Last spring, when I was driving back from New England, I could see this interesting mountain with ski trails in the distance as I approached Lake George. I knew that it had to be Gore, so I made a mental note to put this ski area on my “short list”. Well, Gore is a little further away than it looked, just up the Northway (RT. 87), a couple of exits from Lake George and then another ½ hour on a scenic New York State road.
BLACK MOUNTAIN LODGE
Gore arranged for me to stay at the Black Mt. Lodge, a lodge/motel that was recently purchase by a couple of people who are on the Ski Patrol. They told me that they were busy all summer renovating the place and they did a good job. My room was clean and comfortable. The motel atmosphere was enhanced by a restaurant that served the biggest portions I have ever seen. At dinner, the “local” sitting next to me could not even finish his pot roast and I had all I could do to polish off my clams over linguini that looked to weigh almost a pound. The bar was filled with members of the Ski Patrol and other “locals” and I would put this restaurant on your list is you like “no frills” food and plenty of it. Almost everyone left with a doggy bag! The folks who run the Black Mountain Lodge are friendly and really nice. Skiers and the local townspeople all frequent this place and this ski bum would eat there ANYTIME.
I woke up early and the sun was shining. The lodge was only a stone’s throw from the road to Gore and I was excited to visit this state-run ski area. It only took me a few minutes to get to the ski area. I parked in the lot and took the shuttle bus to the base lodge, although I could have easily walked.
Gore is a family mountain with a very loyal clientele and a lot of cute kids. Everyone I met was very friendly and although this was a big week for every ski area, the lift lines were short. I headed to the singles line at the gondola and there was only one person in front of me. Later that day, the line at the gondola looked a little longer, so I rode the triple chair where the wait was very, very short.
I liked Gore a lot. The are a plenty of well-groomed intermediate trails that were really fun to ski. There are 11 lifts, 344 skiable acres and 86 trails. There is snowmaking on 95% of the mountain and they do a really good job grooming the trails. They rate 30% of their trails as Advanced / Expert, 60% Intermediate and 10% Beginner trails. They have a 1024′ vertical and the longest trail is 2.9 miles. The peak is 3600′.
I spent most of my time skiing the trails serviced by the gondola, Adirondack Triple Chair and Topridge triple. It was very windy on top, so I decided to pass on riding the Straightbrook Quad to the summit that day. I had fun skiing intermediate trails like Showcase, Twister, and expert runs like Kilcare Glades, Uncas, and Topridge on my first day at this fine ski area.
The next day, it wasn’t sunny but the wind had died down, so I checked out the rest of the mountain. I headed right over to the Straightbrook Quad and spent most of the day skiing expert trails like Lies, Hawkeye, Chatiemac and others serviced by that quad chair. I also explored the trails on the north face serviced by the North Quad chair and really had a good day skiing those trails. Gore doesn’t have a reputation for a lot of tough trails but if they ever let their expert trails get bumped-up, they will challenge the most experienced expert skiers.
I ate at the Saddle Lodge mid-mountain and enjoyed the food at the BBQ on the porch of the base lodge. After skiing, I went into the bar for a beer and some relaxation. They had a singer belting out songs in the bar and found a use for their old ski gondola cars. Everyone I met at this ski area was very friendly and my entire experience was very positive. Over all, I would give Gore excellent marks. Even the bathrooms were above average, I really liked the knotty pine stalls and doors in the john in the base lodge. This was just another nice touch.
As you can see, I really had a good time at Gore and I’ll ski there again. Now I know why their customers are so loyal. Gore is a nice mountain, easy to get to without any of the “airs” you find at some other mountains. I’m sorry I didn’t have more time to ski Gore, but to quote Arnold, “I’LL BE BACK.”