January 2018 - ALPINE SKIING & RIDING
Making the Most of Your Ski Season
By Jeff Farbaniec
We’ve had a fantastic start to the ski season. Cold weather arrived in early November, allowing many ski areas to open ahead of schedule, and Mother Nature’s been generous with snowfall. Trail counts have risen steadily, with many areas now at or near 100% open. The best part of the ski season is at our doorstep, so if you haven’t gotten out yet, now’s the time. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your ski season.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s been hard to miss the media hype surrounding the unusually cold weather we had in December and early January. Who would have thought that terms like Polar Vortex and Bomb Cyclone would become part of our everyday vocabulary? So let’s start off with some cold weather skiing tips.
· Rule #1 is no exposed skin – That means face mask, goggles and neck warmer. A frostbitten nose is no fun.
· Rule #2 is to get out of the wind and cold whenever possible – Take frequent lodge breaks, and ride the gondola, tram or bubble lift whenever possible. Ski the glades rather than exposed, windy trails.
· Rule #3 is to layer up – A wicking base layer, bulky insulating layers of fleece or down, and a windproof outer layer should all be part of your wardrobe. I’ve been known to double-up on the fleece on exceptionally cold days. Chemical hand and toe warmers and heated boots are a matter of personal choice. If they work for you, by all means use them. Bring along an extra set or two for skiers in your party who may be less well prepared.
Most important of all, know when to quit. If it’s just too cold for you to enjoy skiing, stay home. The lifts will spin another day.
There are a ton of events and deals coming up. One of the best is I Ski NY’s Discover NY Skiing Day on Thursday, January 18. Skiers and riders can enjoy ski areas across New York with heavily discounted lift tickets including Gore and Whiteface ($24), West, Willard, Titus and Oak ($12) and many others. Buy Discover NY Ski Day tickets online at iskiny.com. Learn to ski or ride packages are also available beginning at $25. If January 18 doesn’t work for you, consider buying “I Ski NY Anytime” discounted tickets. More than two dozen deals are available from $24 to $62.
Other great deals include:
· West Mountain’s Monday and Tuesday Night Lift Ticket Special, with $20 4-hour lift tickets available all season long, non-holiday after 3pm (westmtn.net).
· Night skiing at Willard Mountain Tuesday through Friday all season long, non-holiday for $25 (willardmountain.com).
· “Take Your Kids to Gore Week.” Kids ages 19 and under ski or ride free with a full paying parent all week, Saturday-Friday, January 20-26 (goremountain.com).
· Whiteface “Give Back Sundays.” Skiers and riders receive 50% off their lift ticket. Whiteface partners with a different community non-profit each month during the winter season (whiteface.com).
· “Why Not Wednesdays” with $48 lift tickets to Gore or Whiteface when you bring any unopened Coca-Cola product on non-holiday Wednesdays throughout the ski season.
A highlight of every winter is the World Cup Freestyle event, which returns to the Olympic Jumping Complex in Lake Placid Friday and Saturday, January 19 and 20, with two nights of aerials competition under the lights. Visit whiteface.com for event information and to purchase tickets.
Skiers and riders who’d like to partake in a little friendly competition themselves should put these races on their calendar:
· Monday Night Racing at West Mountain – Every Monday night all season long beginning January 8 (westmtn.net).
· Gore Mountain’s Restaurant Race – Race down Gore’s recreational course for your favorite restaurant on Monday, January 29 (goremountain.com).
· Gore Mountain Olympic Challenge – Race for your favorite country or family’s origin, Saturday, February 24 (goremountain.com).
· Race a leprechaun in Gore Mountain’s Irish Spirit Race on Saint Patrick’s Day, Saturday, March 17 (goremountain.com).
· The Willard Cup is a fun race series for kids, with five races beginning Saturday, January 13 (willardmountain.com).
· For Nordic skiers, there’s the Ski Bowl Citizens Race series on five consecutive Tuesdays nights, January 16 through February 13 at the Gore Ski Bowl (goremountain.com).
· The highlight of the Nordic racing season is the Lake Placid Loppet on Saturday, March 17. There are 25K and 50K classic and freestyle technique events, as well as shorter Citizen’s Challenge races. Details are at mtvanhoevenberg.com.
· Last, who doesn’t love a torchlight parade? Mark your calendars for Gore’s Torchlight Parade & Fireworks Spectacular on Sunday, January 14 (goremountain.com), as well as West Mountain’s “Fire on the Mountain,” on Friday, February 16 from 7pm to midnight (westmtn.net).
And when it’s finally time to put away your skis, mark your calendar for the 13th annual Adirondack Sports Summer Expo at the Saratoga Springs City Center on March 17 & 18. With 150 exhibitors expected, this will be an event you won’t want to miss!
Jeff Farbaniec of Saratoga Springs 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.