Monthly Archives: April 2012
I recently had a few minutes to sit with Mike Pratt, the general manager at Gore. I asked him a few questions about the season past, plans for the summer and the future beyond.
NYSB: Mike the 2011-12 season was obviously challenging in the east and across the US. How did it compare for Gore?
Mike: For starters, the season was a short. We were open for 111 days this season, compared to last year when we spun the lifts 137 days total. We had a late start and our earliest finish since I’ve been at Gore.
NYSB: Skier visits? Revenue?
Mike: Numbers aren’t official yet, but you are going to see both of those figures down by maybe 15%.
I spent the day Monday watching the NWS radar in total disbelief: a huge, swirling, stalled storm was dropping snow on western New York and Pennsylvania. It was hard not to think, “why couldn’t this have happened in February?”
But something was different about this “after the bloom” storm; there were shades of blue, grey, and white over the higher terrain, and up to 24″ was expected when things were said and done.
Seven Springs was tweeting that they were going to spin the lifts. My skis and boots came out of the closet in the afternoon, but I still wasn’t sure would drive west towards the snow. For years I’ve ranted about ski areas closing with perfectly good snow on the ground, and I felt the need to put my money, time and fuel where my mouth is.
This summer Gore is planning to expand use the mountain’s facilities and terrain to attract more visitors to North Creek. From Memorial Day to Labor Day the Northwoods Gondola will operate from noon to 3pm on weekends. In addition, the gondola will run seven days a week from July 7 through September 3, 2012.
The lift will serve 1700 feet of downhill mountain biking. Gondola hours are structured to allow convenient access for passengers along the Saratoga North Creek railroad. The newly renovated Gear Source on Ordway Lane in North Creek will serve as a primary source of rental mountain bikes in town.
In addition there are plans to offer interpretive hikes, guided hikes from the summit of Bear Mountain, and a climbing wall on the lawn in front of the base lodge. Other base area attractions will include food and entertainment on Friday afternoon/evenings in July and August. A weekly cooking class is being considered, in addition to instruction or camps on mountain biking and photography.
This year I’ve taken a relaxed approach to the end of ski season. I’ve put storage wax on but left my the skis by the door. To some extent I’ve been right and wrong. Local hills have long since abandoned attempts to stay open and the lucky few who skied the recent dump in the Greens surely know that the curtain is lowering on winter.
My unhurried approach this spring is the result of a secret card I’ve had up my sleeve, a trip booked months ago to the far reaches of the Northeast, the Gaspe Peninsula of Quebec. The area is home to the Chic Choc mountains, a backcountry paradise of huts and deep snow at the tip of the Appalachian range. What follows is my first taste of adventure in this exceptional place, although I am sure that this could easily become a yearly installment.
Read this issue of NY Ski Magazine:
Chic Chocs, QC: The Long Road to Paradise