Friday, July 18, 2014

Adirondack ski areas by the numbers: Gore energy efficiency

Some readers know that while I'm a skier in "real" life, I'm an accountant in my "other" life. I guess that makes me something of a numbers nerd, and explains why the page below, from ORDA's recently released 2013-14 annual report, caught my eye.

Gore energy efficiency, from the 2013-14 ORDA annual report.
(click the picture to enlarge)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Vanderwhacker Mountain: 07/05/2014

High Peaks view from Vanderwhacker Mountain, Saturday 07/05/2014.

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.

Vanderwhacker Mountain feels remote before you even get out of the car. Located midway between Minerva and Newcomb along Route 28N, the trailhead lies at the end of a single lane dirt road that penetrates three miles into the Vanderwhacker Wild Forest.

Vanderwhacker's fire tower

From the trailhead, it’s less than 3 miles to Vanderwhacker’s 3,385’ summit. The short distance served us well on Saturday, since we had a crack-of-noon start (2pm actually). I had spent the morning trying to convince family members to go hiking, but in the end it was just Beth and me. Our kids elected to stay behind in Bolton Landing with cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles for an afternoon of waterskiing and lake activity. A good rule of thumb is to never “force” kids to hike (or ski), and I can hardly blame them for choosing lake fun over hiking.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

OK Slip Falls, hike in - raft out: 06/28/2014

OK Slip Falls overlook, Saturday 06/28/2014.

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.

OK Slip Falls has been at the top of my hiking to-do list ever since it opened up for public access late last year. This spring, when I found out that Square Eddy Expeditions would be offering guided hike in – raft out trips, I dropped some not-so-subtle Fathers’ Day gift hints. Lucky for me the hints worked, and we coordinated a date for Beth, Daniel and me to do the trip (Sylvie’s too young for the rafting part of the trip).

Now, I’m not the kind of guy who hires a guide at the drop of a hat. I’ve hiked, skied, climbed and paddled all over the Adirondacks for the past 30+ years. I don't need someone to show me the way around the woods. But this is the kind of trip you can’t pull off on your own unless you’ve got a river raft, a way to get your raft halfway down the Hudson Gorge to OK Slip Brook, and the experience to safely paddle the remaining 6 miles through class 3 and 4 rapids to North River (my whitewater skills are zero). On top of that, I’ve known Square Eddy owners Lori Phoebe Benton and Linc Marsac for years, so being able to do the trip with good friends as our guides sealed the deal.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Fifth Peak, Tongue Mtn: 06/22/2014

Lake George and the Tongue Mountain range from Fifth Peak, Sunday 06/22/2014.

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.

Well known for its varied trails and spectacular views of Lake George and surrounding peaks, the Tongue Mountain trail system is something of a southern Adirondack hiking mecca. Nearly 20 miles of trails criss-cross the Tongue Mountain range, but the most popular destination of all is Fifth Peak.

Don't let Fifth Peak's low summit elevation (just 1,800') fool you. Since Lake George's elevation is less than 400', Fifth Peak sports a vertical relief that's comparable to much taller mountains. In fact, I picked Fifth Peak for our hike on Sunday partly because it falls right in the sweet spot for our family: the six mile round-trip with 1500' of vertical is a good match for our kids' current abilities.