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Ski season underway in the Olympic Region

November 20, 2018
By GRIFFIN KELLY - Staff Writer ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - All of the state Olympic Regional Development Authority ski centers opened this past weekend. With plenty of man-made, as well as natural, snowfall, both the Whiteface Mountain Ski Center in Wilmington and the nordic center at Mount Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid had successful starts to their seasons.

On Saturday, Nov. 17, opening day, Whiteface had 711 skiers and riders, 428 of whom were season pass holders. By midday Sunday, the center had 600-plus guests. Less than 15 percent of the mountain's trail system was open to the public over the weekend.

Whiteface is also currently renovating the Base Lodge and Bear Den Lodge, both of which should be finished in December. The Bear Den Lodge will act like a one-stop shopping experience where guests can eat, lounge, purchase passes, rent equipment and quickly meet up with ski and snowboard instructors. The lodge is located next to trails such as the Hoot Owl Glades, Flying Squirrel and Otter, beginner areas where first-timers won't feel intimidated or in the way of more advanced skiers.

Article Photos

Skiers and snowboarders wait on line for the gondola to the summit of Little Whiteface at the Whiteface Mountain Ski Center in Wilmington Sunday, Nov. 18, the second day of ski season for all state Olympic Regional Development Authority venues.
(News photo — Griffin Kelly)

At Mount Van Hoevenberg, General Manager Kris Cheney-Seymour said this was a record in opening weekend ticket sales and rentals for the venue. Three-hundred-seventy skiers showed up Saturday, and about 200 on Sunday. Thanks to Friday's snowfall and the nordic centers snowmaking machine, the Snow Factory, 47 of its 50 kilometers of ski trails were groomed and ready to go, making this the earliest planned start to the season for Van Ho.

"Opening day here has become somewhat of a local holiday," Cheney-Seymour said. "There hasn't been a time in recent memory where in November we had basically the entire venue open. These are mid-season conditions but very early."

A new hiking trail to the summit of Van Ho also opened recently. Cheney-Seymour said people who come for the hiking are also realizing they can ski at the same location.

Though Van Ho is sometimes regarded as a place for locals, Seymour said there were quite a few skiers from Canada, Vermont and the New York metro area at the ski center this past weekend.

"We have competitors (other ski venues) both in Montreal and Vermont," he said, "so it was really nice to see those crowds travel. A few people from Vermont told me there was just more skiing with better conditions over here."



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