Saturday, February 5, 2011

Gore Mountain: 02/05/2011

Interesting day. First, the weather: bluebird skies all morning, then dumping snow an inch an hour by early afternoon. Second: got my first taste of the Ski Bowl and its interconnect with the main mountain. More on that later. But best of all, superb snow conditions on the trails and in the woods that made today perhaps my best day on the mountain so far this season.

Beautiful morning, looking up at Rumor.

With Beth in Lake Placid racing the 25K Loppet and Daniel in his 9-to-noon Mountain Adventure program, I was solo in the morning and decided to start the day by exploring the new Barkeater glade at Burnt Ridge.

Timing's everything

Just as I arrived at the top of the lift, Ski Patrol dropped the rope for me. It certainly wasn't first tracks - you would have had to be there on Wednesday for that - but it was nice being first down for the day.

Barkeater. Yeah, I let some guys get ahead of me.

Barkeater has an inviting, gentle pitch in its upper section, then steepens in its lower half. Those steeper pitches had already been skied pretty hard and were wearing thin. I suspect within a couple years additional lines will open up, spreading out skier traffic with more options. There's an amazing amount of terrain that looks like it will offer some excellent woods sking over here.

Eagle's Nest bridge leads back to Burnt Ridge

Barkeater eventually dumps out onto the Pipeline trail, not far above the Eagle's Nest trail that leads back to Burnt Ridge. I found Eagle's Nest to be a well-graded trail. No skating or poling was necessary from the bottom of Barkeater down lower Pipeline and Eagle's Nest.

High Peaks from the top of Burnt Ridge

I didn't want to spend the morning checking out the new Ski Bowl terrain, so I headed up to the summit via the Burnt Ridge Quad, North Quad and High Peaks chair, using the Tahawus glade to exit the Burnt Ridge trail pod.

Soft snow in the Tahawus glade

The Barkeater and Tahawus glades work well for integrating Burnt Ridge with the Ski Bowl and with the rest of the mountain. Of course, these glades are natural snow dependent, and are only suitable for more advanced skiers.

High Peaks view from the North Quad

Up top, I immediately ran into my long-time skiing friend Derek. With two hours left before Daniel's pick-up time, we had plenty of time to explore the trails, glades and trees of the summit.

Undisclosed location

Another undisclosed location. Sorry.

This past week's snow has brought the trails and woods at Gore into top condition. Everything skied great. I picked Daniel up at 12:01 and he declared me "an hour late" so I let him choose the afternoon's agenda. His choice: head up top for some more glades, then check out the new Ski Bowl terrain.

Daniel in yet another undisclosed location

After getting our fill of the excellent snow conditions in the glades and trees near the summit and on the Darkside, we tested the interconnectedness of the Ski Bowl by skiing from the summit, past the High Peaks chair, past the North Quad, and down the Pipeline and Peaceful Valley trails all the way to the base of the new Hudson Chair at the Ski Bowl. Despite the sign, we found the cover to be neither thin nor variable, just flat. The flat section of Pipeline is primarily just below the North Quad chair, as the trail skirts the snowmaking pond. In my opinion, the flatness of this traverse will limit the number of skiers utilizing the interconnect from the main mountain to the Ski Bowl. On the flip side, the return from the top of the Hudson chair to Burnt Ridge via Eagle's Nest seemed perfectly reasonable.

Near the top of the Hudson chair. The 46er trail (not yet open, despite the tracks) follows the lift line.

We were amazed at the amount of new terrain that the Ski Bowl offers. Between the Burnt Ridge and Ski Bowl trail pods, Gore now seems sprawling, in a mostly good way. Although we didn't ski the Moxham or Oak Ridge trails at the Ski Bowl (both were open), the quality of the trail construction here is excellent, and I think the new terrain has a lot of potential. We will likely come back to spend a morning or afternoon just exploring the Ski Bowl. I'd like to see Gore offer a limited Ski-Bowl only lift ticket at a much-reduced rate to help keep skiing affordable for families and encourage downtown visitation.

Snow came down at an inch per hour from around 2pm on

Back at Burnt Ridge, we decided upon the Cirque glade, Daniel's first time in. Cirque may be the longest glade at Gore, and it has some challenging pitches. By the time we were down, I could tell that Daniel's stamina was wearing out.

Dropping into the Cirque

But the lifts were still running, and like his old man Daniel wasn't ready to quit yet, so we finished with a run down Showcase and Lower Sleighride to finish up a very full day. Gotta say I couldn't be more proud of his enthusiasm, attitude and ability. Great day on the mountain.

Skier in the Cirque Glade

1 comment:

  1. Sorry for the blow-by-blow description of the day's skiing. That's a writing style I generally try to avoid. But I want to give readers a feel for how Gore's new terrain interconnects with the rest of the mountain, hope I've succeeded.