Gold Parking at Gore Mountain

I skied Gore this past weekend. I had a chance to see the paid parking in action, and I wanted to layout my thoughts. You may or may not know, I was very vocal about this plan last year. I felt that adding fees after the pass deadline wasn’t fair. A passholder, unhappy with the new setup, had no option at that point, but to accept it.

I also felt that it was bad timing. The economy was in freefall. People were afraid that their jobs and their way of life, were in jeopardy

Finally, the way the pricing was structured – it hit the passholders the hardest. There was no bulk discount or pass, and for a family like us…we were looking at another $300 a year.

I give Gore a lot of credit for backing off the plan last year.

This year at the pass deadline, it was pretty clear that Gold Parking was happening. We went into it with eyes wide open. As property owners, we didn’t have much choice. We weren’t about to sell our cabin.

Currently, at the mountain, it’s hard to avoid the topic. On every gondola ride I took this past weekend, people were discussing the parking.

Core Gore customers, who have been coming to the mountain for years, feel betrayed. In my opinion a rise in the pass price, or the cost of cheeseburgers, or ski school, or beer wouldn’t be met with nearly the resistance of the paid parking. Why is that?

Economically, there will always be two classes. Those who can afford to live the way they want and those who must make tough choices about every single thing they buy. My family is definitely in that second category.

I think what bothers people most is what the chains symbolize. They seem to represent a divide between those customers that have supported and skied Gore for years, and those customers Gore would like to attract. Every time you step over those chains, it feels like management is whispering in your ear … we don’t care about you any more. What to do?

This past weekend very few paid to park up front. But on a weekend when people are parked down the access road, the paid lot will fill up.

Mountain management probably knows exactly what days will max out the parking lot. Instead of having paid parking every weekend, they could limit it to those peak days. It would avoid a situation where long time, dedicated Gore customers are navigating through the chains and the empty paid lot.

I think the best idea was proposed on Gore’s Facebook page. A woman suggested Valet Parking in Lot D. I thought that was a brilliant idea. The advantages are all there:

  • Revenue for the mountain
  • Convenience for the people who can afford it
  • No lost spaces due to barrier infrastructure
  • Less expensive plowing
  • No alienation of the current Gore customer base
  • No visual reminder of “haves” and “have nots”

I can’t see the downside of the valet idea. I think it could work really well, and generate revenue. The cost of doing it would be almost nothing.

Valet parking could create some decent jobs. The mountain could charge for the service, and I bet that tipping would become standard. I’d give a guy a FIVE if he did a good job.

It would also sidestep logistical problems. Currently there seem to be complications with plowing. And on days when all parking is free, barriers have to be removed or worked around.

There are other issues. Do you man the toll booth until the Tannery closes? Or do you let people who stay that late park free? If so, this shifts the burder even more onto families with little children, who aren’t as likely to stay for dinner and drinks.

Let’s face the facts, this is capitalism. Anyone can sell anything they want and charge any price for it. If the product serves the market at that price, it will thrive. If not, it will die. The idea is that customers have the freedom to vote with their wallet.

Our family is in a situation where we don’t really have a choice. We have land, and ties to North Creek that are strong. We consider it our home, even though our bills are mailed to a different address. We really don’t want to ski at another mountain.

For our family, Gore is a very special place. If you are reading this, you might agree. It’s a skier’s mountain. I think it’s got the best tree skiing in NY state. But it’s more than that.

Gore has a soul that Stratton or Okemo will never have. I think of Gore more like Mad River Glen. A mountain that is what it is, because there is a dedicated core of customers and employees that just love to ski.

Gore is not about being seen, or the bar scene, or having the fanciest car.  Gore is about family, and family history, and new generations of Gore skiers coming of age at the same place their parents did. It’s a great place with a great vibe. I’d do anything I could, to see that Gore continues to be that place, that we want to share with our kids.

10 comments on “Gold Parking at Gore Mountain

  1. A question: the valet parking sounds like a good compromise, but exactly how would it work?

    A valet drives a guest’s car to a far-off parking lot; how does the valet quickly get back to the drop-off area? That might be a 10-minute roundtrip. I’ve never actually observed how it works at ski areas.

  2. I personally feel that a valet option is correct for all the reasons stated by Harvey. I too own property in the area for 23 years,, but will not allow myself or my family to be hogtied to a community that does not have any input into how they are treated. When Great Escapes started to charge for parking, we never returned. Now they are in financial trouble, but refused to relent on parking fees. How many families park at cheaper lots or walk in? How many families go elsewhere? Answer: If you lost just on person it is one too many because you also lost admission, food purchases and game revenues. Not to mention return visits and goodwill word of mouth advertising. Proof of the pudding is people driving miles out of the way to save a few PENNIES on a gallon of gas.

    It is an expense that simply adds up. Now compare this to $10 for parking OR having no choice but to schlep further with kids and their gear Despite the fact that you labored to get the entire family to the mountain early.That labor often exceeds the labor of birthing because it lasts THE ENTIRE SEASON! Let Mike Pratt figure out how to get the valets back…..afterall he figured out how to create this colossal mess and that took alot more effort. gary hare [email protected].

  3. I think you’ve hit the reason the regulars dislike this idea most. There have always been haves and have nots, but at Gore it never was as obvious as it is now as we walk through the empty Gold (yellow?) lot at 8 in the morning with our skis and equipment and our kid’s skis and equipment. On your way back at the end of the day, be careful not to drop your skis on that Tahoe or Porsche as you go by. Wouldn’t want to set off their car alarm.

    Yes we’ve enjoyed the increase in terrain, the improved grooming and snowmaking over the years, but don’t tell us it must be paid for by making us walk an extra 60 yards through the Parking Lot of the Stars (PLOTS).

    This sort of thing happens when the dollar signs of potential quick cash block the eyes of management from seeing the cash cow that the long time middle class skiers represent at Gore. While these transgressions are understandable when the management’s age is less than the number of years the regulars have been skiing there, it is still inexcusable.

    It may be time to keep a good skin track open to the bottom of the North or Top Ridge. Screw the parking lot altogether. If I have to walk that far, it might as well be uphill.

  4. I too thought valet would be a good solution. Harv mentions some good questions…how long does the bus run? I would often stay till the bar was closing? Will there be a bus.

    I thought of solutions for valet. On all but the snowiest conditions…they have electric scooters in some big places. Otherwise you need a snowmobile/car to follow the valet. But you can charge 15-20 bucks for front door service, as opposed to 10 for still a long walk from the too big sized Gold lot. Cut 1/2 the Gold lot on all but the busiest days. Open Valet every weekend.

  5. I think you hit the nail on the head with your take on increasing prices in other areas to increase revenue rather then doing it through gold parking. People were use to things one way and now they don’t like dealing with what they see as a big change.

    I think ORDA is betting that the outrage with subside over time and they’ll have a new revenue source at Gore. Time will tell.

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