LAKE PLACID - The state Olympic Regional Development Authority boasted Tuesday, March 18 a successful year, with new marketing campaigns and a busy schedule of events.
No update was given to the board at it's quarterly meeting on the $9.4 million proposed for ORDA in the governor's Executive Budget. ORDA President/CEO Ted Blazer said that information would become available after April 1, the deadline for a state budget.
Blazer said ORDA's three ski centers were doing well in December but then fell below their projections in January due to bad weather. Overall, he said they are still exceeding expectations so far this year.
"We are one million dollars ahead of last year," Blazer said. "We are on good track for March, to control spending and make more revenue."
Season pass sales since last winter are up 15 percent, or about $500,000, Blazer said.
"We all worked together, all three ski resorts," Blazer said. "We developed the Ski3 season pass."
The Ski3 season pass developed last year. It costs $759 for one full season and skiers get access to all three mountains. ORDA operates Whiteface, Gore and Belleayre.
There were a handful of marketing campaigns Blazer addressed at the meeting. He highlighted a partnership that was made with Coca Cola for college marketing, where messages were placed on vending machines at 27 college campuses across the state, offering a $100 off coupon at ORDA ski centers. Blazer said that was a success.
"We came up with 400 new names into our system (because of that marketing campaign)," Blazer said.
Blazer then spoke about the events the ski centers and Olympic facilities hosted this winter. Chairman Pat Barrett said everyone at ORDA did a great job on the Adirondack Winter Challenge, a new event in which Gov. Andrew Cuomo invited lawmakers from Albany to Lake Placid for a day of winter recreation.
"The governor was very pleased," Barrett said. "It was just a great day."
ORDA board member Ed Weibrecht brought up Cuomo's ski bus plan, which was announced at the Winter Challenge, asking if their was any new information. The plan is part of the I Ski New York initiative. The program would bus people from New York City to upstate ski centers, including Whiteface, Gore and Belleayre. It would also bus people from Toronto to western New York ski centers. Weibrecht said he could imagine people taking the trip up.
"This is a huge opportunity," Weibrecht said. "This is a potential home run."
At the ski centers
The World Cup Freestyle ski competition at Whiteface and the ski jumps was one of the highlights for ORDA this winter. It had around 5,000 people in attendance, Blazer said.
"We had more people than ever attend that event at the Olympic Jumping Complex," Blazer said.
At Gore, the board was briefed on new snowmaking machines, trails that were made connecting all four peaks, the new F15 Echo trail and group trips from Canada.
Blazer said with the new guns ORDA turned 320 million gallons of water into snow with fewer operating hours.
"They became much more efficient this year with their snowmaking," Blazer said. "They pumped more water through their system than ever before."
At Belleayre, the new Discovery Marketplace food court was recently opened, and the rental shops were given all new products including boots and skis. A Belleayre advertisement was shown at the meeting.