Monthly Archives: November 2008
Ski Day 2 was an improvement vs opening day… even shorter lift lines, no opening delays and no drama. Also missing was the addition of any new terrain. Anyone who’s skied Gore for a few years knows that early season snowmaking tends to be less aggressive than serious skiers would like.
They were blowing on Wildair overnight. Foxlair and Sleighride during the day. Sleighride? Come on. Sleighride should probably be the last trail to get snowmaking resources. Still first tracks were primo. We hit it up top. Corduroy on Topridge and Pine Knot was early season excellent.
By the end of the day nice bumps on Topridge and Quicksilver were an absolute blast. A little mashed potatoey, but great none-the-less. No matter what your level is….finding bumps that are right at, or just slightly above your level….it’s a real joy. Another great day.
Ski Day 1: Like everyone in the East, Gore had two solid weeks of prime snow blowing weather leading up to opening day. And like most of the mountains north of Albany, Gore had a nice snowfall on Tuesday the 25th. Gore reported 11 inches from the base and Garnet Hill reported 14″ from 2000′. In addition, it snowed another two inches between midnight last night and 8am this morning. It was great getting up in the middle of the night to see it coming down. Looking out from the cabin this morning, it really felt like winter.
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Today was really a typical Gore opening day. Limited terrain, lots of technical difficulties, and a great surface on the terrain that was open. Terrain was listed as 5 miles, 2 lifts and 8 trails. All of it on Bear Mountain. Topridge, Pine Knot, Tannery, Ruby Run, Sunway, Quicksilver, 3B and Jamboree combined to make 3 separate runs. This is more than is typical for opening day. Usually Pine Knot and Tannery come online a few days later. The usual technical difficulties include an incredible line for people picking up passes. Basically your insane if you don’t pick up your pass before opening day. Some people waited hours due to a problem with pass printer. And the Gondi didn’t start loading until 9:15 – 45 mins later than the 8:30 official start time. (Many times mid-season it’s going by 7:45 or earlier.) All of that was completely expected, at least by us.
The thing that drove me nuts was the Bear Cub Den – the daycare facility. At 8:15 when we arrived to drop Neve off….they told us it WASN’T OPEN. Sincerely….I’m interested in your opinion….would you expect that when you buy a season pass to daycare….that it be open every day the lifts run? We were told “budget cuts.” We heard that phrase a lot today. I’ve been to the website plenty in the last 30 days and no mention of the Bear Cub Den being closed on opening day. I mean we drove from NJ for gods sakes. I made a stink about and they opened it up. Clearly we weren’t the only couple depending on it…when we picked Neve up at 3pm, there were 5 or 6 kids there. Hey I’ve got a great idea…if you never open the mountain at all the budget would be in GREAT shape. All that season pass money and no expenses to go with it. Oh wait…
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Ok the skiing… My advanced beginner wife, Zelda really wanted to hit Topridge first. I was surprised. We knew we didn’t want to go back down to the Gondi. The late opening created the longest line you’ll ever see at Gore. We knew if we did four of five laps uptop the Gondi line would disappear. Aside from the intial crush at the Gondi, there were no real lines on either lift. We hit Pine Knot to Tannery. Pine Knot had some nice windblown natural snow on skiers right, that stayed there most of the day, building up into some nice cutup. It was pretty sweet. Tannery was probably the worst thing all day. Not icy, but very hardpacked with nothing loose on top. Then we did three laps on Topridge. It was great. Reasonably carvable corduroy, with pockets of natural windblown snow on the sides and in the lee of some major snowmaking whales. We skied from 9:15 to 2:45 and Topridge got better as the day went on. Love the bumps.
At the bottom, it was all nice and carvy. For me the highlight was the bumps that formed on Quicksilver. It’s a pretty narrow trail, so it seems to form bumps when it gets a lot of traffic. At the end of my day when I went down it was a bit of a killing field, with bodies strewn here and there. I tried hard to get a pic of the bumps on Quicksilver and Topridge, but the light was just too flat.
It was awesome to be back on skis, and great to connect folks I haven’t seen since the lifts closed last April. Jimmer and the boys were out and about. Megatron was actually “skiing” the trees (carefully) removing blowdown. And I ran into Mike the teley guy who skis with me when we are both solo. And all that other crap aside…it is SO great to be skiing again. I’m hoping for at least 35 days this year. The summit was in the clouds all day…it was hard not to look over there and dream…
The good news from the NOAA, is that there is no real bad news:
In announcing the 2008-2009 U.S. Winter Outlook for meteorological winter from December through February, forecasters at the NOAA Climate Prediction Center are calling for warmer-than-normal temperatures for much of the central part of the nation, and a continuation of drier-than-normal conditions across the Southeast.
With the absence of La Niña and El Niño in the equatorial Pacific Ocean this season, predicting weather patterns on seasonal timescales becomes increasingly challenging. Instead, other climate patterns over the Arctic and North Atlantic regions may play a significant role in influencing U.S. winter weather.
“These patterns are only predictable a week or two in advance and could persist for weeks at a time,” said Michael Halpert, deputy director, Climate Prediction Center. “Therefore, we expect variability, or substantial changes in temperature and precipitation across much of the country.”
The U.S. Winter Outlook does not include a snowfall forecast. Snow forecasts are heavily dependent upon winter storms and are generally not predictable more than several days in advance.
Prepare for winter weather through NOAA Watch. The site gives you the latest weather patterns, forecasts and warnings issued by NOAA’s National Weather Service.
There is a rumor out there that Gore is considering charging $10 a car this year to park. As you might have guessed I’m not in favor of the idea.
I’m betting that Gore didn’t see this coming at the first pass deadline. Nobody’s trying to fool anybody. I think what’s happening is that every government out there is short on cash. Have you SEEN the number of speeding tickets being issued? It’s the same thing. Bring in the revenue or we’re looking at layoffs. At the company I work for we’re seeing our existing, satisfied customers staying with us, but spending less. We are doing everything we can to make their budgets work. We’re not having a rate increase for sure. If we did push rates up…they’d probably consider our competitors.
For our family….when we came up with the $1800 for three passes in June, we knew we’d be facing a tough economy. We figured…well at least we can ski, which for us is a part of life. Understand that we have very little discretionary budget. None, if you consider skiing essential..and we do. If the new parking tax happens this will cost us around $400 for the season. For families this is an increase in our pass price. I mean you really can’t ski at Gore if you can’t park. If true, it just isn’t fair.
To me the SEASONS PASS, has always represented a classic risk/reward scenario. I believe that the unwritten understanding has always been…If you are a 10x /season skier:
- The REWARD is a potentially cheaper ticket price
- The RISK is the WEATHER – not a price increase.
For the mountain:
- RISK: Less total money if it is a good season
- REWARD: Money is guaranteed regardless of the weather, and you get it UPFRONT.
This season the parking fee messes with the whole risk/reward ratio. And it’s a 20% increase after you already bought the product. And this is on top a rate increase already from 07/08. Also a downer for me personally…maybe you too…this means when I’m the tenth car in the parking lot as I always am…I can save 10 bucks if… I drop the family off. Leave all the gear in a pile and go park the car in the outer limits. And walk back through an empty lot. If true…the whole thing feels may feel like a slap in the face to a passholder.
I do think the forums influenced the final decision to kill the gondi to nowhere. It was Tinwoodsman, Mattchuck and a few others..I really think they were heard in that forum with Ted Blazer. Let’s be heard now, too.