Thursday, January 9, 2014

West Mountain: 01/08/2014

West Mountain Ski Center, Wednesday night 01/08/2014.

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.
Not only was last night my first visit to West Mountain this winter, it was also my first visit under the mountain’s new management. The Post-Star has done an excellent job covering Apex Capital’s plans for managing the mountain out of bankruptcy, you can read about it here, here, and here. I was anxious to see whatever sprucing up has been done so far at the mountain, and to see what the skiing would be like after rain and warm temperatures Sunday night and Monday followed by the arrival of the over-hyped polar vortex.

First, there were some very noticeable improvements inside the lodge. The main lodge room, downstairs, has been painted (including all the picnic tables) and looks (and smells) much cleaner than it has in years. The bathrooms have been been gutted (much needed) and completely re-done. They are beautiful. There’s a new food & beverage director in the restaurant upstairs and a new menu. We had wings and beers after skiing and the wings were delicious (the beer has always been delicious).

We were pleasantly surprised with the skiing. We had expected rock-hard surfaces, but snowmaking and grooming made everything edgeable. There was a fair amount of corduroy along Frolic’s edges from grooming earlier in the day, something I haven’t seen at West in at least two or three years. Also, the odd contours that seemed to develop from huge snowmaking piles in the past couple of years were gone. The slopes skied much more smoothly and naturally, the way I remember from earlier years. Snowmaking was underway on some of the closed trails, so hopefully the trail count will be going up shortly.

The “new” West Mountain seems to be off to a great start and I’m looking forward to skiing as many Wednesday nights as I can get in this winter. Anyone who hasn’t skied West recently, or who became discouraged with conditions there the last couple winters, should consider a visit. According to their Facebook page, lift tickets are just $17 on Monday and Tuesday nights, 5-9pm.

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