When visiting a ski resort for the first time, most people check out the trail map to plan their day. But whereas 30 years ago it was a paper map, today it is likely to be on a smartphone or computer.
Even though it might still feel like February as snow continues to fall on mountain resorts across the country, Northeast mountains are celebrating end-of season runs as they look ahead to summer activities and construction. Thanks to snowmakers and some great March snowfall, bases are still deep for those spring runs.
Loading the new Belleayre gondi. (Belleayre/Facebook)
Skiers and snowboarders loading Belleayre's new 60-cabin Catskill Thunder gondola can now make it from the lower mountain's Discovery Lodge to the summit in seven minutes. The eight-person cabin can move about 2,000 people per hour, at a maximum speed of 1,000 feet per minute.
Snowshoe in West Virginia is in a prime location for wintry weather this week. (Snowshoe)
The weather pattern change we have been waiting for in the East is finally here bringing cold temperatures and snow, while the West continues to be sunny and dry.
Going for the basket at Gore Mountain. (Gore Mountain)
Want to add a little friendly competition to your mountainside hike? Disc golf at your favorite Eastern resort is a great way to get outside with your buddies, perfect your throw and explore the mountain from a new perspective. Scoring is the same as golf - count the number of throws needed to get the disc in the basket.
Belleayre, Gore and Whiteface are the first Eastern resorts to partner with The Climate Reality Project I AM PRO SNOW Project. (Whiteface/Facebook)
On the heels of announcements for $28 million in investments at Whiteface, Gore and Belleayre, the three New York-owned ski resorts have pledged to be powered by 100 percent renewal energy by 2030, joining The Climate Reality Project I AM PRO SNOW 100% Committed campaign.
New project will create state-of-the-art skiing, lodging, dining and retail and year-round activities at Gore and Whiteface Mountains. (ORDA)
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the state will invest up to $20 million for major upgrades at Whiteface and Gore Mountains to attract more visitors and build on Northern New York’s bourgeoning winter tourism industry.
This could be the big one. No, really, it could be the mother of all Thanksgiving snowstorms. So hold the turkey. Hold the cranberry sauce. Hold the stuffing, and leave early - especially if you’re driving I-70 or I-80 - get a room and don’t forget the fat skis!
Snowmaking is the name of the game in the East when it comes to getting us out on the slopes early. Killington and Sunday River have already taken the lead as the first resorts in the country to open. We’re now looking forward to snowmaking temperatures as we scrape off the summer wax and eagerly anticipate making early season runs at our favorite resorts.
Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort has partnered with solar energy developer Nexamp in constructing a 2.3 megawatt community solar facility located on 12 acres of the resort’s property. Once completed, the Jiminy Peak project will represent the largest community solar project of its kind in the Northeast.
The New York State Senate has approved a bill that would allow the creation of public-private partnership to boost the economic viability of properties in the Belleayre Mountain region.
Gore Mountain in New York’s southern Adirondacks, managed by the state’s Olympic Regional Development Authority, will retire North America’s oldest triple chair. The Adirondack Express will give way this summer to a new, $6 million high-speed detachable quadruple lift.
The Adirondack Express II is not the only ORDA upgrade on the docket, as the office of Governor Andrew Cuomo said that an Albany construction firm will soon start rebuilding the Whiteface Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway, near Lake Placid.
The eight-mile road from the Town of Wilmington, open from May to October, brings visitors to the summit of the state’s fifth highest peak. The highway has fallen into disrepair over the years, but an expenditure of $11 million is expected to fix that, as well as related infrastructure.
On the other side of New York, Holiday Valley, near Buffalo, has opened the front nine holes of its golf course, and is just waiting for the rest of the layout to dry before offering all 18 holes.
Also, Holiday Valley’s Sky High Adventure Park opens May 2; the three-pool complex welcomes guests beginning May 24; a multitude of events dot the calendar from June to November, which can be found on their website.
While visitors are enjoying all these activities, summer improvements will take place, such as snowmaking enhancements, trail work and upgrades to the Inn at Holiday Valley.
Windham Mountain, in the Catskills, opened their golf course, the Windham Country Club, April 25 after rebuilding four holes that were ruined by Hurricane Irene in August 2011.
Windham is offering a combination pass for 2014-2015, which includes an unlimited membership at the country club and Mountaineer Series.
Stock-piled snow will be used for Windham’s Endless Winter Rail Jam May 24. There will be an Independence Day party July 4; the UCI Windham (mountain biking) World Cup Aug. 9-10; Oktoberfest Sept. 6; and the Ahimsa Yoga and Music Festival Oct. 4-5.
Photo: Windham Mt. piles up snow for May 24 Endless Winter Rail Jam (Windham/Facebook)
“Happy April,” exclaimed Gore Mountain’s Emily Stanton to SnoCountry.com. “We are open daily through Sunday (April 6). We’re asking people to visit our website or check ahead regarding the schedule for next week. We’ll have events throughout April.”
Winter Storm Hercules hit the east coast with all the strength of the mythological Greek figure, and eastern resorts are enjoying the wallop.
The first major snowstorm of the 2013-14 winter season rolled through the Northeast this past weekend, dropping up to two feet of snow on ski areas from Pennsylvania through Maine.
Snow guns in the Northeast are poised to do what the fall colors are already doing in the Mid-Atlantic states – burst out. Temperatures are finally dropping around the entire eastern region.
The Town of Johnsburg in New York’s Southern Adirondacks, wherein lies Gore Mountain, is using its cooperative relationship with FrontStreet Mountain Development to contribute to a better ski and ride experience at the resort.