, and use of a new lodge in winter – the Donovans apparently think that money from the sale of soda pop at the Ski Bowl should have went to them.
Which brings us to the Residents’ Committee to Protect the Adirondacks (RCPA), which has filed suit opposing the way the whole Gore-Ski Bowl-Private Development plan is being carried out (much to the dismay, no doubt, of local real estate guy and Johnsburg Planning Board member, Mark Bergman). Peter Bauer, Executive Director of the organization since 1994, to us some time ago that the plan to connect Little Gore and Big Gore was considered separately from the rest of the Ski Bowl development plans rather than as one interconnecting large-scale development as the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) requires.
And that brings us back to the newly Republican North Creek News Enterprise. This week they are reporting (in screaming HUGE HEADLINES) that “local officials wary of RCPA recommendations” – turns out that Peter Bauer has been named to Eliot Spitzer’s transition team and that apparently upsets the powers that be at the paper and their friend – you guessed it – Bill Thomas.
Of course we don’t take much stock in what the NCNE has to say anymore – back on November they were telling us that Hudson Headwaters Health Network guru John Rugge was “looking a little nervously at the future” – but he’s just been named to Spitzer’s transition team as well.
Keep up the (ahem) good work News Enterprise.
Oh yeah… the reward for the NCNE’s support for Bill Thomas and his crew? The paper gets to be named the official paper for legal notices, something Thomas and the Johnsburg board had refused to do when Denton first took over.
UPDATE 12/17/06: One local resident reports that MARK Bergman (thanks for the first name correction) is not the only real estate agent on the Johnsburg Planning Board. Our tipster also reports that Bill Donovan is on the Planning Board and is using the Front Street (Gore Mountain Village) project as a selling point for Casey’s North. Tipster also reports that the Donovan’s home in Wevertown is also up for sale “for $350,000… about twice what they paid for it a couple of years ago.” And…
I have known Bill Thomas for 20 years and I have a great deal of hope (okay, some hope…) that he will be relatively fair as an APA Commissioner. Especially as he is not running for re-election next year. He does much better when personal political considerations are not on the table… And, I can assure you that Bill Thomas is not at all displeased with Sweeneys departure. He immediately reached out to Gillibrand and I think they will have a good working relationship.
Regarding the NCNE [the North Creek News Enterprise]… they ran no less than 6 pro-Sweeney stories in the months before the election. When Kirsten came to town in September, they ran the story 3 weeks later in the form of a picture caption buried in the middle of the “paper”.
I also have a source deep within the republican party who tells me that Sweeney is in despair because he has no real prospects for his future. K Street likely doesn’t want him. He’s damaged goods with no where to go. Boo freakin‘ hoo!
Thanks tipster… and thanks for reading the Almanack.
In North Creek the Gore Mountain – Little Gore Ski Bowl connection is moving forward and there are big plans afoot for the ski area in Tupper Lake as well.
Also in Sunday’s Adirondack news: The APA is cracking down on a rich guy in the Town of Webb who apparently doesn’t think he has to follow the same rules as the rest of us – and the search for the Adirondack League Club arsonist continues.
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