Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gore Mountain Opening Weekend: 11/26/2011

Gore Mountain ski area, opening weekend,  11/26/2011.

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.
Plenty of snow on the ground from Tuesday night's storm

Thanksgiving weekend is of course the traditional start of the ski season, and the 10 inches of snow that fell at Gore Mountain Tuesday night helped to whet our appetites for more than just turkey. But November hasn't been kind to skiers: warm temperatures have made snowmaking operations marginal to non-existent.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gore Mountain Snowmaking Tour: 11/18/2011

If you’ve seen Gore Mountain’s announcements this fall or read my Adirondack Ski Season Preview, then you already know about the 130 new high-efficiency tower guns that have been installed on Sunway, Sleighride, Quicksilver, Otter Slide, 3B, Sagamore and Wild Air. The new guns are a big deal: they represent the single biggest upgrade to the snowmaking system since tapping the Hudson River 15 years ago. On Friday morning I met with Mike Pratt, Gore Mountain’s General Manager, to talk about Gore’s snowmaking operations and take a tour of the mountain, just as crews were shutting down the guns following the first night of snowmaking operations.

Looking down Quicksilver after the first night of snowmaking operations, Nov 18, 2011. 

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

Mike: Last night was our first night of snowmaking. We ran more than 80 guns on Topridge, Sunway, and Quicksilver. We’re shutting the system down for now (9am) because the temperatures are warming up, but we’ll start back up late this afternoon and run through the night again.

Jeff: What’s the plan for opening day?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Cross-Country Season Preview

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.
Ski season is just around the corner, and over the past couple weeks I checked in with many of the region's cross-country ski areas. My Adirondack Cross-Country Ski Season Preview appears here, on Adirondack Almanack. If the snow this winter is anywhere near as good as last year, the backcountry options look great too. Here are some additional resources for trip planning this winter:
  • Phil Brown takes a look at new slide routes in the High Peaks created by Tropical Storm Irene in his article New Adirondack Slide Guide on Adirondack Exporer.
  • New backcountry ski trails have been created in the Siamese Ponds Wilderness area around North River over the past couple of years. Bill McKibben writes about the new routes here in Adirondack Life.
Also be sure to also check out this interview with Ron Konowitz, the only person to have skied all 46 of the Adirondack High Peaks for some inspiration.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Street & Nye Mountains: 11/12/2011

Snow-dusted Street & Nye Mtns from Heart Lake, Nov 12, 2011 

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.
View of snow-dusted Street & Nye Mountains from Heart Lake

It's probably fair to say that Street and Nye aren't climbed by anyone but aspiring 46ers. There's no maintained trail, and both peaks have wooded, viewless summits. Nye isn't even a "real" 46er: its summit is now listed at just 3895'. But a beautiful, crisp pre-winter day not only made the hike interesting, it gave us some great unexpected views to boot.

Pre-dawn departure from Bolton Landing

Hiking at this time of year poses some real difficulties: shortened daylight hours, cold temperatures, trails that are often more ice than snow. With those challenges in mind, Beth and I had been holding Street and Nye as a late fall hiking option since its relatively short distance (just 8 miles round trip) made it easily doable in a short day.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Should New York State be in the Ski Business?

OK, I'm not really asking the question. Rather, the question mark in the title is simply a recognition that New York State's ownership of Gore Mountain, Whiteface and Belleayre is a controversial and multi-faceted topic.

The Post-Star raised the question in an editorial last month, and suggested that taxpayers might be better served if New York's state-owned winter sports facilities, including Gore and Whiteface, were privatized.

In my view, taxpayers and Adirondack residents are better served by finding ways to make the existing state ownership - through the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) - more successful. My counter-point to The Post-Star's editorial can be read here on the Adirondack Almanack, and here as a guest essay in the Nov. 6 Post-Star.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

October Snow and Season Goals

The image below, widely circulated last Thursday, stoked the hopes of eastern skiers for the start of the 2011-2012 season:

Snowmaking on Rime, October 28, courtesy Killington