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.
Today was 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. 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 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. I’ve got an 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…
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…