November 2018 - SKIING & BOARDING
Get Ready for Ski Season!
By Collin Parsons
With the temperatures dropping and the last few leaves falling from the trees, the downhill ski season begins in just a few weeks. Downhill skiing is a favorite winter activity of many in upstate New York and there is no shortage of ski areas to choose from when the weather gets cold and the snow falls. Since last spring the ski areas of the Adirondacks and Capital Region have been busy with improvements to make the 2018-2019 winter season even better.
Whiteface, the tallest resort east of the Rockies has a tall order of capital projects being completed. They have invested significantly in their snowmaking capabilities, acquiring 180 new low energy snow guns, and replacing five miles of pre-Olympic pipe. These improvements will ensure system reliability and will allow Whiteface to make more snow in a shorter amount of time. Other on-mountain improvements include a new winch groomer, widening of several trails, and new conveyor lifts at Bear Den that feature bubble covers.
Off the mountain, significant investments were also made at the Bear Den Lodge. The expansion has been completed, including a new 6,400 square foot cafeteria called Growlers Grill, complete with amazing views of the mountain. The expanded lodge and revamped learning area will make Bear Den Mountain the perfect place to learn to ski and ride. Combined with the improvements to the main base lodge last year, Whiteface will offer a more comfortable experience to guests when they are away from the slopes.
Gore Mountain, New York’s largest resort has a similarly long list of improvements. They have completed the most significant snowmaking upgrade since the Hudson River was tapped. Pumping capacity was increased by 2,000 gallons per minute, and over 300 new snow guns were added to the fleet, many of which feature automation technology. This 42% increase in capacity will allow for more terrain to open sooner, and for better snow conditions on open terrain. Improvements were also made at the end of the Ruby Run trail to smooth out the entrance into The Saddle, and two new snow cats were added to the fleet.
The Gore base lodge received significant upgrades as well. A new two-level addition was added to the building to double the size of the Tannery Pub. The lower level of this addition will serve as a new headquarters for the Mountain Adventure seasonal program and more seasonal lockers. Improvements have also been made to the parking and drop off areas. With all these upgrades, Gore will offer an improved experience both on and off mountain.
While Gore and Whiteface are certainly the most well-known ski areas in the Adirondacks, they are most certainly not the only ones. Located in Queensbury and visible from the Northway, West Mountain also has a list of upgrades to be completed for the season. The Face chairlift was replaced with a new quad chair, allowing for a higher capacity, and easier loading and unloading. A loading conveyor was added to the West Express lift to allow the lift to operate at a higher speed. West is no exception to the many ski areas investing in snowmaking with the addition of 140 new snow guns and increased pumping capacity.
Moving further south, “New York’s Coolest Little Ski Area,” Willard Mountain offers an affordable, family friendly ski experience a 30-minute drive from the Capital-Saratoga Region. Willard offers terrain for all abilities from first-time beginners, to those seeking a big mountain feel on their advanced terrain. They will be starting the season with once again, more snowmaking improvements, and a new terrain park with five new jib features planned to be located near the upper meadow picnic area. The ski area is planning to open in early December weather permitting.
Moving southwest, Maple Ski Ridge is located 20 miles from Albany and six miles from Schenectady. The area has a vertical drop of 270 feet, six trails and two chairlifts. They are known as one of the top locations to learn to ski or snowboard in the Capital Region and their even an official Burton Learn to Ride center. New for this year, the snow sports school is a registered member of Professional Ski Instructors Association and American Academy of Snowboard Instructors.
Back in the Adirondacks, McCauley Mountain offers 633 vertical feet of skiing on 21 trails overlooking the village of Old Forge. With an average annual snowfall of 281 inches, McCauley has one of the highest annual snowfalls in New York.
Oak Mountain is located in Speculator in the southern Adirondacks and has terrain to suit everyone’s needs at an affordable rate. Skiing is on 650 vertical feet with 22 trails. The resort also has 21 features in the terrain park, an outstanding ski and snowboard school, snow tubing, and miles of snowshoe trails.
Malone’s Titus Mountain received a Best in Snow award from Liftopia for number one family friendly ski area in North America. The resort features 50 trails and 10 lifts across three mountains. New for this year, Titus passholders receive $15 off lift tickets at Whiteface, Gore and Belleayre.
Now’s the time to get your equipment and clothing ready so visit your local ski shop for their expertise, gear selection and tech services: Alpine Sport Shop, High Adventure, Inside Edge, Play It Again Sports and Sports Page.
GET FIT – Before the snow hits the slopes, prepare physically for ski season. If being fit is a part of your daily routine, then getting ready might seem redundant, but here are five areas to focus on during your workouts to prepare.
Quads – They come into play when you hold a sitting chair posture so simply holding this pose is a great way to begin. You can also do lunges and jump squats without weight. If you want to add weight there are lots of exercises at the gym you can do such as squats and leg extensions.
Calves – It’s important to have flexible ankles and strong calves that are not prone to cramping. Find a staircase and stand on the edge of a stair holding a railing. Then raise your body up and down to get a stretch on those calves. Do this once a day and you’ll be great.
Hamstrings – The best thing you can do to isolate your hamstring is stretching. Spread your legs and bend down, walking your hands from one leg to another. You can do burpees (squat thrusts) which are a great overall body workout. Also, try barbell dead lifts, but just be careful of your back.
Abs – Having strong abs will make you a stronger athlete in whatever sport you do. One of the best ways is to do planks. Just hold a push-up position for as long as you can. You can move from one hand to another, twisting your body and reaching toward the ceiling to work your side abs, or transition into similar side planks.
Running – Skiing can be hard work but it often comes in spurts so you’re going to need lung strength especially at higher elevations. Regular running is one of the best ways to increase the heart rate and perform your best on the mountain.
With so many great options for skiing in and around the area, there’s no excuse to spend all winter cooped up indoors. Get outside and enjoy all that the winter has to offer!
Collin Parsons is a Civil Engineering student at Clarkson University and an avid skier, getting out over 60 times last season. His home mountain is Whiteface, but he has been to mountains all over the Northeast. View photos and write-ups from his trips on his Facebook page, “Collin’s Northeast Skiing.”