Sunday, January 22, 2012

Gore Mtn: 01/21/2012

Snow-covered roads always help set the stage for a good ski day.  I-87 on the way to Gore Mountain, Saturday morning.

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

The level of excitement at our house over the couple inches of snow that recently fell is testament not only to how much our family loves snow, but also to how meager the offerings from Ullr have been this winter.

Since we hadn't skied at Gore Mountain since two weekends ago, we were curious to see current conditions first hand. The big news for skiers this weekend was the opening of the Burnt Ridge trail pod, with Echo and Sagamore now online.

Sagamore and the Burnt Ridge Quad

After a warm-up run or two down from the gondola, we headed over to check things out at Burnt Ridge. With a combination of tower guns and ground guns blasting sections of Sagamore, the chair ride up was about as cold as I've felt all winter. But I'll never complain about riding a chair lift or skiing through snow guns - without 'em there'd be zero skiing this year. The skiing on Sag was highly variable: sections of great snow (under the guns) alternated with sections of ice chunks. With another day of snowmaking, grooming and skier traffic I expect it will ski better on Sunday.

Fun Carving Skills course - I hope it becomes a regular feature

Echo skied a bit more consistently than Sagamore, with nice carvable snow right down the headwall, but we decided to head back to the main mountain after just one run down each of Echo and Sag.

Daniel skiing Uncas

Elsewhere on the mountain conditions were mostly firm & fast, with lower-angled terrain having the best snow conditions. Up top, Hawkeye's headwall was pretty scraped but Open Pit skied relatively well. As is often the case, some nice turns were possible by skiing the edges of the trails.

Beth skiing down Showcase just as the sun came out

Some time around 1:30 or so, as we were heading back down to the lower mountain from the summit, the light snow ended and the sky quickly cleared, bathing the mountain in beautiful afternoon sunlight. Maybe it was the sun, maybe it was the better snow conditions on lower-angled terrain, but those last several runs for the day down trails like Showcase and Sunway seemed to be the best.

A few more turns down Showcase and it was all blue sky

Sunway actually had the best snow conditions on the mountain (sorry, no Sunway pics), a fact that we unfortunately didn't discover until late in the day. Recent snowmaking there left the trail soft edge to edge, top to bottom.

Daniel skiing Showcase

Besides Sagamore, snowmaking was underway on Upper Sleighride and the North side (looked like Pete Gay and Sleeping Bear), and those trails were slated to open today (Sunday). It's been an up-and-down winter, but fortunately the snowmaking crews have been able to make steady progress and expanding terrain. It goes without saying that a nice, moderate sized snowfall would go a long way towards improving overall conditions and even opening some of Gore's glades.

View from the J-bar learning hill

We ended the day by picking up Sylvie from the daycare in time to ski with her for half an hour or so on the J-bar learning slope.


  1. Jeff - We skied at Gore on Sunday. Sleeping Bear did open, and probably had the best snow. Sunway was still very good. It was a nice day on the mountain. - Mike

  2. Sunday was the better of the two days for sure. Gore continues to do a great job. Only complaint I hear a lot is the racing/training closures. On Saturday, Uncas, Twister and Lower Showcase were all limited or closed to regular customers. Makes getting to Burnt Ridge a huge pain. Gore M'ment needs to find a better way to accommodate the NYSEFers.

  3. I agree with the last comment on getting to burnt Ridge being a huge pain if there is a race on Twister and the Pipeline from the North chair (just slightly better) is not open. And there seems to be a race on Twister most weekends from January on. I know that NYSEF brings in a lot money to the mountain and Twister is evidently one of the best trails around for GS and Super-G. Personally I think the right solution is to cut a trail through the Twister glades to Echo. I really like those glades but given that they rarely have enough snow and even if they do you can not get to them do to the races on Twister, i think that is the most logical solution. Note that the race course starts below the entrance to the glades but I've never seen them open when a race is on Twister.

  4. Thx for the update Mike. Sat was good, but it sounds like Sun might have been even better. One thing about this winter is that there's always good skiing somewhere on the mountain.

    Anon 1 - NYSEF wasn't set up on Uncas when we skied it Sat, but maybe they were earlier or later. Actually, now that I think about it, I remember there being netting set up at the split, so you must be right. I don't mind losing a trail or 2 to NYSEF because I think their programs are great. But losing Twister and/or Uncas is pretty disruptive. Twister closure makes the BR access much more inconvenient than it already is, and Uncas closure forces everyone down Pine Knot. Unfortunately I don't think there are many other alternatives for accomodating NYSEF. I beleive Echo meets NYSEF's specs, but that would cause other disruptions.

    Anon 2 - That's a good solution IMO. I've got to beleive that a connector could be built that would leave most of the Twister glades in place. That's a fun glade. To me, the most disruptive aspect of NYSEF using Twister is the detour around the back of the triple chair when returning from Echo to the main base area. Try doing that with a kid (maybe you have?) - even with my 7-yr-old being a pretty solid skier for his age, that detour is still a drag.

  5. Uncas wasn't "totally" closed Saturday morning....they left the trail-right side open a little so you could get down to Straightbrook, then it was totally closed down to Tannery. Twister was totally closed (all day I think, I skied 830a-300p both days, and didn't see it open), as was lower Showcase, which kills any chance to carry speed into Cedars. And when returning from BR, the netting cuts you off yet again, so no choice but to walk back. It sucks.
    I have 2 good friends who are NYSEF instructors. They tell me that when BR was built, the intent was to put NYSEF on Echo. It makes sense, but don't know why it has not happened. I appreciate what NYSEF adds, and my kids will likely end up in the program, but losing part or all of 3 trails, and negatively impacting a whole area (BR), is ridiculous. - {Anon1}

  6. In my opinion, improving access to/from BR and the ski bowl should be top priority for Gore. I am not anti-NYSEF at all, but their use of Twister makes the problematic access to/from BR worse. If Gore can get Hedges (requires blasting, see my "Outtakes" post from Oct) to work as a viable route back to Twister, then maybe NYSEF could use Echo with less disruption. Without Hedges, there's no way for the public to return to the main base if Echo is in use by NYSEF.