A public transportation shuttle is being established in North Creek with hopes of more closely linking Gore Mountain with the village of North Creek. The shuttle will also make a stop at the historic North Creek Ski Bowl allowing skiers and boarders to take a single trail down and shuttle back up. Additional trails are expected to be open next winter.
Locally owned Brant Lake Taxi & Transport Service will operate the shuttle, which is being paid for by hotel occupancy tax receipts and local businesses. The free shuttle will run just 39 days during the ski season beginning December 19th, including weekends and holiday weeks, from 8 am to 4:30 pm, with a break for the driver’s lunchtime. Gore Mountain spokesperson Emily Stanton told the Glens Falls Post-Star that the shuttle will provide access to North Creek village for Gore visitors who arrive at the mountain by chartered bus.
Additionally, a controversial “Gold Parking” program has been getting a lot of discussion on the lifts and in the lodges. About 200 spaces have been set aside for paid parking. The $10 fee has led to quite a debate over at skiadk.com and the Gore Facebook page.
Our regular Adirondack Music Scene contributor Shamim Allen is over in Europe for the next six weeks, so North Creek’s Nate Pelton has graciously accepted the role of guest contributor while Shamim’s gone. I’ve been trying to get Nate to contribute for some time – he knows the music scene in the southern and eastern Adirondacks well, and would be an outstanding addition to our music coverage here at the Almanack, which tends to focus on the northern and western parts of the region. It’s my hope, this short foray into the world of the Almanack will become a permanent feature, but we’ll have to wait and see. Like most of us around these parts, Nate has a lot of irons in the fire. After more than ten years as a raft guide and manager at Hudson River Rafting Company, Nate and his wife established the North Creek Rafting Company in 2006. During the “other” North Creek season, Nate is a trail groomer at Gore Mountain and runs the North Creek Tuning Shop. Nate also does web design and development as Grateful Design, and is the man behind ADK Music Event Production. Nate has been handling the arrangements for North Creek’s Music by the River concert series.
Nate has dabbled in a variety of music styles. He says the first concert he can remember attending was Michael Jackson’s 1988 Bad tour with parents and sister. Nate has since seen such legendary bands as The Who, The Rolling Stones, Supertramp, Stevie Wonder, and Elton John. He’s seen about 40 Grateful Dead shows in the early 1990s, and also wouldn’t miss a chance to see South Catherine Street Jug Band, Donna the Buffalo, or Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad.
Downhill skiing and riding in the Adirondacks could begin as early as November 27 at both Whiteface and Gore mountains, if freezing conditions allow for making snow this month. But the biggest news in snow sports this winter is the return of two long dormant ski areas (reported here at the Almanack last month), Hickory Ski Center and Big Tupper. Hickory Ski Center, a 1,200-foot resort for expert skiers outside Warrensburg, will reopen this winter for the first time in four years. The legendary Adirondack slope has only a dozen trails, mostly black diamond, and a T-bar and two Poma lifts (famous for breaking down regularly). But the sixty-year-old resort is beloved by hundreds of hard-core skiers. Last year, William Van Pelt, a Saratoga native who now lives in Houston, decided to invest in the property. He’s added some snowmaking and plans to add grooming. Visitors can expect the usual old-fashioned atmosphere of a tiny resort, combined with a few nods to the 21st Century – such as WiFi in the homey base lodge, and a $45 lift ticket.
Meanwhile, in Tupper Lake efforts are under way to open the long-dormant Big Tupper Ski Area. The resort, with about 30 trails and more than a thousand feet of vertical, closed around a decade ago. More recently, developers included the resort in the massive Adirondack Club and Resort, a plan for 600 high-end vacation homes and a hotel. But with the controversial project held up in the permitting process, some locals under the name ARISE, or Area Residents Intent on Saving their Economy, pushed to open at least part of the ski resort on their own this year. According to the web site, lift tickets will be a mind-blowing $15, although that’s subject to change. Plans are to open the resort Dec. 26 on Friday-Sunday as natural snow permits.
Further to the south, McCauley Mountain in Old Forge plans to open on December 12th and another troubled ski resort, Oak Mountain in Speculator, will open the day after Christmas (though tubing begins a month earlier). Oak Mountain, run by the Germain family for five decades, was taken over by the village three years ago. Now owned by the local Industrial Development Agency, the resort is staffed mostly by volunteers. The IDA still hopes to sell it to a private operator – asking price two years ago was $2.4 million. It’s a terrible market now, admits Mayor Neil McGovern. “But a tremendous value.”
Adirondack Ski Resort Details:
Gore Mountain, North Creek Phone: 518-251-2411 Cost for adult: $71 weekend/$64 weekday Vertical drop: 2,300 feet Trails: 82
Best deal: Coke Wednesdays ($38 lift ticket with a can).
What’s new: Gore’s Burnt Ridge opened last year to mixed reviews (their chairlift can be awfully windy and the base lodge access trail is rather flat and tough for snowboarders) — but new terrain is always welcome. This year, the mountain has expanded its Cirque Glade trail and will be running a shuttle bus from the North Creek Ski Bowl to the resort (which means adventurous skiers can ski from the Gore summit all the way down to the bowl, and then catch a ride back). It’s a prequel to an interconnect between the two areas that should be open next winter, and which will vastly increase Gore’s vertical drop.
Best deal: Same as Gore, plus $35 Sundays on Dec. 13, Jan. 10, Feb. 7, March 14 and April 4.
What’s new: Lookout Mountain, open for the second year this winter, will have a new glades area. Look for the National Alpine Championships, here for the first time sine 2003, from March 20 to 23, with men’s and women’s slalom, giant slalom and super G competition.
Skiers can get a preview of improvements at Hickory Ski Center in Warrensburg at an open house November 8. Click on the graphic for details. Also, Whiteface Mountain, in Wilmington, launched a beautiful new Web site last week. Opening day there and at Gore Mountain, at North Creek, is tentatively set for Friday, November 27. The resurrected Big Tupper, in Tupper Lake, is getting its permits and has posted season rates at its Web site. Opening day is expected December 26. McCauley Mountain, in Old Forge, has also posted season rates. Royal Mountain, in Caroga Lake, has just completed three years of snowmaking and grooming upgrades and will have an open house Sunday, November 1. Mt. Pisgah in Saranac Lake is in the midst of a capital campaign to replace its T-bar.
Ever since early July, folks in and around North Creek have been wondering what’s going on with their local paper. The News Enterprise, which has been publishing since 1924, but in recent years has been taken over by local weekly-media moguls Denton Publications, seems to have dropped the ball a bit. Take the headline for July 18th – “Minerva Day parade set to go.” OK, except that Minerva Day happened July 5th – two weeks earlier. There have also been frequent complaints from North Creek locals about the Enterprise’s failure to cover upcoming events, including last week’s Race The Train. Serious coverage of issues like the Gore Interconnect, the summer closing of Gore Mountain, the large development planned for Little Gore, and the proposed Adirondack Wind project, have all but disappeared from the paper’s pages.
This week, Denton’s Managing Editor John Gereau finally announced that the paper’s problem has been the loss of it’s only recently appointed editor, Jon Alexander, who took over the position of Assistant News Director at Saranac Lake’s WNBZ.
Alexander’s replacement? Twenty-two-year-old Lindsay Yandon, fresh from college and a job at Shoreline Restaurant in Lake George. Yandon, who grew up in Newcomb but now lives in Lake George, is expected to “play a crucial role in building the product while helping deliver the community news of importance” according to Gereau.
That’s a tall order for someone with almost no experience covering the Adirondack region. Someone who lives 20 minutes away.
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.
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