Despite some setbacks in January, the winter 2010-2011 season appears to be a successful one for the New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) and its venues. The skiing and riding season at Whiteface and Gore officially came to a close on Sunday, April 17. As many as 480,080 guests visited the 1932 and 1980 Olympic venues in the Village of Lake Placid, Town of North Elba, the Town of Wilmington and North Creek, according to an ORDA press release. Last season there were 454,920 visits to the venues. These numbers do not take into account CanAm Hockey, Canadian Hockey Enterprise and several group tours.
“This was a very strong winter for the Authority,” said ORDA president/CEO Ted Blazer. “I believe that there were a few factors that contributed to the season. There’s no overlooking this winter’s snow, we had outstanding conditions all winter long. Snow also fell across the entire east coast, which in turn brought even more visitors to the region from major metropolitan markets. Lastly, the public was also quite aware of the region’s recognition as the top ski resort in the eastern United States.”
In October, Whiteface was chosen as the number-one ski resort in the eastern United States by readers of both SKI Magazine and SnowEast Magazine. In March, About.Com voters also tabbed the Olympic mountain as the top ski resort in the eastern United States and in December, the web site also recognized Whiteface as one of the nation’s top family ski destinations, one of only three eastern resorts to make the list.
Buoyed by an on-time start to the skiing and riding season, which began on Nov. 26, and more than 247-inches of natural snowfall, Whiteface counted 209,214 skier days, an increase of 10.82% compared to last season. Revenue also increased at the mountain by 16.31%.
Gore also had more skier days this winter than last winter as 189,395 skiers and riders took to the North Creek resort slopes. Those skiers and riders enjoyed 134 days on the mountain’s 96 trails and 150-inches of natural snowfall.
In January, Gore celebrated the grand opening of the Hudson Chair and the completion of its interconnect with the historic North Creek Ski Bowl. State Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury), Blazer and Town of Johnsburg Supervisor Sterling Goodspeed attended the ribbon cutting ceremony and hundreds of skiers and riders rode the new chair immediately following the opening ceremony.
The Mt. Van Hoevenberg cross country ski center drew 11,230 recreational skiers to its 50km of trails this winter. That’s an increase of 7.92% when compared to last winter.
The combined bobsled/luge/skeleton track at Mt. Van Hoevenberg also remained quite busy. More than 13,000 people enjoyed the half-mile long public bobsled ride.
The track also entertained several international bobsled and skeleton races and also served as a training ground for U.S. and international bobsled, luge and skeleton athletes. The track’s ticket office counted 7,545 people who came out to visit or see the action on the one-mile long, 20-curve course.
Both the Olympic jumping complex and the Olympic speed skating oval remained popular attractions. The ski jumps drew 19,025 guests, while 16,433 people skated around the 1932 and 1980 Olympic oval. The 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Museum counted 9,019 visitors this winter.
ORDA is currently preparing its Olympic venues for the upcoming summer and fall seasons. Several of the venues are scheduled to open for the season in June. For more information about all of the summer and fall activities, log on to www.whitefacelakeplacid.com.