Gore Mountain: A Big Step Forward

I skied Gore two days this holiday week and — all things considered — the mountain was in pretty good shape. During the week before Christmas significant rainfall wiped out the thin natural base leaving everything very firm.

first chair

It was great to see Gore’s snowmaking firepower on display. There were issues with the gondola both days, leading to lines that left me uncomfortable. I was grateful for the AE2 and ended up riding it exclusively in the morning.

The two days I skied were before the debut of the new Lift 6, so the gondola was the only route to the top. Both days I took it only once, to access Topridge and the summit. At one point on Tuesday I considered booting it from the saddle to the top of Bear. I’ve certainly done crazier things in my days.

the Saddle

At the time, one thing seemed odd to me. Both days were around 20 degrees which should be right in any skier’s comfort zone. But I was cold, both days. I didn’t think to much of it as my daughter was cold too, and Gore skiers on social media seem to be echoing my feeling.

Maybe it was riding above the guns on AE2. Or maybe it was the fact that avoiding the gondola pushed you toward three lifts — the AE2, The Topridge Chair and the North Chair — that are known for their windy spots. Maybe it was none of the above, all I knew was I was chilled to the bone.

Lift 3

I want to call out a few things I saw that are really good for Gore. The new Sunway chair in combination with the straightening and regrading of Cut-off, now renamed Pete’s Paradise, are kind of a game changer for beginners.

The chair is now the centerpiece of one of the best beginner pods in New York. There is a nice mix of greens and blues that are all easily accessible from the lifts single unloading platform. The work done on Pete’s eliminates the need for a midstation.

Hawkeye headwall

On days when conditions are firm, Hawkeye, or more specifically the Hawkeye headwall, can be downright shiny. The first day I skied, Tuesday, with the gondola issues and my concerns about the line, I was definitely late to the party up top. On Wednesday I got to the top much sooner and Hawkeye was definitely more skiable.

The new Dark Side chair has dramatically altered everything about the summit. The first hint of change when coming up on the Straightbrook side is seeing the lift over Lies. When you arrive at the top and come around the corner it’s a bit of a shock.

I tend to resist all forms of change. So I understand the feeling that somehow this was a bridge too far. I disagree. The lift is iconic and I wouldn’t be surprised if images of Lift 6 taken from Cloud start to represent Gore in marketing materials. More on the good news side, I spoke to a friend who worked for Poma over the summer, and he told me there is definitely a plan next summer to use gravel to make the liftline skiable again. I hope to get a chance to speak about this with Bone, Gore’s GM, soon.

I also want to give credit for the management of the gondola line. On my one gondola ride on Wednesday a teen directly in front of me had a traditional ski mask with holes built in for breathing. A Gore employee told him it was unacceptable. I could easily see removing him from the line and telling him to get back in line when he was compliant. Instead she held his skis and his helmet while he put his real mask on. It was kind and I was impressed.

It was a good couple days, and I liked what I saw at Gore.


Personal note: I write, in part, because I like to remember my ski days. Unfortunately I’ll remember this trip for the wrong reasons. When we arrived home Wednesday night I was sick. I haven’t had flu in decades, and this year I had my first ever flu shot. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. It is brutal.

With my wife’s help, I am fighting the battle of my life. It hard to get images of hospital bound patients from my head. And it’s easy to see how this thing could kill you. I never endured so many consecutive days of crushing pain. I’m still a perpetual optimist, but I am scared.

The loneliness is real too, and I’m not even in the hospital. A couple weeks ago I was whining about riding the lift alone at Plattekill. Now I can’t hold my wife or daughter, or even pet my sweet dog. Best case scenario, I’m looking at another week of isolation.

This isn’t a platitude, it’s a fact: I hope to see you out the the hill again this season.

45 comments on “Gore Mountain: A Big Step Forward

  1. Sorry to hear about getting sick. I always love reading your blog. Get well soon and I look forward to reading about more of your ski adventures.

  2. Hey man I hope you get better soon.

    Glad you’re optimistic on the changes at Gore. It’s a complicated mountain and stitching that puzzle together is going to be the work of many decades.

  3. You allude to a flu-like sickness, but much worse.

    Were you diagnosed with Covid-19?

  4. Your “chilled to the bone” comment caused me to immediately uh-oh. The chills are always a sign for me that I’m headed for trouble. I hope your feeling better soon, best wishes!

  5. So sorry to read about you getting sick. You have never been sick. Why get the Flu shot? It compromised your immune system. Hope you get better soon.

  6. I haven’t heard of anyone getting COVID while skiing, but I suppose it is possible.

    Sorry to hear you got ill. I hope you recover fully and quickly.

  7. Best wishes for a speedy and full recovery, Harvey.
    Note to “Alex”: please stick to skiing advise and not unproven anti-vaccination misinformation. Expressing that you were sorry about his illness would’ve sufficed.

  8. Liked your referral to “Lift 6”. Maybe a better name than “High Peaks”, sounding little less ORDA . Lift 6 goes back to Gores beginning, always favorite spot of the Locals.

  9. Harv, Thank you for the Gore report, I was there same day as your day 1 and it was bone chilling even though not temperature cold. I believe it was a high humidity day even though not that gray. I heartily agree on the improvements and the way the crews are dealing with things, though there were a few teething problems.
    I hope you are getting past this flu, it’s a hammer blow to the body and spirit, and if it is COVID take it slow on the recovery, I read that the long term effects can take months!

    Happy new year, here’s hoping your year only improves.
    Raoul

  10. Hey Harv,
    Sorry to hear you’re under the weather. Keep safe , rest and get well. The mountains will wait for you.
    PS – scotch and hot peppers always works for me.

  11. Oh no! I hope you feel better soon, Harvey. Maybe that’s why you felt so cold out on the slopes those two days.

  12. Like everyone else, I hope you feel better soon, Harvey. As an aside, I haven’t been to Gore yet this season, but a friend noted that schlepping over humps around the summit has been greatly reduced, so at least there’s that.

  13. My last day there was your first. It was my first time at Gore and I see why you think it’s special.

    Get well soon.

  14. Great write-up about an equally great mountain! I don’t think it can be overstated how big of upgrades the two new lifts are. Now we just could use some more natural snow!

    Get better soon Harvey! Hope to see you out on the slopes later this season!

  15. I hope you have a speedy recovery.
    I’m fan of the new #6 but the tranquility of the ride is gone. I think the crew rushed the clearcut swath through the beautiful trees Cape. I hope it makes a nice run.

  16. Thanks for the Gore mountain commentary. Bristol is my home mountain, but I love Gore the best. I am looking forward to some trips later this year. So sorry you aren’t feeling well. Get better soon. I look forward to and enjoy your mountain reports.

  17. Harv, best wishes for a quick recovery. You know I am a big Gore fan all year ‘round in spite of its many issues, but I will save comments for another day. Suffice it to say I was up again today, conditions were great, and getting better. Looks like a great week for snowmaking. The guns are going. Get better!

  18. Feel better, Harvey.

    I’ll make a few turns this weekend for you until you can get better and get back out there.

  19. I had the flu a few years ago and I didn’t get off the couch for a week, but I do remember a quick recovery. Wish you good health the rest of the year.

  20. Hey Harv
    Sorry to hear you’re sick.
    I too Love Gore but haven’t been there in 20 something years
    b/c I moved to North Carolina. Thank you for sharing it brings back
    great memories for me.
    Hang on, sleep it off you will get better and build up antibodies.
    Wishing you a speedy recovery!

  21. Best wishes for a speedy recovery! Glad to see Gore continues to improve- it’s a fun mountain with great terrain.

  22. Thanks for the write up. I like your perspective on the new lift 6. Please get well!

  23. Feel better soon Harv! Take it easy and recover.

    I avoided Gore over the holiday but on Monday did something at Gore I have never done before and I have skied Gore since the year it opened. I skied Hawkeye from the Summit lift! We used to call it lift 5 and 3/4. But I tried it just to see if it could be done and it was easy! I was going against the little traffic there was but this is a real option and I like it. And I don’t like change. But I often recite the Men’s prayer:

    I am a man
    And I can change
    If I have to
    I guess

  24. I love the men’s prayer!

    Thanks to everyone for the well wishes. Your thoughts warm me.

    Based on some comments, I guess I was unclear. I’m 100% sure I have covid. I haven’t had a flu in nearly 40 years, and when I did get the flu the worst of it was maybe a day, and nothing like this.

    No I haven’t been tested, it’s all I can do to keep drinking water and taking tylenol. If I got a test and it came back negative, I’d discount the results anyway. No test, positive or negative will change my behavior. I’m quarantined until Saturday the 9th. I don’t understand: you are no longer contagious 10 days after onset of symptoms, even if you feel like crap?

    I knew that if I included a note about my own situation, if would shortcut discussion about Gore’s improvements, and I did want to hear your thoughts on that. While I am still sad about the Dark Side liftline, ultimately I think the replacement of Lift 6 was necessary, and will be good for Gore. I’m going to talk to Bone about the liftline to see if he would be open to one or more volunteer workdays to help clear the line.

    Thanks again all.

  25. Sorry you got sick and I see on Facebook you’re getting better. I saw you at Gore on that cold day, in line for the Gondola. I knew it was you by the URL on your skis. I almost said hi, sometimes I read your blog, but thought that would sound dumb, and I know my daughter would have had issues with me approaching a stranger. Now, skiing at all this season has been a touchy issue with my wife, who is much more worried about Covid than me. So I guess I’m kind of glad I didn’t approach you and chat, considering your following diagnosis – she would’ve had me running out for a test and put me in isolation! And, though it did feel exceptionally cold that day – I think it’s because the sun hadn’t showed any rays for about a week! – did you ever consider you felt particularly cold because it was your first discernible Covid symptom?

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