Lookout Mountain, Whiteface’s third peak, is set for its Grand Opening on Thursday, January 8, at 1 PM. [UPDATE: Due to the weather conditions at Whiteface this will take place 11 AM, Friday, January 9]. The new peak will include three new trails beginning with The Wilmington Trail. This run is a 2.5-mile long intermediate cruiser overlooking the Wilmington Wild Forest. Lookout Mountain’s other two trails are expert runs called Lookout Below and Hoyt’s High. Lookout Below is about 1/5 of a mile long. Hoyt’s High was named in honor of Whiteface veteran ski patroller Jim Hoyt, Sr. He has been employed at Whiteface for over 50 years. This trail has a long and consistent expert pitch over its 4,182-feet length. Both runs will be opened later this winter. The official ribbon cutting ceremony at 1 PM will include ORDA Chairman Joe Martens, ORDA Board Members Ed Weibrecht and Serge Lussi as well as Wilmington Town Supervisor Randy Preston. Following the on-mountain grand opening activities, a special dedication to the Whiteface Region Visitors Bureau members will be made at 2 PM in the Lookout Café, located within the main base lodge. Complimentary hot chocolate will be served.
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Champion Johnny Benson and NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Champion Jeg Coughlin, Jr. have signed on to compete in the 4th Annual Whelen Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge, slated for January 2-4, 2009 at the Olympic Sports Complex.
Benson, who competed in his first Bodine Bobsled Challenge last year, won his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Championship this year. Last year, the driver finished third in the final standings, and was runner-up to fellow Bodine bobsled competitor Todd Bodine in 2006. Benson is making his second appearance in the Challenge and is hoping to improve his bobsledding results. Coughlin is a four-time NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Champion, and is currently the two-time defending champion (2000, 2002, 2007, and 2008). Coughlin won the bronze medal as a bobsledding rookie in his first race and is looking to dethrone fellow NHRA competitor Morgan Lucas as the top bobsled driver on the dragster circuit.
The Bodine Bobsled Challenge features NASCAR and NHRA drivers piloting specially-made bobsleds down Lake Placid’s infamous track in fun races geared to raise money for the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project. In Race 1, all the drivers will be competing against the clock as they take two runs down the track. Race 2 features head-to-head racing between the NASCAR and NHRA drivers, with the winner from each division squaring off in the final heat for bragging rights.
The NASCAR field will be lead by five-time Bodine Bobsled Champion Boris Said. Said has dominated the bobsledding field, losing only the first-ever Bodine Bobsled race to Kevin Lepage. Said has commented in the past that maybe “bobsledding is in my genes” as his father Bob Said was an Olympic bobsled competitor.
Joining Said is NASCAR Sprint Cup rookie driving sensation Joey Logano as well as the 2008 NASCAR Whelen racing series champions Philip Morris, Brian Loftin and Ted Christopher. “Sliced Bread” Logano competed last year in the Bodine Bobsled Challenge, finishing eighth. Morris, a 2007 Bodine Bobsled Challenge participant, is returning again this year after winning the 2008 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Championship. Loftin clinched the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour by a mere 30 points for his first career NASCAR championship while Christopher won the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Championship to claim his place in the bobsledding field.
Rounding out the drivers is Todd Bodine, the 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Champion and brother of the Bodine Challenge founder Geoff Bodine, Daytona Rolex pole winner Eric Curran and19-year-old sprint car driver Tom Tolbert out of Ohio. Bodine has participated in every Bodine Bobsled Challenge and has started a similar support program for the U.S. Skeleton Federation. Curran, a road course racing ace, has competed in the NASCAR Camping World Series, American Le Mans, Grand Am Rolex, Koni Challenge and World Challenge GT series. He and Tolbert will be part of this year’s bobsled rookie class.
Coughlin will be joined by NHRA Top Fuel drivers Morgan Lucas, JR Todd, and Bob Vandergriff. This will be the third event for Lucas and Todd, with Lucas giving Said a run for his money in last year’s NASCAR versus NHRA showdown before losing to Said in the final round. Lucas has bought his own sled for this competition and has Said in his sights. Lucas has also won two silvers medals during this event. Todd is looking to improve upon his Top 10 finishes. Vandergriff placed ninth in his first race last year, and then lost to Lucas in the NHRA final round.
The Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc., was started in 1992 by NASCAR driver Geoff Bodine, and has built American-made bobsleds for United States athletes competing in the World Cup, World Championships and Olympic Winter Games. Monies raised from the Bodine Bobsled Challenge go directly to this project.
SPEED channel will again televise four hours of the Whelen Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge, on Jan. 18 at noon and Jan. 25 at 2 pm. MRN Radio has signed on to provide live coverage of the Bodine Bobsled Challenge all three days.
The Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project concept paid dividends with gold, silver and bronze medals in the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Game, the first time that the USA Bobsled Team won Olympic medals since 1956, and scored again with silver in Torino. New sled designs are being created by Bodine and sled builder Bob Cuneo of Chassis Dynamics in Connecticut. It will be tested during national and international competitions leading up to the next Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver in 2010.
Other sponsors of the Whelen Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge include Columbia Sportswear Company, MAC Tools, Racing Electronics, PPG, Lucas Oil, JEGS Automotive, Summitt Building Solutions, EXA and the National Guard.
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.
The U.S. Junior Figure Skating Championships will take place Dec. 8-13 at the historic Lake Placid Olympic Arena in Lake Placid, N.Y. More than 300 figure skaters from across the country are expected to compete at the four-day event, which is being hosted for the second time since 2003 by the Skating Club of Lake Placid and the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA). Qualifying rounds begin Wednesday, Dec. 10 at the Herb Brooks Arena with the intermediate men’s event. The intermediate ladies short program will kick off the championship events Friday, Dec. 12 at the Herb Brooks Arena. Competition concludes Saturday, Dec. 13 with the intermediate men’s competition in the Herb Brooks Arena and the juvenile boys’ competition at the Jack Shea Arena.
The annual event crowns the U.S. champion in ladies, men’s, pairs and ice dancing in the first two levels of the U.S. Figure Skating competitive structure: juvenile and intermediate. The remaining three levels – novice, junior and senior – will compete Jan. 18-25, 2009, at the 2009 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Cleveland, Ohio.
Skaters qualified for the U.S. Junior Championships by finishing in the top four at one of nine regional championships held throughout the country this fall. Past champions of the event include two-time World bronze medalist and two-time U.S. champion Evan Lysacek and 2008 U.S. silver medalist ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White.
Lake Placid and ORDA have also hosted the U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships (five times), the annual Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships and the first event in the 2007 ISU Junior Prix of Figure Skating Series.
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 13th Annual Adirondack International Mountainfest is scheduled for January 16-18, 2008 in Keene Valley. Local guides Chuck Boyd, Emilie Drinkwater, Jeremy Haas, Carl Heilman, Matt Horner, Don Mellor, Jim Pitarresi and Jesse Williams will be returning to offer clinics on snowshoeing, mountaineering, avalanche awareness and ice climbing (pre-register soon). Guest athletes include Conrad Anker (a key member of the search team which located the remains of George Mallory on Mount Everest), LP Ménard (who with fellow Quebecer Max Turgeon climbed a new route up Denali’s 8,000 foot South Face in just 58 hours in 2006), Janet Bergman (who has climbed in Peru, Argentina, Canada, China, Nepal, South Africa and around the US) and longtime climber and guide Jim Shimberg (who has guided throughout North America and the world, including trips to Iceland, Peru, Bulgaria, The Czech Republic, China, Scotland, Thailand and Canada. Jim has climbed in Alaska since 1987, with 7 expeditions to Denali, Mt Hunter, Mt Huntington, and more). According to the folks at the Mountaineer, who hosts the event:
Telluride Mountainfilm, one of the premier film festivals in the country, opens the Mountainfest on Friday night with a custom compilation of the best films from Mountainfilm’s 9-year history on tour, with a focus on ice climbing and mountaineering videos. This will be preceded by a short slide show by Olaf Sööt and Don Mellor about Alpine Americas, their new book of fantastic photographs and essays about “an odyssey along the crest of two continents.” Both authors will be available to sign books offered for sale before and after the Mountainfilm on Tour presentation. Friday evening’s festivities begin at 8pm at Keene Central School and entry is $12 at the door.
Jennifer Lowe-Anker and Conrad Anker will hold a special presentation about the life of the late Alex Lowe on Saturday evening at Keene Central School. Jenni’s new book Forget Me Not tells a complex and candid story of how three people’s lives became intertwined to a degree that none could have foreseen; Jenni and Conrad will tell the story through a slideshow and readings. Forget Me Not will be available for purchase before and after the presentation, and Jenni and Conrad will be signing books afterward. The evening’s presentation will be preceded by raffles and tomfoolery as well as a short award-winning film by Sam Lowe on the Antarctic. The show begins at 7:30pm at Keene Central School and entry is $10 at the door.
On Sunday evening Janet Bergman will present a slideshow of her often-humorous efforts to satiate the climbing obsession. Janet is a New Hampshire climber and world-class Mountain Hardwear athlete who has climbed in Argentina, India, Nepal, Peru and throughout New England. This show begins at 7:30pm and will be held at the KVFD fire hall on Market Street, just down the street from Keene Central School in Keene Valley. Entry is $10 at the door.
For more information visit the Mountainfest 2009 web page.
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