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Whiteface summit elevator closed until next year

June 8, 2018
By GRIFFIN KELLY - Staff Writer ( , Lake Placid News

WILMINGTON - An elevator that takes travelers to the top of Whiteface Mountain which closed in the fall of 2017 will remain closed until next year as crews work on a complete reconstruction of the feature.

At the top of the Whiteface Veterans' Memorial Highway toll road there's a castle with a cafe and gift shop inside. From there, there are normally two ways to reach the mountain's 4,865-foot summit, where on a clear day one can see Canada and Vermont: People can either hike the rest of the way or go inside the mountain and ride the elevator.

For now, though, the elevator is out of order, so visitors who want to reach the summit should wear sneakers or hiking boots and be ready for a 0.2-mile hike uphill over bare rock.

The elevator was first constructed in the mid-1930s, so it has been in operation for nearly 80 years. Aaron Kellett, general manager of the adjacent ski center on the mountain, said the reconstruction is for safety reasons.

"It served its years," he said. "The structure was getting pretty weathered, and some of the steel was rusting. We just want to be safe."

Kellett said crews will work from this summer through spring 2019, and the elevator is expected to reopen that summer.

The state Olympic Regional Development Authority manages the highway and the elevator. Communication Manager Jon Lundin said ORDA doesn't have a final cost for the new elevator, but the authority has so far been working with funds from a $2.5 million state appropriation.

Lundin said even though it's a popular summertime attraction, bringing in more than 78,000 patrons a season, the reconstruction is necessary to maintain that service.

"It's going to be sleeker, faster and hold more people," he said.

Kellett said, "the elevator is definitely one of our most unique attractions. Being able to provide that accessibility is a plus."

The highway is open daily from June 1 through Oct. 8, from 8:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The cost at the toll house is $12 for a vehicle and driver (or $8 for military with valid ID), $8 for each passenger (or free for children 6 and younger), $10 for a bicycle or $50 for a bicycle season pass.



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