Category Archives: ORDA
Friday morning at Mount van Hoevenberg, it was quiet. Only the squeak of our skis on wicked cold snow broke the silence. My friend Colin and I had van Ho to ourselves for the ritual pre-race warmup. The Lake Placid Loppet loomed.
Adored and cursed, the Loppet has been my muse for over 20 years. The hardest race in the northeast, it’s the standard by which I judge the difficulty of any other race. Although I’ve had some good finishes, I’ve not yet made my coveted goal of a three-hour finish, and time’s running out for that.
The Loppet basically follows the 25 km loop used for the Olympic 50 km race. You ski it once for the Kortloppet, or twice if you’re a damn fool with an inclination to suffer. Each loop features four hors categorie climbs, multiple category 1 and 2 climbs and innumerable little hills that, to paraphrase Paralympian Bill Henry, just wear you out.
Originally a freestyle race, the organizers changed things up some years ago to attract more skiers. You can sign up for either the 25 km Kortloppet or the full 50 km sufferfest, and you can choose to ski either distance classic technique or freestyle. The organizers stagger the start times: Fifty km classic goes out first, followed by the 25 km classic; then 50 freestyle and 25 freestyle.
|2004 – 2005||181,759||$7,205,841|
|2005 – 2006||180,440||$7,836,129|
|2006 – 2007||166,145||$8,052,883|
|2007 – 2008||214,108||$10,469,789|
|2008 – 2009||185,113||$9,060,533|
|2009 – 2010||192,018||$9,367,859|
|2010 – 2011||213,235||$10,479,362|
|2011 – 2012||164,952||$9,025,507|
|2004 – 2005||212,703||$6,625,483|
|2005 – 2006||207,299||$6,524,448|
|2006 – 2007||209,353||$6,843,002|
|2007 – 2008||238,467||$8,411,108|
|2008 – 2009||230,791||$8,612,670|
|2009 – 2010||218,166||$8,410,045|
|2010 – 2011*||217,032||$8,138,846|
|2011 – 2012||(not reported)||$7,085,546|
Sources: ORDA Annual Reports
(*2010-2011 Gore numbers are estimated by ORDA)
A recent editorial in the Glens Falls Post Star asked the question: “How much longer can New York taxpayers continue to subsidize ski centers at Whiteface and Gore Mountain?”
The next paragraph yielded a vague response: “It’s time for state officials to rethink the financial and ownership model that has sustained them for the past 30 years.”
With a sluggish economy and state and local tax revenues in decline, there’s no question that public funding for everything is becoming problematic. While the editorial poses a legitimate question, it ignores some important issues, and has logical inconsistencies that make it hard to take seriously.
The piece states further that ORDA operates “vitally important tourist attractions, generating tens of millions of dollars each year in business revenue, sales tax and occupancy tax money. Their continued operation and maintenance is vital to the state and regional economies.”
The conclusion is that venues currently run by ORDA should continue to operate, but must be privatized to relieve the state of investments for infrastructure and operations. Unfortunately, it’s just not that simple.
One member of the NY Ski Forums pointed out what he called the “constitutional elephant” in the room — i.e. the editorial makes no mention of Article 14 of the NY state constitution, which clearly states that forest preserve lands “shall not be leased, sold or exchanged, or be taken by any corporation, public or private, nor shall the timber thereon be sold, removed or destroyed.”
The state constitution could be amended. During World War II, when titanium was discovered at the Tahawas iron mine, after lengthy discussion, an exception was made. But amending the constitution isn’t a simple matter and challenges would come from many directions.
Last year, the board of directors for ORDA, New York’s Olympic Regional Development Authority, authorized Ted Blazer to negotiate a new contract with Centerplate, the concessionaire for the authority.
Part of the deal requires Centerplate to invest in the ORDA venues. Gore Mountain is targeting the public lodges for this capital improvement.