Gore Mountain: The Dog Wags Back

At NYSkiBlog, there’s no question that at times, the tail wags the dog. Yes, we’re looking for great conditions and interesting terrain. But we’re also looking for stories from New York and Vermont, at hills we haven’t covered recently, with bonus points for anything old school. It does complicate the search for snow.

Gore's Saddle Lodge

When I’m looking at ski options for the days ahead, I start my research on our NY Weather page. From there, I drill down into any one of our specific National Weather Service Office pages. Information from each of seven NWS eastern offices is the basis for these pages in our weather center.

Most often I use our NWS ALY page which covers Gore, McCauley, Hunter, Belle and Southern VT. It’s our most visited “office” page and to increase the value of the page as a planning tool, we’ve added Plattekill, Snow Ridge and Whiteface, even though they technically fall outside of the NWS ALY coverage area.  Those hills are often in the mix for me, when I’m focused on our NWS ALY page. I do also use our NWS BTV, BGM and BUF pages.

Sunway
Duck

After analysis of potential snowfall, the editorial side comes in to play.  What mountain is the story this week? How long has it been since we wrote about the mountain?  And, of course, how many times can Harv legitimately write about Gore in a single season? It does simplify life when the new snow is the story.

Last week things didn’t exactly go to plan.  The northeast snowfall map certainly seemed to be directing me to Gore, with a forecast snowfall that was only 20% less than Killington. This time, the forecast and logistics won out; I skied Gore. The ease of staying at our cabin, for two relatively cheap ski days, with new snow in the forecast… this time, the dog wagged his tail.

Kleetus!

When I arrived Friday evening, the ground was bare and my car scampered right up our steep driveway.  Saturday morning it was snowing as I headed over to the hill.  It was forecast to start snowing after 11am.

I met up with Duck just before getting first chair. Up top, there was most of an inch down, and first tracks were quite fun; farther down things got firmer. It snowed most of the morning, and by 11am it was really coming down. By mid-morning there was a pretty good crowd, but it didn’t last past about 1:30. It snowed all afternoon and the skiing was very good. It was fun throwing down tele-turns in soft snow on gentle pitches.

Sunway
Sunday Sunway

At noon, Duck had to jet, but I was picked up pretty quickly by JD, Eric and Kleetus. They found me, and I really appreciated the company. We made one trip up to Top Ridge, to ski it twice, but the skiing just wasn’t as good. The pitch of Top Ridge wasn’t holding snow as well as the rest of the lower mountain, so we headed back down. Sleeping Bear was my pick for trail of the day, but all of it was good, mostly.

I skied the whole day, with just two short breaks.  I don’t really do that anymore, unless the snow is excellent. When I got back to the cabin, I ate, downloaded my pics and crashed.  Sunday morning started with a 5am alarm, to drain the pipes and pack for drive home from Gore at the end of the ski day.

Wild Air

As long as I’ve know freeheeln, he’s skied every Wednesday and Sunday. He and fixheeln found me before first chair and we rode together.  As expected the new snow really improved the quality of everything.  It was actually best after it got a little cutup.  There was a lot of nice loose snow to turn in.

I feel compelled to reflect back the groundswell of positive vibes I felt coming from Gore skiers, about the product on the hill.  Through two major rain events Gore maintained a base that was thick enough to absorb it and remain skiable.  All open terrain was ready to rock when mother natured delivered eight inches of perfect and dense natural snow.

Gore Base Lodge

In the morning I booted in the lodge, when it was deserted. It sure is nice to boot up inside. I tried to follow the rules as laid out in the signage. I wore my mask indoors, I rode the quad normally, and I took one trip to the top of Bear with two guys I knew who were fully vaxxed. At the end of the day when I left the lodge was again, empty.

I saw some shade online about the crowds and lines at Gore. I guess technically it was crowded, primarily on Sunday morning. I’m sure it wasn’t close to a record number, but it was a lot of skiers for the amount of terrain that was open. Tip of the cap to the crew, from me. I think you balanced crowds and terrain pretty well.

14 comments on “Gore Mountain: The Dog Wags Back

  1. It was a good day, but I think they oversold Sunday. Lifelines 500 feet up sleeping bear and gondola lines so long they clogged the path to Sunway lift and adk lines all the way across the lodge… Doesn’t seem balanced to me. Appreciate your optimism and enthusiasm, but wish they would do better at limiting skiers when the uphill capacity is so limited. It was still a great day to be on the mountain with friends even if we spent most of the day in lines.

  2. I don’t think you can ever write about a rad spot like Gore too much. This place is one of the epicenters of New York skiing. Looking forward to joining you there one day.

  3. It was great to ski with you again Harv! Lift lines were long but didn’t seem a long wait, maybe it was the good conversations. The trails didn’t seem all that crowded and conditions held up well.

  4. Tm, don’t know if you are a pass holder or not. If you are not, how would you feel if they limited guests and you could not get a ticket? Better to wait in a line or not being there?

  5. Great to make some turns with you Harvey! Also thank’s for the feature!

    Have to do it again sometime, maybe McCauley next!

  6. Limiting skiers can’t be easy. You’ve got 8,000 (?) passholders who can come any time, so you have to estimate that. TBH I’m not sure how many Skier Cards they sell or what the rules are. Is there a simple formula where you can calculate how many will show up and then how many will be willing to share a chair?

    Add to that that this past weekend may have been the mountains first opportunity to really do some business. We all want cheap tickets and uncrowded slopes. Something has to give.

    I’m sticking to my original point, I think Gore did a decent job over the weekend. Sunday am was the pinch point and IMO not that bad.

    Shout out to Duck, JD, Eric, Kleetus and freeheeln, great to ski with you guys!

  7. Monday was a whole different scene from the Sunday madhouse. Crisp, clear, real short lift lines, and all groomed out. Gore has the best grooming around. They are working hard to open more territory which will be in high demand for the Holiday Week. Hoping Mother Nature helps us out up here soon.

  8. Green light, yes I am a pass holder but I don’t want to trade jabs. It’s just my opinion and I feel like that about all mountains. Passes sold should be managed in proportion to uphill capacity. If you don’t agree, that’s cool too. I can see your point.

  9. Since my last comment, I learned that Frequent Skier Cards are just like passes, you can’t be blacked out. “This was a lesson we learned from last year.” Basically for families to ski together Passes and FSC have to be treated the same, no blackout.

    At this time Christmas week seems to be unavailable for day ticket holders at Gore. The crowd on the hill will boil down to how many pass and card holders show up. In this scenario the question is, how many passes do you sell?

    I have no idea what the right number is. If this upcoming week is too crowded, all week long, MLK and Presidents too, then you could argue that ORDA sold too many passes. As a business owner, if you NEVER have a line you might be leaving money on the table.

    It’s got to be hard to estimate passholder volume because you don’t know the weather in advance. You could certainly be “safer” crowdwise by selling fewer passes, and trying to fill in with day tickets. But if the winter stinks, you might come up short.

    If the crowd is the same on say 12/26 as it was on Sunday 12/19 things should be better in line for the high speed lifts. Upper mountain terrain will help the lower lifts slow down.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.