The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will meet on Thursday and Friday (November 12th and 13th) at APA Headquarters in Ray Brook to consider the temporary re-opening of the Big Tupper Ski Area, reconstruction and widening of Route 28 in Oneida County, and more. Amendments to the park’s land use maps will also be considered, including whether to set a public hearing for the re-classification of about 31,570 acres. » Continue Reading.
Posts Tagged ‘snowboarding’
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
Cost for adult: $71 weekend/$64 weekday
Vertical drop: 2,300 feet
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.
“Whiteface Mountain”, Wilmington
Phone: (877) SKI-FACE
Cost: $74/ $74 ($79 on holidays)
Vertical drop: 3,200 feet
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.
McCauley Mountain, Old Forge
Phone: (315) 369-3225
Vertical drop: 633 feet (count ‘em)
Best deal: $8 lift tickets on Friday, except holiday periods.
Oak Mountain, Speculator
Vertical drop: 600 feet
Trails: about a dozen
Best deal: what, $28 for a lift ticket isn’t good enough?
What’s new: they’re still open.
Hickory Ski Area, Warrensburg
Cost: $45 (open weekends only)
Vertical drop: 1,200
Trails: A dozen, nearly all hard
Best deal: If it snows on a weekday, you’ve got fresh powder on Saturday.
What’s new: Open again after four years!
Big Tupper Ski Area, Tupper Lake
Vertical drop: 700 feet will be available this year
Trails: 30, but not all of the mountain will be skiable this year
Best deal: at $15 per ticket (or $400 for a season pass for the whole family) this could be the cheapest ski deal in the Northeast.
What’s new: Open again after a decade, albeit with only one lift. Wish them luck.
Royal Mountain, Caroga Lake
Cost: $350/season, $35/day
Vertical drop: 500 feet
Trails: 13 served by three lifts, including expert-only glades
What’s new: Three-year, $400,000 upgrade of snowmaking and grooming is now complete.
The Gore Mountain ski area in North Creek will open Saturday for scenic Northwoods Gondola Skyrides, downhill mountain biking, hiking, and a BBQ on Saturday, September 5. The mountain will remain open on weekends from now through Columbus Day Weekend between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm. Two mountain biking camps will be held – September 12th and 26th for ages 10 and over of all biking abilities. $59 includes a full-day lift ticket, lunch, coaching from our experienced biking guides, and an organized hike. Gore Mountain’s Harvest Festival will take place on October 10-11th and feature the Ernie Williams Band and Raisinhead along with Adirondack vendors.
Work is progressing on several improvements for the upcoming 2009/2010 skiing and snowboarding season. Several projects will improve the new Burnt Ridge Mountain area, a new Ski Bowl Lodge will open at the historic North Creek Ski Bowl, Base Lodge renovations, and a new terrain park moved to a widened Wild Air area, will all be augmented by an additional 30 tower guns and new groomer.
At Burnt Ridge Mountain snowmaking is being added to the Sagamore Trail, a run rated most difficult that descends over 1400 vertical feet. Other Burnt Ridge projects include the opening of the intermediate Eagle’s Nest Trail, which will connect the base of the North Quad to the base of the Burnt Ridge Quad via the Pipeline Trail. The Cirque Glades will be enlarged due to an extension to the base of the quad, and a new access route to the Cedars Trail from Twister is being constructed.
The new Ski Bowl Lodge at the North Creek Ski Bowl will feature modernized ticketing, updated food service, new bathrooms, and improved seating. A press release reported that “trail work towards Gore Mountain’s interconnect with the Ski Bowl continues, and the terrain and new lift for the area are scheduled to open for the 2010/2011 season.”
Base Lodge renovations include a new retail shop, improved ticketing, and a new sundeck adjacent to the Tannery Pub & Restaurant.
Photo: Roaring Brook View from Pipeline. A view of Roaring Brook from the Pipeline Trail, where another bridge will be constructed on the new “Eagle’s Nest” trail.
Vermontville resident Bruce McCulley, who has worked at the mountain since 1981, has been named the new General Manager for Whiteface Ski Center by the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA). McCulley will replace Jay Rand, who has taken a position as the Executive Director of the New York Ski Educational Foundation (NYSEF) as of September 3.
McCulley began his career as a lift operator and snowmaker, and then moved into supervisory and foreman positions before being promoted to Assistant general Manager of the ski center in 1996. McCulley also serves on the Board of Trustees and Leadership Team at the High Peaks Church in Saranac Lake and has served 17 years as a religious services volunteer in the Federal Bureau of Prisons system at Ray Brook.
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.
While negotiations continue over Big Tupper Ski Area, whose reopening hinges on a 625-lot residential development, a different group of investors is pursuing a condo-free strategy to resurrect Hickory Ski Center in Warrensburg.
“My initial interest in Hickory was in its history (founded by a WWII member of the 10th Mountain Division) and reputation as a challenging hill (notwithstanding its small size),” Bill Van Pelt IV said in an e-mail.
Van Pelt, a financial planner from Saratoga now living in Texas, is leading several shareholders and Hickory board members in trying to come up with a new business plan for the old-school mountain, which has 1,200 feet of vertical drop, 17 trails, two Poma lifts, a T-bar and a rope tow.
Operating private ski areas has proven a challenge in the Adirondacks, so the group is trying to come up with a viable game plan.
“Mad River Glen provides an example with which I am personally familiar,” Van Pelt wrote. “I made an early, conscious effort not to tackle the problem with real estate development as a component of the plan. That reflects my personal preference (I don’t like golf courses with houses on them either) and, coincidently, the culture of Hickory and its board.”
Mad River Glen, in Waitsfield, Vermont, is proudly skier-owned and natural — no snowmaking. [Post-deadline correction: there is a modest system with two guns that supplments a fraction of the terrain.] Shareholders are trying to decide whether they should leave Hickory’s snow cover to nature or modernize with a snowmaking system and a chairlift.
Either way, Van Pelt told the Glens Falls Post-Star that the mountain will reopen next season after several years in limbo. He and other board members are receiving enthusiastic e-mails from former Hickory skiers and soliciting their suggestions via email@example.com.
The only other privately owned ski area still running in the Adirondack Park, Royal Mountain in Caroga Lake, hosts motocross races in summer to make ends meet. Big Tupper Ski Area, in Tupper Lake, has been closed for a decade; a consortium of Philadelphia-based investors proposes to make skiing the centerpiece of a vast high-end development and say the slope is otherwise not financially sustainable. Oak Mountain recently went into bankruptcy but was run this winter by the village of Speculator.
Map from New England Lost Ski Areas Project.
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.
For up-to-date trail conditions and mountain activities, go to www.whiteface.com. For more information on the Olympic venues and events, and for web cams from five locations, visit www.whitefacelakeplacid.com.
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
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.
Here are some photos of the helicopter placing lift towers for the new Lookout Mountain Triple Chairlift at Whiteface last Thursday. The lift will service three new trails on Lookout Mountain, Whiteface’s third peak. The area reclaimed a portion of the Cloudsplitter Trail that was a part of Whiteface in the 1950s. Lookout Mountain will open this season with two expert runs, one 2.5-mile long intermediate trail, as well as more glade skiing.
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