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Ski Tales: Gore Mountain grows with Burnt Ridge area

Ski Tales: Gore Mountain grows with Burnt Ridge area

Gore Mountain is living up to “More Gore,” a slogan adopted four years ago.

Gore Mountain is living up to “More Gore,” a slogan adopted four years ago.

Early this season, the area will open Burnt Ridge Mountain, an expansion which will add four new trails, plus two glade runs to a sprawling Alpine complex which already includes Burnt Ridge, Gore Mountain, Bear Mountain and Little Gore Mountain.

In late October, I was treated to a mountain buggy tour of the new addition.

My tour guides were Kurt Wissel, Gore’s assistant mountain manager, and Emily Stanton, director of marketing.

On a beautiful fall morning, we worked our way up the mountain on a narrow, bumpy work road that parallels the Sunway Trail.

We crossed under the Northwoods Gondola and Adirondack Express Quad Chair, just below the Saddle Lodge, and went part way down the Twister Trail. There, we picked up a new trail called Hedges which led us to the top of Burnt Ridge Mountain.

The view from there was spectacular. We could see clear to the Green Mountains of Vermont. And part of the scenery was the top stat­ion of the new Burnt Ridge Mountain Quad.

The lift towers had been put in place by helicopter about a month before, and the chairs on the

1.15-mile lift were hung just a few weeks after that.

Snowmaking pipes were all connected, assuring that Burnt Ridge Mountain will be up and running this season. Gore opens today, and the new lift and trails will open sometime during the second half of December.

Burnt Ridge Mountain is located northeast of the Gore Summit on the skiers’ left of the Twister Trail. The new Burnt Ridge Trails are named after great camps in the Adirondacks. The two most popular promise to be Echo and Sagamore.

Echo, a wide cruiser already designated as “Twister’s Sister,” is a long (1.15-mile) blue square trail (more difficult) with banked turns and some spectacular cliff vews near the top. At the bottom of Echo, skiers and riders can hang a left on a short run called The Gully and go back to the bottom of the Burnt Ridge Quad, or they can ski straight onto the bottom of Twister.

This season, Echo will be for recreational skiing and snowboarding only, Stanton said, but in 2009-2010, it will probably join Twister as a racing trail. In anticipation of that, a new timing building has been built at the bottom of Twister that will accomodate both trails.

Sagamore is a 1.23-mile black diamond (most difficult) trail that follows the lift line, crossing under the quad chair three times. Stanton said skiers will find it similar to Gore’s Topridge on Bear Mountain. But Sagamore is wider, tougher and has more vertical, she said.

The other two new trails are top and bottom runs with blue square (intermediate) ratings.

Cedars (.73 miles) runs from the base area to the bottom of the Burnt Ridge quad, while Hedges (.16 miles) connects the top of the new quad to upper Twister.

The new lift also services two new gladed runs — Sagamore Glades and Cirque Glades. Both are rated “most difficult.”

With the new lift and trails, Gore’s vital statistics have changed.

The ski area’s vertical drop has increased from 2,100 to 2,300 feet, jumping Gore from 11th to eighth in the East in that category. And Gore’s miles of skiable terrain have increased from 27.93 on 75 trails to 34.44 on 82 trails.

These stats include the Pipeline Trail, which runs from the base of the North Quad to the North Creek Ski Bowl with no return lift service. Last season, the Pipeline Trail was only open for special events and guided tours. This season, it will be open as snow conditions permit, Stanton said.

There is no lift service for Pipeline, so people who use it will have to arrange for their own transport­ation back to the base area.

The Ski Bowl at the Village of North Creek has a chairlift-serviced novice slope, a “park” with a halfpipe and a handle-tow serviced tubing park. It also has lighting for night operation.

Stanton also pointed out some improvements right in the base area.

Small tykes will be happy to find a new covered bridge over the

100-foot Snow Train conveyer lift — a moving belt which the kids stand on with their skis to get them up the gentle slope. The Bear Cub kids’ area will also have a new sculpted terrain garden with banked curves designed to help them turn.

The area immediately in front of the base lodge has been regrad­uated to improve the traffic flow of arriving skiers and the picnic deck in front of the lodge has been extended by about 10 feet.

And there is “More Gore” in Gore’s future. Stanton said more trails are slated for construction in the Burnt Ridge Mountain area and the North Creek Ski Bowl.

GORE DISCOUNTS

Skiers and riders who donate a non-perishable food item will get $10 off a full-price ticket at Gore through Dec. 19. Friday, Dec. 5, will be Sports Page Demo Day at Gore. Tickets will be $29, and ski and snowboard equipment will be available to demo. Dec. 3 will be the first Coca-Cola discount Wednesday. Skiers and riders who bring a Coca-Cola product on non-holiday Wednesdays will pay $38 for a lift ticket.

Regular weekend/holiday rates at Gore are $71 for adults, $55 for teens and seniors and $38 for jun­iors. Non-holiday midweek rates are $62, $52 and $35. Those 6 and under and 70 and older ski and ride free.

SWC ASSISTS BECKMANN

The Schenectady Wintersports Club has established a fund to

financially assist United States ski team member Chris Beckmann.

An Altamont resident, Beckmann was a guest of honor at the club’s 75th anniversay party Aug. 23 at Maple Ski Ridge. Coincidently, Beckmann first put on skis at Maple Ski Ridge. He went on to become World Junior Downhill Champion in 2006.

A downhill and super-G spec-ialist, Beckmann came to the celebration straight from the airport after summer training with the U.S. ski team in Chile. He spoke to the club about his training, and explained what it’s like to speed down a mountain at 80-plus miles an hour.

Beckmann has had a taste of the men’s World Cup circuit, which season resumes this weekend at Lake Louise, Alberta, and continues next week on the Birds of Prey course at Beaver Creek, Colo., but had been skiing primarily in NorAm Cup events. The first ones are scheduled next week in Loveland, Colo., and Winter Park, Colo.

In the club’s newsletter, SWC president Bill Schaefer said, “I announced at the party that we would like to support Chris’s efforts any way we can. This was motivated by our club’s traidtion of supporting local racers going back to Dot Hoyt before World War II. At the party, I received an anonymous donation of $100 toward the start of the Chris Beckmann fund.”

Tax-deductible donations, can be sent to SWC Chris Beckmann Fund, P.O. Box 228, Schenectady, NY, 12301.

OPEN HOUSE

Lapland Lake, Benson, will host an open house from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today and Saturday. If there is enough snow on the ground, the cross country ski center will offer two-for-one trail use passes on both days.

BELLEAYRE OPENS

Today is opening day at Belleayre Mountain, the New York state-operated ski area in the Catskills. The Super Chief high-speed quad and Lift 7 (triple chair) will be open, and three intermediate/expert trails will be open from the summit. Two trails and two lifts will also be open on the lower mountain, which features beginner/novice terrain. Tickets today are $25. Belleayre will also offer $25 tickets on four customer apprec­iation days:

Dec. 12, Jan. 9, Feb. 13 and March 13.

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