We’ve had several excellent ski days at Holiday Valley in New York. Unfortunately, this really wasn’t one of them. The previous day’s snow had turned to rain until 3am, when the freeze returned, followed by 4 inches of super light pow. By the time I arrived, there was little of the former left, but lots of frozen solid base that jiggled your brain cells at anything approaching cruising speeds. There were nice turns to be had, but a lot of less nice ones in between. It wasn’t a long day.
Further north in the Adirondacks at Gore Mountain, rain hadn’t been a problem and there were remnants from the recent storm adorning the upper mountain. The Straighbrook area, served by a fixed grip quad, offered some really excellent skiing – steep, smooth groomers and various pitches of bumps on Chatiemac and Lies that were guaranteed to get the circulation flowing on a cold, grey day. Another foot of snow and the multitude of glade runs would probably have been open. Some of these looked to hide some fabulous lines – worthy of return visit alone to play in these one day.
Only about 2/3rds of the mountain was open, but there was more than enough terrain to entertain me for a day. I interspersed long blue groomers off the gondola (providing welcome warmth) with slow chair rides to access some fine, advanced terrain. It was a great ski day on a mountain that looks to offer a lot of variety tucked away in its many nooks and crannies.
The next day, the sun came out, the temperatures dropped and the wind howled further north at Whiteface. After nearly freezing to death on a slow ride up the Summit chair, I decided that lapping the Cloudsplitter gondola and alternating routes down its 2400+ vertical feet was the way to spend the day. Before I knew it, 20 or so runs later, I’d cracked 50K vertical feet and it was time to relax.
These 20-ish runs brought some really nice turns on terrain that transitions from steep groomers and bumps alongside the Little Whiteface and Freeway chairs, to gentler windy cruisers like Essex and Northway. Similar to Gore, the mountain seemed a decent storm or two short of opening the steeps and trees in this area of the mountain. I bet the skiing is pretty darn fine when those ropes drop.
Holiday Valley 5400m vert, Gore 9600m vert, Whiteface 15,900m vert
Season Totals: 25 days, 203,400m vert
2 powder days