Two snowboarders enjoy the view at Gore Mountain ski center from Bear Mountain’s Uncas Trail on Christmas Eve several years ago.
The Gore Mountain ski center opened the Ski Bowl Park’s tubing run for the season on Dec. 21 and the Village Slopes for skiing and snowboarding on Dec. 26. But not everything at Gore this past week went as planned.
Johnsburg Town Supervisor Ron Vanselow was scheduled to be the honorary guest for the official “Blessing of the Skis and Boards” Friday afternoon, Dec. 21 at Gore Mountain. Steady rain, however, dampened spirits and the event was cancelled, according to Gore Marketing Manager Emily Stanton.
Nothing got blessed.
“Although, the snow gods must have heard something,” Stanton said the morning of Wednesday, Dec. 26, as Gore Mountain and the rest of the East Coast braced for the first major winter storm of the season.
The winter storm warning was in effect from 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 26 through 7 a.m. Friday, Dec. 28. Meteorologists were forecasting 8-16 inches of snow in the North Creek region.
Gore has made a lot of headway this past week, opening new trails and lifts, and this fresh dumping of snow is expected to open even more terrain.
“We’ll just evaluate after the snow comes through,” Stanton said, adding that the snow could help open up some of the glades and connector trails.
Most of the ski season days, so far, have been warm, with some rain, but the nights have been cold enough to make snow. And Gore snowmakers have used every opportunity to cover trails with snow. The ski center was able to increase much of its open terrain this past weekend.
On Friday, Dec. 21, there were five lifts and 15 trails open — 25 percent of the terrain — with a base depth of 11-19 inches.
By Saturday, Dec. 22, there were seven lifts and 17 trails open, and by Monday, Dec. 24, there were seven lifts and 25 trails open — 40 percent of the terrain — with a base of 14-24 inches.
By Wednesday, Dec. 26, there were 11 lifts and 36 trails open — 56 percent of the terrain — with a base depth of 15-25 inches.
That’s every lift but three — the Hudson Chair (Ski Bowl), High Peaks Chair and Burnt Ridge Quad — and the High Peaks Chair was set to open Dec. 27.
Before the Dec. 27 snowstorm, much of the North Creek Ski Bowl was operational — minus the Hudson Chair, 46er and Half Pipe — with tubing, alpine skiing and snowboarding on the Village Slopes. In addition to the 800-foot lift-serviced tubing lanes and the Village Chair, Gore began offering snowshoeing and nordic skiing as well (including rentals).
“We are working on a 2K loop that will incorporate, but not interfere with, the areas we presently use for tubing and skiing,” said Gore General Manager Mike Pratt. “Multi-use terrain at the North Creek Ski Bowl increases the diversity of our winter activities, so more people can enjoy this region's recreational opportunities.”
Gore Mountain officials announced after the Dec. 27 storm that they expect to open the Hudson Chair on Friday, Dec. 28. At the time, there were 13 lifts and 73 trails open (80 percent of the terrain), with 15 inches of fresh powder and a base of 20-36 inches. That left the Burnt Ridge Quad as the only lift that wasn't open on Dec. 28.
Stanton said Gore looks forward to welcoming regional nordic teams that might want to practice at the Ski Bowl, plus visitors coming to North Creek by road or rail.
“The close proximity of the Ski Bowl to the train station also offers all guests of the Saratoga-North Creek Railway an easy way to spend part of their day on the snow, if they are looking for an alternative to skiing or snowboarding,” Stanton said.
Gore also held some events this past weekend. The Lumberjack Log Jam freestyle contest was held on Dec. 22 on the Lower Sleighride trail, and Gore welcomed its first NYSEF race of the season on the lowest portion of Showcase Dec. 22-23.
Also, the completely renovated Tannery Pub & Restaurant in the Gore Mountain Base Lodge — complete with brand-new kitchen, bar and taps, seating, and bathrooms — kicked off its busy live music schedule.
For more information, visit online at www.goremountain.com.