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.

For our family, opening weekend is as much about picking up our passes and getting all our gear together as it is about actually skiing, and the warning on Gore's website left us expecting little in the skiing category: "PLEASE NOTE: AREAS OF THIN COVER & BARE SPOTS- Be ready for spring-like conditions as temperatures rise throughout the day. Some walking may be necessary..."

There were three sections of sketchy coverage on the route down from the gondola: the 90-degree left-hand turn near the top of Foxlair, on Sunway where it crosses underneath the gondola, and the steep pitch of Quicksilver. But in between were reasonably long stretches of good skiing on soft spring-like snow, and it felt great to be sliding on snow for the first time in more than 7 months.

Good coverage on Quicksilver

It was clear we weren't the only happy skiers. Despite the less-than-optimal conditions, I didn't see one skier who wasn't smiling or hear a single complaint. We made a couple runs down from the gondola and another half dozen runs on the Sunway chair, where Jamboree had excellent coverage.

Not-so-good coverage on Quicksilver

I have to give Gore's staff and management a lot of credit for working hard to make the most of marginal weather conditions and getting the mountain open. Skiers were grateful for all of the skiing terrain that was available. Gore also did a good job of providing advance notice of conditions on their website and snow phone. Judging by the numbers of skiers on the slopes Saturday (attendance was reported to have been even higher on Friday), it was worth the effort.

Jamboree had a small terrain park on the right-hand side

Gore will be closed until next weekend, when colder temperatures will have hopefully allowed snowmaking operations to resume.

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