GREAT GORE TRIP
by Ann LoPrinzi

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We left central New Jersey for Gore Mountain not knowing what to expect. My husband Tom and I had never been to Gore, which is in North Creek , NY near Lake George . It was mid-March, temperatures had risen into the 50s, bike riders were suddenly appearing, and the mounds of snow were gone. The day before we left, there was a lot of rain. Should we even go, we wondered. So glad we did!

After five hours of driving north to the Adirondacks in New York state, it was winter again. Snow was everywhere, temperatures were in the 30s, and the ski conditions were great - soft snow with no signs of ice. The mountain was even better than we expected. Its 422 acres and 2,300 vertical feet, more than that of Okemo, Tremblant, and Stratton, gave us plenty of variety to enjoy for our short, two-day stay.

At Gore, there's the lower mountain and the upper mountain. The Northwoods Gondola, one of 13 lifts, was a good start. It goes to the top of the lower mountain and, like most of Gore's lifts, there were green, blue, and black options and plenty to explore in that Bear Mountain and Northwoods area. A nice green, Sunway, is off to the left and was good to get our ski legs moving. From there, we stuck with the blues - didn't matter which one - and we would go back to either the Gondola or its neighboring Adirondack Chair. Gore's terrain is 10% beginner, 60% intermediate, and 30% advanced/expert.

It seemed like hardly anyone was there that Sunday, but marketing manager Emily Stanton assured me that they serviced some 3,500-4,000 skiers that day, down from a typical number of about 5,000. After Presidents' weekend, she said, the season starts to wind down. However, there were still events planned through March, and Gore was still making snow in some places and planning to stay open until mid-April.

We were surprised to hear that three days prior to our arrival, 10" of snow had fallen. However, that was followed by a day of shower activity, and the grounds crew met the challenge with some aggressive grooming.

"What ski areas have to wrestle with is the cold temperatures after. The thaw-freeze cycles are a challenge. The groomers are skilled at taking advantage of different weather patterns," said Stanton .

The vertical drop at Gore is 2,537', the sixth largest in the Northeast. The average snowfall is 150" per year, and there are 102 trails, including 19 glades and eight cross-country and snowshoeing trails. They offer private and group lessons daily, as well as a nursery. There is lodging nearby, but we elected to stay in Lake George , about a half hour drive. That's where the more inexpensive chain lodging was located.

The Clarion Inn was a good choice. It was clean, just off the NY Thruway, right next to the outlet mall, and contained the necessary hot tub, pool, complimentary continental breakfast, and exercise room. Two restaurants were highly recommended to us. We did get to Beekman St. Café in Saratoga Springs , a little upscale but delicious. However, Tallulah's in Glens Falls was closed on Sundays so we missed that one.

The North Creek Ski Bowl was closed on Monday, our second day, so we were unable to check that out. So, with another day of no crowds or lift lines, we headed to the upper mountain, which is accessed by heading left after exiting the Gondola to Pine Knot trail, which leads to the Straight Brook Quad. From there, we turned right and eased down a nice blue, "Cloud." Afterwards, Tom hooked up with Bob and Lee from Utica and they enjoyed some of the blacks up top, including Hawkeye and Fairview . Tom reported that the pitch on those black diamonds was perfect for those deep powder days. Still nice skiing this day but a little crusty in spots.

An easy way to experience Gore is to sign up for a new bus and lift ticket package from Port Authority in New York City and Ridgewood , NJ , Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and daily during holiday weeks.

"More Gore" seems to be the theme of Gore's marketing campaign. After our very pleasant two days of skiing, that became our theme too.

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