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When the fall temperatures start to dip towards frosty, and those first minuscule snowflakes drift towards the browning grass, the snow guns begin to blast. Before long, Gore and West Mountains are covered in dreamy white, and skiers and snowboarders make a daily trek to the hills. This year, Gore and West Mountains have major improvements to show to the skiers and riders who make those early morning drives. Revamped lodges, additional snow-making, and long lost trails reopened are only a few of this year's mountain upgrades.
What's New at Gore Mountain?
Gore Mountain, the largest ski resort in the Lake George Area, is tuning up for a snow-filled 2018 season. Thanks to a large investment from New York State in the beginning of 2017, Gore will have some major mountain improvements for skiers and riders when the chairs take their first spin on opening day.
If part of your skiing and riding experience requires a burger in the lodge or a pint on the mountain, Gore Mountain’s lodge renovations are going to make you smile. The mid-mountain Saddle Lodge, located where the Adirondack Express II quad, the North Quad, and a flurry of other trails meet, has been completely remade. The building size has increased to 7,125 square feet, and occupancy has grown to 238 people – more than doubling both figures. An updated kitchen will serve hungry skiers and riders both food court options and creative, full-service meals. New restrooms and a larger lobby make a quick rest or a bathroom break more comfortable. After you’ve grabbed your lunch and a beverage, sit down and take in gorgeous views of the High Peaks. While the Base Lodge food court, the Tannery, and the Open Pit Grille offer a hodgepodge of tasty options, the improved Saddle Lodge is a welcome addition.
Gore’s renovations don’t stop at the Saddle Lodge. The old Gondola unloading station, located at the top of the Straight Brook Quad and originally built in 1967, has been converted into the Straight Brook Lodge. The original building is intact, and those who rode those bright red, four person gondolas will recognize the machinery on the ceiling and walls. What they won’t recognize are the brand new tables and benches, vending machines, and eco-friendly composting toilets. More lodges to use the restroom, buy a snack, or just warm up are a good thing at Gore.
More expansion is happening at the Northwoods Lodge, which is the building closest to the parking lot. The Northwoods Lodge holds the Snow Sports School, the Mountain Adventure program, and the rental shop. This renovation will add space to the rental and repair shop and the Mountain Adventure program, as well as improve food service for the Snow Sports School. For those who take advantage of the rental shop or like to demo top of the line skis and snowboards, Gore has invested in their rental and demo fleet of Rossignol and Burton products. Also, restrooms on the first level have been expanded, and a family-style restroom has been added.
In a more behind the scenes move to improve the visitor experience, Gore has replaced 136 older snow guns, ensuring that there will be plenty of snow, whether Mother Nature cooperates or not. Also, Gore started construction on Parking Lot G at the end of the 2016-2017 season. This new lot will add close to 200 parking spaces, reducing the amount of cars that have to park on the access road during those busy holiday weekends. Shuttles will run constantly to bring arriving visitors to the lodges and those leaving to their cars. If you’ve ever had to park on the access road, you know how important this additional parking lot is.
What's New at West Mountain?
West Mountain, a family-owned and family-aimed gem in Queensbury has also made some major on-mountain upgrades for the 2018 season.
The first item on the list of changes at West Mountain will thrill many longtime skiers and riders of the mountain. “The Cure” trail, a steep, double black diamond, has undergone a transformation. This short and tight trail was overgrown, resulting in snow piling in the trees above the trail and not falling to cover the ground. The team at West went to work widening the trail, adding snowmaking, and installing lights for night skiing. This legendary trail, once a rarely-open dream, has been brought back to life.
West Mountain knows that upstate New York winters don’t always cooperate with their plans. In an effort to make sure there’s plenty of snow to go around this winter, West made a big investment into their snowmaking technology. Upgrades include 20 SMI Fan Snow guns, which are those round, cannon-like snow-blasters that are perched high above trails and blow snow like a Nor’easter. Ten of these bad boys will be posted on the “Frolic” trail, seven on “The Cure,” and three more on the face of the mountain. There will also be snowmaking on the “Midway” trail, on the northwest side of the mountain.
Speaking of the northwest side of the mountain, The Northwest Lodge has been remodeled. New bathrooms, fresh paint, and a bar serving food and drinks will be welcoming skiers and riders for the 2017-2018 season. The Northwest Lodge adds additional parking and another location to buy lift tickets, crucial additions for those weeks when kids are off school and the mountain is busy.
West Mountain isn’t only a haven for skiers and snowboarders. Their tubing park ensures everyone has a thrilling day or evening, whether they’re skiers or not. A new, 500-foot conveyor lift has been installed, reducing time spent in line for those who want to rip down the hill. This conveyor moves about 1,500 people per hour, and makes getting to the top of the tubing park a simpler process. In addition, the park will now have a total of six tubing lanes. The conveyor lift will be used for more than just tubing, with the race teams, and skiers and riders taking advantage. A better lift and more tubing lanes equals more fun for everyone.
Get excited when those first flakes fall to the grass. Clean out your boot bag and get your skis or board tuned up. 2018's rendition of Lake George Area skiing and riding is going to be better than ever.