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Skiing starts Saturday

State opens Whiteface, Gore 6 days ahead of schedule

November 15, 2017
By ANDY FLYNN - Editor (news@lakeplacidnews.com) , Lake Placid News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the state Olympic Regional Development Authority will open the Whiteface and Gore mountain ski centers on Saturday, almost a week ahead of schedule.

Crews at Whiteface in Wilmington and Gore in North Creek began making snow on Nov. 7, giving them a head start on creating a base for natural snow to follow. Overnight and some daytime temperatures have been cold enough for snowmaking to continue around the clock, and the National Weather Service is calling for a rain/snow mix this weekend in Lake Placid with highs in the 30s and lows in the teens and 20s through early next week.

"Winter tourism is a key economic driver for both the Adirondack and Catskill regions," ORDA President and CEO Mike Pratt said in a press release. "We are excited to welcome our guests back to the ski areas."

Article Photos

Whiteface Mountain Ski Center in Wilmington makes snow on Monday.
(Photo provided by ORDA)

Skiing and riding at the state's 51 ski centers attracts generates $1 billion for the state's economy every winter season, according to the governor's office.

"From skiing to skating, New York offers a wide array of thrilling seasonal activities, attracting millions of visitors all winter long," Cuomo said in the release. "With over 50 world-class ski resorts across the state, I encourage everyone to come discover the unparalleled recreational opportunities that New York has to offer."

Whiteface will open with summit-to-base skiing and snowboarding off Little Whiteface, using two lifts - the Bear lift and Cloudsplitter gondola - on six trails: Excelsior, Summit Express, Upper Valley, Lower Valley, Fox and the Mixing Bowl. Gore is expected to open with five trails - Showcase, Lower Sleighride, Stokes, 2B and Arena - all serviced by the Adirondack Express gondola.

Article Map

As for opening days, ORDA has made the most of early-season cold weather and snow for the past several years. Last year it opened Whiteface and Gore a day early, on Thanksgiving, Nov. 24, and closed on Easter Sunday, April 16. ORDA always targets the day after Thanksgiving as opening day, but that changes with the weather every year.

In 2015, Whiteface crews began making snow during the cold nights on Nov. 13, and the ski center opened on Thanksgiving Day and closed on April 17. The 2015-16 season was the worst on record for skiing, finances and weather at Whiteface, yet March snow extended the 2015-16 season after a dismal showing by Mother Nature; 58 inches of snow and 17 inches of rain fell. Last year, Whiteface tallied a "record-breaking" 281 inches of snow, thanks in part to about 40 inches of snow that fell during the March 14-15 nor'easter.

In 2014, conditions were good enough to open on Nov. 16, 12 days ahead of schedule. Whiteface opened on Nov. 15 - two weeks ahead of schedule - for the 2013-14 season and Nov. 17 - six days ahead of schedule - for the 2012-13 season.

Meanwhile, ORDA officials plan to open the Belleayre Ski Resort in the Catskills on Friday, Nov. 24, the same day they expect to open the Mount Van Hoevenberg Cross-Country Ski Center in Lake Placid, according to ORDA spokesman Jon Lundin. Crews have been making and stockpiling snow since October using the SnowFactory at Mount Van Hoevenberg. As of press time, no decision had been made on how many trails will be open.

Last year, the Mount Van Hoevenberg Cross-Country Ski Center was open for 138 days, starting the season on Nov. 21 with more than a foot of natural snow on the ground and closing on April 12. The previous year, the trails were only open for 37 days due to unseasonably warm temperatures.

For more information, including the latest ski conditions, visit www.whiteface.com.

 
 

 

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