Ski Lines: New trails, lodge will make Gore more user-friendly

An artist rendering of the new lodge expected to be completed in 2023 at Gore Mountain.

An artist rendering of the new lodge expected to be completed in 2023 at Gore Mountain.

Gore Mountain is a sprawling ski area. Ski it end to end, and it’s likely you will never slide the same trail twice in the same day. 

But there are some challenges along the way. 

Take Pipeline, for example. It is a long, mainly flat traverse that winds from the base of Gore Mountain’s North Chair over to the Peaceful Valley trail at the Ski Bowl. It is no one’s favorite. Skiers must pole much of the way — and, for snowboarders, it is a cross country slog. These days, when open, it is the only way to cross over on snow from the main mountain layout to the appealing and lightly used trails at the north end of the ski area. 

But there is good news for next year. 

There will be a new trail cut from the top of the Burnt Ridge chair lift that will allow downhill skiers and riders to ski and ride downhill to access the Ski Bowl. What people will see when they get there is a new, four-person detachable quad chair that replaces the current Hudson Chair, and climbs higher on the mountain to access new, longer runs in an area at Gore that up until now has been overlooked by most. 

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This is all part of the $30 million development at Gore announced by the Governor last month. much of which is expected to be ready by next season. Also part of this will be another new trail from the top of Burnt Ridge to the base of the main mountain that will bypass the Echo Trail, which serves as the main race hill at Gore and is often closed to recreational skiers.

THE NEW LODGE 

While the new trail layout announcement was well-received, the part of the plan that has created the most buzz is the new lodge at the base of the Ski Bowl to be built on the site of the original lodge that was destroyed by fire more than a decade ago. 

This new facility, which will look out on the ski hill and feature a large front deck, will include a dining area, bathrooms, and rental and retail shops. It’s all part of a plan to shift some of the Gore base focus away from the current main mountain lodge, 

The existing Ski Bowl Minder Lodge will remain to service mainly the cross country ski terrain, which runs through the area. The Yurt that now stands where the new lodge will be built will be moved, but a location has not yet been determined. The town chair at the base where beginner skiers, especially children, often get their first taste of sliding, will remain as is.

It is intended that the Ski Bowl base will become the center of year-round activities at Gore. By deciding that the new lift will be a detachable, four-person chair, it will allow for easier access for both uphill and downhill riders, something planners hope will be a boost to warm weather tourism in the area.

With the easier routes to and from the Ski Bowl, and more terrain to ski and ride when there, it is expected that more skiers will migrate over to the area that was the location of the original “ride up, ski down”  acreage first used in the 1930s when many of those coming to North Creek to slide arrived by ski train from Schenectady.

While the trails should be cut and the new quad ready to go by next season, the lodge is projected to be done in the summer of 2023. These developments leave what is in place now at Gore’s main area as is, disappointing to some who had hoped to see improvements in the current gondola that was installed in 1999, the same year the recently upgraded gondola at Whiteface was built. Also, there are no plans now in place to modernize the pokey North quad, which has earned the nickname the “nap chair” for its slow speed. 

GROOMERS TIME

Gore, like almost every ski area in our region, has wrapped up its main snowmaking activity for the season. Over the course of the past few weeks, big piles of snow have been built along many trails that those driving the grooming machines will be able to move around to resurface cover that has been lost with the onset of longer, warmer days. 

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With some help from nature — like the storm last week — the season should easily go beyond mid-March with a good chance of extending into April. The combination of fresh snow, blue skies and moderate temperatures can still bring out the crowds, like those last weekend in our area.

This is often the best time of the year to hit the slopes. 

Don’t put those skis away yet.  

SHIFFRIN BACK

No one would have been surprised if Mikaela Shiffrin had backed off competing for a bit after her performances in the recently completed Olympics. 

But in addition to being remarkably gracious even after her disappointing results in China, she is resilient, too, and will return to the World Cup Alpine circuit for the Super G and Giant Slalom races this weekend at Lenzerheide, Switzerland. 

At 26 years old, she already has 73 World Cup victories. That leaves Shiffrin behind only Lindsey Vonn with 82 and Ingemar Stenmark with 86 career wins, and both of them skied well into their 30s. 

SPEED SKATING AT LAKE PLACID

The speed skating test event for next year’s World University Games will start Wednesday and go through Saturday this week at the newly refurbished Sheffield Olympic Skating oval on Main Street in Lake Placid. 

Athletes from 11 countries are expected this week for competition in eight individual events and three relays. 

Each sport that will be offered in the games set for next January gets a test on the competition site the year before; the big air, freeride and slopestyle events that will be held at Gore passed their tests in February.   

SALT LAKE CITY IN 2030?

With memories of the Beijing Winter Games still warm, planners are already looking ahead. 

Milan and Cortina, Italy have been chosen to host in 2026 but no decision has yet been made for 2030. The designated choice of the US Olympic Committee is Salt Lake City, the 2002 Games site and the last American host of the Winter Games. 

Other contenders believed in the running are Vancouver, which hosted in 2010; Sapporo, Japan site of the 1972 Games; and, Barcelona/Pyrenees, Spain. No timetable has been announced for the International Olympic Committee to make its decision. 

The United States will host the 2028 summer games in Los Angeles

Contact Phil Johnson at [email protected] 

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