Sunday, March 18, 2012
Gore Mountain: 03/17/2012
Trust the forecast. That's what I kept telling myself as we drove to Gore Mountain Saturday morning. The forecast was for sunny skies, but a low deck of clouds covered the sky for the entire drive up from Saratoga Springs. Pulling into the parking lot at Gore, the scene was not very inspiring. Everything was shades of brown and grey: mud and slush around the gondola and lodge, some bare spots poking through the ski trails, fog hanging on the mountain. But riding up the gondola, the entire scene suddenly changed when we broke through the cloud layer and emerged into bright blue skies.
Saturday morning at the base. Ugh:
10 minutes later, at the top of the gondi. Blue sky, bright sun:
Obviously the summit was the place to be, and we headed to the Straightbrook chair to ski the summit black diamonds: Hawkeye, Lies, Open Pit. Temperatures were in the 50s, warm enough for T-shirt skiing but still cool enough to keep the snow from going to mush. Coverage was excellent everywhere, with the only bare spots being at the top of the Hawkeye and Lies headwalls.
Fortunately, we brought our lunch with us to the summit, so there was no need to return to the base. A full-on cookout was underway near the warming hut while kids (some well into their 40s) played in the snow. The classic late spring party scene was pushed a step further by the fact that it's Saint Patrick's Day as well.
Early reports were that the Darkside trails were still firm, so we waited until after lunch to hit Hullabaloo and Lower Darby. These trails also had great coverage, and weren't as bumped as the other summit trails. Unlike past years when we've been able to ski at least some select tree runs right right up to the final day of the season, the woods were completely out of play today, a reflection of this year's abyssmal snowfall.
We came down relatively early, 3 or 3:30, and a patio party was already well underway. We finally left at 5, with plenty of people still left celebrating the warm weather and Saint Patrick's Day.
Today had all the classic makings of a season closer: warm sun, spring bumps, deck party. We'd like to ski again next weekend (Gore and Whiteface are both planning to re-open), but if this turns out to be my last day, it was a great way to end the season.