2016 FEB -Alpine Skiing
Mid-Winter Events, Fests and Deals
By Jeff Farbaniec
It’s no secret Old Man Winter’s been stingy so far, but as we approach mid-winter the region’s ski areas are in great shape. If you haven’t hit the slopes yet, now is the time. Conditions have been getting better with each passing week, and hard work by snowmaking crews has brought more and more terrain online. With a little luck and some help from Mother Nature, a snowy February is just around the corner. Here are some events and deals to help you enjoy your winter.
Gore Mountain has got a calendar jam-packed with competitions and events for the rest of the winter. Some highlights include USASA Boarder/Skier Cross at the Ski Bowl on Monday, February 15; the Saturday Night Rush Hour race for Nordic and backcountry skiers and snowshoers on Saturday, February 20; the Adirondacker’s Log Jam freestyle event on Saturday, March 19 and Maple Day on March 26. On top of that, there are skiing and snowboarding clinics just about every single weekend. For details, check goremountain.com.
For kids who enjoy a little friendly competition, how about signing up for one of the Willard Cup Races? This series of fun races is held throughout the season at Willard Mountain and is open to all skiers under the age of 14. Upcoming race dates include Saturday, February 6; Thursday, February 18; Saturday, February 27; and Saturday, March 12. Points are awarded at each race and tallied at the end of the season for prizes. For more info, visit willardmountain.com. Also, Gore’s got their Mini-Shredders Jibfest freestyle competition for kids 10 and under on Saturday, February 27.
Upcoming competitions at Whiteface include their Big Air Competition, Sunday, February 7 in the Brookside terrain park, and the Apple Butter Open mogul competition on Saturday, March 26. For details, go to whiteface.com. Titus Mountain in Malone has their Winter Wars Rail Jam on Saturday, February 13 and USASA Slopestyle Event on Sunday, February 21. Visit titusmountain.com.
For cross-country skiers, the Lake Placid Nordic Fest is surely one of the highlights of the winter, with 6.25-mile and 12.5-mile Citizens Challenge Races on Saturday, February 20 and the Lake Placid Loppet, considered one of the best citizen races in North America, on Sunday February 21. Competitors in the Loppet can choose between 25K and 50K distances – and classic or freestyle technique – on a course that is a slightly modified version of the 50K course used in the 1980 Olympics. Learn more at whiteface.com.
On this next event, you can participate as a competitor or be a spectator at Lake Placid’s famed 1980 Olympic venues and the surrounding region in the 36th annual Empire State Winter Games, Thursday-Sunday, February 4-7. The games bring together athletes to compete in 19 winter sports. Venues include the Olympic Center’s Herb Brooks Arena, Lake Placid Olympic Jumping and Sliding complexes, Mount Van Hoevenberg, Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington, Dewey and Mount Pisgah in Saranac Lake, and Titus Mountain in Malone. For details on all events, go to empirestatewintergames.com.
Another great competition and spectator opportunity is the Lake Placid Freestyle Nor-Ams, Saturday-Sunday, February 13-14. Watch as ski jumpers fly the length of a football field and aerialists twist and turn in the air. Find details at whiteface.com.
For winter carnivals, the grand daddy of them all is the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival. The hugely popular carnival runs Friday-Sunday, February 5-14, and includes competitions, sporting events, fireworks, parades, and the famous Ice Palace. Visit saranaclakewintercarnival.com.
Skiers will won’t want to miss West Mountain’s Fire on the Mountain event (westmtn.net), Friday evening, February 12th from 7pm-midnight, with torchlight parade, bonfire, live music and drink specials. Oak Mountain in Speculator holds their Winter Carnival on Saturday, February 13. Come back a few weeks later for Oak’s Famous Cardboard Race on Saturday, March 5. Find more info at oakmountainski.com.
For cross-country skiers, full moon ski parties at Cascade Cross Country Center in Lake Placid (cascadeski.com) are legendary. The ski trails are lit for evening skiing under the moonlight, with bonfires, beer, hot dogs, and hot chocolate out on the trail network. The lodge provides a cozy fireplace, food, drinks, and a live band for a full evening of enjoyment. The next full moon party happens Saturday, February 20.
Maybe this will be the year you finally enter one of the local pond-skimming contests. McCauley Mountain in Old Forge holds theirs on Sunday, March 20 (mccauleyny.com), West Mountain holds it on Saturday, March 26 (westmtn.net), and Gore’s is Saturday, April 9 (goremountain.com). Hope for a warm, sunny day!
Thinking about upgrading your ski gear this winter? Check out one of the upcoming demo days, including the Alpine Sport Shop Demo Day at Gore on Friday, March 25 (goremountain.com), and the Alpin Haus Demo Day at Royal Mountain on Thursday, February 18 (royalmountain.com).
For deals, here are a few ways you can get the most out of your skiing dollars. You might as well save some green as you enjoy the best of winter white. Why Not Wednesdays at Gore and Whiteface get you a $48 lift ticket when you bring any unopened Coca-Cola product on any non-holiday Wednesday.
Take Your Kids Week at Gore (goremountain.com) is for kids ages 19 and under to ski or ride free with full paying parent all week, Saturday-Friday, March 19-25.
Whiteface has a Design-Your-Own-BOGO promotion (skitheface.com), where you get a Buy One Adult, Get One Ticket Free coupon that’s valid on Sundays, February 7, March 13 or April 3. See the Whiteface ad in this issue for details.
Ski Green for $17 at McCauley Mountain on Saturday, March 19 (mccauleyny.com), and Crazy Fridays with $12 lift tickets on non-holiday Fridays through April 2 (mccauleyny.com).
There are $20 lift tickets on Tuesday nights and two for $30 lift tickets on Thursday nights at Willard Mountain (willardmountain.com). Four-hour lift tickets are just $20 on Monday and Tuesday nights at West Mountain (westmtn.net).
Sadly, winter doesn’t last forever, so don’t forget to gear up for spring and summer at the 11th annual Adirondack Sports Summer Expo at the Saratoga Springs City Center, March 5 and 6. With 125 exhibitors and 8,000 attendees, this is an event you won’t want to miss! Attend the expo one day and ski the other!
Jeff Farbaniec is an avid telemark skier and Adirondack 46er who writes The Saratoga Skier & Hiker (saratogaskier.blogspot.com), a blog of his primarily Adirondack outdoor adventures.