Monday, August 3, 2009

Opinion: ORDA Should Stop Giving Gore Mountain Short Shrift

Without announcement Gore Mountain has quietly shuttered their mountain biking facilities and reduced their already paltry off-season schedule – it’s a further sign to some in the North Creek area that the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) has been giving the Gore Mountain ski resort short shrift. For much of the last decade the Gore Mountain schedule has changed frequently and been sporadic. Plans to cut back summer operations in 2002 prompted a vigorous lobbying effort by North Creek businesses.

“Our off season schedule has always been weekends in the fall,” Gore Mountain General Manager Mike Pratt told me by e-mail, “We have often tried to extend season into the summer, when we think there is an opportunity.” Last year Gore operated weekends in August, and in September through Columbus Day, but with only scenic rides and a bar-b-que according to Pratt, who is responsible for the Gore Mountain schedule. This year’s schedule will be shortened by ten days (Labor Day through Columbus Day) but will also include lift service for mountain biking. “This year’s schedule is our traditional schedule,” Pratt told me, “Although we have tried various schedules to extend our off-season operation, we have consistently reduced the season back to our traditional times of operation, the fall foliage season.”

Pratt says that Whiteface’s Veterans Memorial Highway drives business at Whiteface. “At Gore Mountain, we only have a scenic ride and a bbq. We are making many improvements, are on a tremendous growth curve, are thankful for our gondola, but are not a summer destination.”

Pratt called the notion that Gore Mountain was being shorted by ORDA “the perception… not the reality.” He noted that Gore Mountain is busy with construction projects now including “modernizing the base lodge, building a new lodge at the Ski Bowl, installing snow making pipe on the Sagamore Trail, and working on building trails and installing a triple chair that will complete the interconnect project between Gore and the Ski Bowl.” “I am certain the venues around Lake Placid wish that they were able to invest as much in their facilities as we are,” Pratt says “This is a very exciting time at Gore.”

It might be an exciting time at Gore, but this summer’s rains have surely meant diminished business at North Creek – Gore Mountain could have offered a boost to the sluggish tourist economy. Gore Mountain, like Whiteface, needs to offer summer activities, events, and programs to better utilize the mountain – owned by all New York taxpayers – to fire another cylinder of North Creek’s regional economic engine.

What’s more, Gore needs to have an equal footing with Whiteface in promotions. Gore is almost never mentioned in ORDA press releases, while Whiteface is continuously promoted at the end of each ORDA release with the words: “For more information on ORDA venues and events and for web cams from five locations, please log on to www.whitefacelakeplacid.com.” Those going to the site can choose between two destinations – Lake Placid (last time I checked, not run by ORDA) and Whiteface.

Gore? Nowhere to be found.

There are more then 40 events on the ORDA summer schedule, but Gore is not mentioned until “Mountain Day,” September 12th and the link to that event is bad. Gore has plans for just one additional weekend worth of events until the ski season begins. By way of contrast, Whiteface has Gondola rides, mountain biking, a new disc golf course, guided nature tours, and a weekend-long Octoberfest.

By anyone’s standard, ORDA is falling down on its obligation – and its legislative mandate to manage Gore Mountain. All while claiming, as it did in its 2008-2009 Annual Report, that “during the non-winter months, Gore offers mountain biking, hiking and other summer activities.”

That’s not true, but the management of ORDA and Gore Mountain need to work to make it so – not next year, not next month, but now.

 

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John Warren

John Warren has been exploring the woods and waters of the Adirondacks for almost 50 years. After a career as a print journalist and documentary television producer he founded Adirondack Almanack in 2005 and co-founded the geolocation services company Adirondack Atlas in 2015.

John remains active in traditional media. His Adirondack Outdoors Conditions Report can be heard Friday mornings across the region on the stations of North Country Public Radio and on 93.3 / 102.1 The Mix. Since 2008, John has been a media specialist on the staff of the New York State Writers Institute.

John is also a professional researcher and historian with a M.A. in Public History. He edits The New York History Blog and is the author of two books of regional history. As a Grant Consultant for the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, he has reviewed hundreds of historic roadside marker grant applications from around New York State for historical accuracy.




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