Monday, December 15, 2014

Gore Mountain: 12/13/2014

Skiing the glades at Gore Mountain, Saturday 12/13/2014.

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

This is what winter’s supposed to look like. Winter storm Damon delivered, with snowfall amounts ranging between 1 and 2 feet throughout the Adirondacks. Gore reported 14 inches from the multi-day event, but that measurement surely under-reported the amount that fell in the upper elevations. The snow came in perfect pineapple-upside-down-cake fashion, with dense snow at the onset of the storm followed by increasingly lighter powder. As the snow totals mounted, Gore dropped the ropes on a huge amount of terrain, resulting in the best early season conditions in as many years as I can remember.

No gondi?... Hike

The reward for the hike: lots of snow in the upper mountain glades

Our day started out different from most. We arrived at the mountain to find the gondola out of operation. I could care less about the comfort that the gondi provides - we needed the gondi in order to access the summit terrain that would be open for the first time this season. With no word on how long the gondi would be down, and no other way to access Straight Brook and the summit (the High Peaks chair was not running either), we hiked up Ruby Run from the top of the Adirondack Express II and skied down the Cave Glade to the base of the Straight Brook Quad.

Lone skier on Gun Barrel

Straight Brook was like another world. It seemed like no more than a hundred or so skiers gotten to Straight Brook before the gondi went down. The lift was empty, the trails were empty, and the summit was shrouded in a snow fog. Looking down from the chair as rode up, it was clear that the snow was deep and all trails and glades were in play. It was going to be a good day.

Cave Glade

Soft snow in the glades

It seemed that ski patrol had dropped the ropes on nearly all the summit trails with the exception of Rumor and Lies, but the truth is we hardly saw the trails. Instead, we headed into the glades and stayed there all day. When conditions are good at Gore – and they were great on Saturday – the upper mountain can be a tree skier’s paradise. With the light traffic, we had our pick of lines in many of our favorite stashes. Eventually the gondi came back on line (just after noon it seemed) and more skiers made their way to the summit, but it seemed we were able to stay a step ahead.

Chatiemac to ourselves

Days like this you just don't want to end. Among the highlights of the day were Chatiemac (one of the few trails we skied), Chatiemac Glade, Double Barrel, and a few other select glades, but everything skied great.

Lower mountain glade

The 2014-15 ski season is off to a fine start, and Gore is well-positioned for the upcoming holiday period. After some above normal temperatures early this week (but no thaw), we should cool to seasonal norms by weeks end. All eyes are on the possibility of another round of snowy weather as Christmas approaches.

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