But just ten minutes away, it’s another world: barns, fields. And tucked behind it all: Beartown Ski Area. It is 99 acres in all, but the downhill skiing part is just a small fraction of that. There are two little slopes, a couple of side trails, and a trick park for snowboarders. » Continue Reading.
Posts Tagged ‘snowboarding’
It’s a Saturday afternoon and a really rare bluebird day in the Adirondacks, so mild that I have my gloves off. I’m riding up the T-bar lift on Mt. Pisgah, one of the most beloved ski mountains in the North Country. There’s a smattering of kids and grown-ups on the slopes. This is a place where my own son grew up learning to ski and we’ve spent many happy hours here, so it’s kind of a great spot.
Up at the top, I find myself looking over a great little tangle of trails. Pisgah’s not a huge mountain, but there’s a surprising amount of terrain – fun little choices, small crowds, and perfect snow. After pulling on my gloves, I launch. » Continue Reading.
They stay for the fluffy, powdery snow. Some people call Snow Ridge the best kept secret in the east. » Continue Reading.
If you’re a skier below a certain age, you may not recognize the sound of an old T-bar lift. Even if you’ve used one before, until you get the hang of it, it’s easy to fall right on your butt. That’s what almost happened my first time in Newcomb. I hadn’t been on a T-bar since high school.
But the T-bar’s the only way to the top here at the Goodnow Ski Area. It’s about 200 vertical feet. There’s a wide main run, and a side woodsy run. And from the top, a beautiful pay-off – a view of the snowy High Peaks from the south. » Continue Reading.
Whiteface and Gore mountain ski areas will be open Sunday, November 16th, the second year in a row the Whiteface has opened before their planned start date. Lift tickets will be discounted and terrain will be limited. The first lift will leave at 8:30 am. After this weekend, both resorts will close Sunday, at 4 pm, and re-open Saturday, November 22. Full-time operations are slated to begin on Friday, November 28. (Photo from the Whiteface Cam, Courtesy ORDA).
Whiteface Mountain enthusiasts James Hunter, Jeff Tompkins, Brian Winfield and Jack Yanchitis each helped to name the glade when the mountain held a Facebook trail naming contest last August. The 4.7 acre and 1,500 foot long expert glade, named for former Whiteface Mountain general manager and 1968 Olympic ski jumper Jay Rand Jr., is located half-way down Hoyt’s High and connects skiers and riders to both the Summit Chair lift and Lookout Mountain chair lift. » Continue Reading.
Downhill skiing around the Tri-Lakes of Lake Placid, Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake without a season pass can put a dent in a parent’s pocketbook. So here are a few tips and discounts available if you plan on skiing Whiteface, Titus and Big Tupper.
Though Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington has been making snow since November, there is finally some fresh power on the trails. My family was there this past weekend working the Empire State Games and was thankful for each run that was squeezed in between races. » Continue Reading.
This winter the state-owned Whiteface ski area will debut a new (and as yet un-named) glade on Lookout Mountain. The 1,500 foot long expert glade will be cut half-way down Hoyt’s High and will also connect the Summit Chair lift. The development of the new glade is expected to begin this week. Once completed, the glade will add an additional 4.7 acres to the mountain’s already 283 acres of skiable terrain and 3,430 of vertical, the most vertical east of the Rockies.
This is the first new trail added to Whiteface Mountain since the opening of Lookout Mountain in 2008. Other mountain improvements include the addition of 35 low energy snow guns that will provide efficient snow coverage on Easy Street, Broadway and Excelsior. The mountain has also purchased an energy efficient boom fan snow gun that will be used to cover the mountain’s Lower Valley trail. » Continue Reading.
What follows is a guest essay by Kirsten L. Goranowski, a 2012 graduate of Paul Smith’s College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies. This is part of our series of essays by young people from Paul Smith’s College.
It was a rainy wait for the Face Lift chairlift at the base of Whiteface Mountain on March 9th. I overheard a woman complain to her husband about the unpleasant weather. There was mention of an alternative plan for the day. I myself contemplated an alternative, yet I had bought a season pass and still had to get my money’s worth. Winter of 2010-2011 was the first time I picked up the sport of snowboarding, and I’m now questioning whether any of it was a worthwhile investment. » Continue Reading.
January is National Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month, dedicated to learning a new snow sport. New York has more ski and snowboard areas than any other state and hundreds of alpine and Nordic ski resorts in 22 states will be offering free and discounted lessons, rentals and lift tickets for new skiers and riders.
The goal is to get American families on the slopes and enjoy a healthy winter lifestyle. Organizers are hoping that more than 150,000 children and adults will take ski and snowboard lessons from a professional instructor. Last January an estimated 75,000 children and adults participated in the program.
During the National Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month, Whiteface will be offering a mid-week special for just $59, including lessons, rentals and a lower-mountain lift ticket. Lessons begin at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and are available for skiers and riders 13 and older.
More information about the January Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month can be found online.
It’s no secret that it’s been a difficult start to the ski season. Besides a notable lack of snowfall, the cold temperatures that ski areas need for snowmaking operations have so far been hard to come by.
I started my ski season on Thanksgiving weekend, when both Gore and Whiteface opened for the 2011-2012 season, and I’ve now got several days at both mountains under my belt. Although trail choices have been limited (both mountains are about 20% open as of this writing), conditions have been surprisingly good, thanks to efficient snowmaking plants and modern grooming equipment. You can check out my most recent visits to Gore and Whiteface here and here. » Continue Reading.
Sometime in early January, the first participants in Double H Ranch’s Adaptive Winter Sports Program will begin arriving at Double H’s facility in Lake Luzerne. The program offers children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses the opportunity to participate in downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. Around 30 children per day typically participate in the program, which runs every winter weekend from January through March. Most children participate for 3 or 4 days over the course of the winter, and five Family Sleepover Weekends allow the entire family to participate in winter sports together.
The program takes place on Double H’s ski slopes, which are equipped with a double chairlift and snowmaking. Like all programs at Double H, the Adaptive Winter Sports Program is offered completely free of charge to participants, and thousands of children and their families have been served since the program’s inception in 1998. » Continue Reading.
The first few snowflakes of the year have already dusted the highest peaks of the Adirondacks, and skiers and riders are looking forward to opening day. Here’s a preview of what’s in store for this winter at downhill ski centers in the Adirondack region.
At Gore Mountain, 130 new high-efficiency tower guns will provide a major improvement in the mountain’s snowmaking capabilities. The new guns will be installed on trails that constitute some of the mountain’s most popular intermediate terrain including Sunway, Wild Air, Sleighride and Quicksilver. The new guns will also be installed on Sagamore, the expert trail which forms the core of Gore’s Burnt Ridge terrain pod that opened in 2008. Emily Stanton, Gore’s marketing manager explained the significance of the new guns: “It’s huge. Not only will the new guns allow us to better utilize our pumping capacity to make more snow, they will allow us to devote snowmaking resources to other parts of the mountain more quickly. It’s the biggest upgrade to our snowmaking plant since we tapped the Hudson in 1996.”
There will be expanded glade terrain at Gore this winter as well, with two new black diamond glades at the Ski Bowl and an extension of the intermediate Chatterbox glade. The entire Ski Bowl terrain pod and the Chatterbox glade were themselves new last year. The new glades at the Ski Bowl will provide a by-pass to the headwall section of 46er, the expert trail that follows the line of the Hudson Chair. That headwall section of 46er was unskiable last year due to unfinished trail grading and a lack of snowmaking, and unfortunately it will likely remain unskiable this year. Stanton explained “with all the other work that’s been going on, we just weren’t able to get to 46er this year.”
Gore’s base lodge will see a complete renovation of the Tannery Pub, a new outdoor grille, and a new lower level patio. The grooming fleet has also been upgraded with the purchase of a new groomer at the end of last season.
And last, Stanton mentioned excitement over the Saratoga North Creek Railroad’s ski trains this winter. “The train isn’t just transportation, it’s an experience. They’ve really done a first class job. Ski packages for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, late December through late March, are already set up on the railroad’s website. It’s is a wonderful marketing opportunity for us, and a year-round asset for North Creek too.”
At Whiteface, General Manager Bruce McCulley and ORDA Public Relations Coordinator Jon Lundin gave an overview of what they’ve been working on during the summer months. In the lodge, the rental shop and retail store will be extensively re-modeled, as will the kitchen for the J. Lohr café. The rental shop will also be outfitted with new “rockered” Rossignol skis. Rockered skis are a recent ski design trend that allows for easier turn initiation, a plus for beginners.
A new winchcat groomer has been added to the fleet, terrain in the Sugar Valley Glades has been expanded, and four new high-efficiency automated fan guns have been added to the snowmaking plant. The fan guns are considered state-of-the-art in terms of their automation, consistency, and ability to make snow in marginal conditions over a large area.
Last year, Whiteface was plagued by a number of lift malfunctions, and the Little Whiteface double chair was taken off-line in late February for the remainder of the season. That lift has been extensively renovated this summer, including new towers from mid-station up. McCulley elaborated: “That lift had an awful lot of hours on it. Some of the towers were as old as 1958, others went back to the 70s. We’ve gone through the entire mechanism, overhauling or replacing just about every component. Functionally it’s the same lift, but the mechanism is essentially new.” The Little Whiteface double serves a key role as an alternate for when the gondola is on wind-hold, and as an option for skiers who wish to access upper mountain terrain without returning all the way to base to ride the gondola.
Whiteface had one of its most successful seasons ever last year, as measured by skier visits and revenue. “It was a perfect storm” said ORDA’s Lundin. “We had a favorable Canadian exchange rate, and all it did from Christmas until spring was snow.” Marketing efforts helped as well, with programs like the Whiteface Road Warriors and recognition as the East’s #1 ski resort (Ski Magazine, December 2010). Lundin is clearly excited for this winter: “We’re looking to ride the wave of last year’s snow and follow up with another blow-out year.”
Not every skier is looking for the big mountain experience – and price tag – offered by Gore and Whiteface. Mount Pisgah in Saranac Lake and McCauley Mountain in Old Forge are excellent small-to-medium sized alternatives. At Mount Pisgah, the ski area’s 1940s-era T-bar is being replaced with a new T-bar lift. The lift replacement is expected to be completed by November, along with new lighting for night skiing. Big Tupper is another alternative for skiers, and the area is expected to be run again this winter by community volunteers. Surprisingly, there is even free skiing to be found at small, municipally operated hills like the Indian Lake ski slope and Dynamite Hill in Chestertown. The importance of these small- and medium-sized “feeder” areas can not be underestimated: besides providing an opportunity for beginning skiers to learn the sport, these areas also provide a positive regional economic impact.
Hickory Ski Center, in the southern Adirondacks, was recently brought back to life after having been shuttered from 2005 to 2009. Since the area re-opened in January, 2010, the lodge has been renovated, new grooming equipment and an electronic ticketing system have been purchased, and the lifts have been refurbished. Hickory relies exclusively on surface lifts (2 Pomas and a T-bar) to serve its 1200’ of vertical, and the lift upgrades have virtually eliminated breakdowns.
Historically, Hickory never really had adequate grooming capability, but a state-of-the-art winchcat purchased last year now allows the ski area to provide groomed corduroy conditions on its mid- and lower mountain terrain, broadening the area’s appeal to beginners, intermediates and families. Hickory’s challenging upper mountain terrain and its natural snow conditions (no snowmaking) have long appealed to advanced skiers, but Hickory is looking to emphasize the area’s appeal to families. “We’ve had many families associated with the mountain for a long, long time and I think that’s one of our strong suits,” said Bill Van Pelt, a shareholder. “Our target market is absolutely families.”
Just outside the Blue Line, West Mountain and Willard Mountain have been busy with improvements and upgrades as well. West is adding several high-efficiency automated fan guns (West’s snowmaking operation is 100% fan guns), and is looking to leverage its electronic lift ticketing system (new last year) to provide skiers with more convenience and flexibility. Willard is also adding fan guns to their snowmaking plant. Like most ski areas, both Willard and West make investments in their snowmaking operations every year. Chic Wilson, Willard’s GM and owner, calls snowmaking “the most important part of our business,” a sentiment echoed by Mike Barbone, GM at West Mountain.
ORDA’s Lundin summed up what every skier is already feeling: “Get out. Ski. It’s gonna be a great year.”
Jeff Farbaniec is an avid telemark skier and a 46er who writes The Saratoga Skier & Hiker, a blog of his primarily Adirondack outdoor adventures.
A number of notable avalanches have occurred over the last month in the Adirondacks. Whiteface Mountain Ski Center officials have told the Adirondack Daily Enterprise that two avalanches have occurred this season on the Slides area of the mountain. Officials said both events were triggered by one or more skiers. The most recent (Tuesday morning) is believed to have been caused by someone who entered the Slides area from Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway. The Slides are not accessible by chairlifts, but can be accessed by a traverse from the top of the summit chairlift. The previous Whiteface avalanche occurred at the Slides on February 26th. About five avalanches are reported to have occurred at Whiteface over the past ten years. » Continue Reading.
There’s more than 160-inches of snow at Whiteface, in Wilmington, N.Y., and you know what that means. More great skiing and riding for the entire family well into March at the Olympic mountain, not to mention the longer days, more sunshine and warmer weather.
Celebration activities have been planned to welcome spring at Whiteface Mountain. the events kick off with Mardi Gras, March 5-6 when visitors can ski, ride, collect beads and enjoy food and drink specials and live music from the funk, R &B and soul group Jocamo at the Cloudspin Lounge.
Kids will have the chance to play in the snow with Curious George, March 4-6. The PBS character can be found at Kids Kampus each day and parents who enroll their children in a full day kids Kampus program with Curious George will receive a $20 discount off a one day lift ticket. More information about Curious George and the Whiteface Kids Kampus can be found online.
On March 12 and 13 Whiteface will celebrate St. Patty’s Day including Super Shamrock Sunday, March 13 when visitors can ski and ride all day for just $35 for adults, $30 for teens and $25 for juniors. Afterward there will be a party in the Cloudspin Lounge with live music by Trenchtown Oddities.
It’s Reggae Weekend, March 19-20, with music in the Cloudspin Lounge from the Big Take Over, Saturday, March 19, and the following weekend, March 26-27, it’s a Pirate Party at Whiteface, featuring music from Y Not Blue.
Every Wednesday it’s Coca-Cola Why Not Wednesday’s?, Present any empty Coca-Cola product and get a one-day adult lift ticket for only $38. Offer not valid with any other offers, programs, promotions, discounts, or frequent skier products. Limit one ticket per can.
There will be free mountain tours each Saturday and Sunday and on March 5, Lake Placid’s own Andrew Weibrecht, the 2010 Olympic Super G bronze medalist, will be at the mountain to sign autographs and pose for pictures.
Wait, before you go,
sign up for news updates from the Adirondack Almanack!