WILMINGTON - The slopes of Whiteface Mountain are now open - for the summer.
The Olympic Regional Development Authority has announced the opening of its mountain biking trails, Cloudsplitter Gondola, and disc golf course at Whiteface effective June 18.
According to ORDA spokesman Jon Lundin, the organization implemented the disc golf course at Whiteface last year after seeing the growing popularity of disc golf at other resorts.
"Some staff had played before and Lake Placid High School principal Dave Messner, who is an avid player, helped with the course layout and planning," Lundin explained.
In disc golf, players use flying discs instead of clubs and balls to go from the tee box to the hole, usually a metal chain basket of some sort. The object of the game is the same as golf: Complete each hole with as few strokes, or in this case, throws as possible.
The course at Whiteface has nine holes, each about 300 feet in length. Starting and ending at the main lift, it follows some of the most popular ski trails, including Mixing Bowl, Wolf, Boreen, Roundabout and Lower Valley.
It proved to be quite popular as more than 650 rounds were played last year.
"It turned out to be a good family activity," said Lundin. "We found the people who were taking advantage of the gondola rides would see people using the course and would want to use it themselves when their ride was over."
Disc golf a Whiteface will run daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. until Oct. 11. The cost for nine holes is $5 per person with disc included. A season's pass is $35.
Also beginning June 18, the eight-person Cloudsplitter Gondola will reopen for the summer and carry passengers from the Main Base Lodge to the top of Little Whiteface. At the summit of Little Whiteface, an observation deck and picnic area awaits, as well as breathtaking views. The cost is $18 for adults and juniors (ages 7-12) and seniors (ages 65+) are $13.
Whiteface's 27 mountain bike trails will be open seven days a week starting June 25, but those anxious for a thrill can get started with a "bonus weekend" June 18-20.
Co-operated by ORDA and High Peaks Cyclery, the hand-built trails are open 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Guided tours of the new cross country "flume" trails will be offered throughout the weekend and Giant Bicycles will have their latest cross country bikes available for rental.
The downhill trails will also be open and will host the Pump Track Challenge at noon June 19 and a Super D race at noon June 20.
Day passes for the cross-country trails are $10 or $75 for a season pass. Access to the expert downhill trails require a gondola lift ticket.
Cyclists and spectators can also stop by the Wilmington dirt jump and skills park 5-11 p.m. June 19 for the Kyle Ebbett and Friends Jump Jam.
Some of the top pros will be on hand, but the contest is open to amateurs in all age groups and abilities with prizes to be awarded for style and creativity.
Other events during the Jump Jam include live music from Damaged Goods and a free showing of a local bike film. The evening ends with the feature film, "Follow Me."
The ninth annual Whiteface Uphill Bike Race is also slated for June 19. Riders from all over the country will ascend up the eight-mile long scenic Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway. Cyclists begin the 3,500-foot climb at 5:30 p.m. in group waves.
A barbecue dinner will be held following the race, and awards will be presented to the men's and women's overall winner and the top three finishers in each class.
The first Freaky Friday ice skating show of the season and the summer's opening Saturday night ice skating shows are also slated to begin this weekend.
The Freaky Friday ice show for June 18 is a fun, entertainment-based competition where skaters get the opportunity to demonstrate their creativity and style. A panel of local "celebrity" judges evaluate the skaters, not on technical skills, but on artistry and level of entertainment. Admission is free.
The Saturday night ice shows feature internationally competitive figure skaters performing their programs, or group numbers used during competition, under the spotlight in the 1932 Jack Shea Arena. The cost is $10 for adults, juniors and seniors are $8, while children six and under are free.
For more information on any of these activities and events, visit www.whitefacelakeplacid.com or call 946-2223.