By Maureen Werther
Gore Mountain was a hub of construction activity over the summer. It involved three separate projects, all designed to enhance skiers’ enjoyment t the facility, both indoors and outdoors.
When everything is complete, a total of $12.5 million will have been spent on expanding the Tannery Bar and Restaurant on the Base Lodge’s upper level, with an expansion of the locker areas and the Mountain Adventure kid’s ski school program.
On the slopes, a new pump house, automated snow-making equipment and a widening of one of the more popular beginner/intermediate trails will be completed before the snow flies.
According to Gore Mountain’s General Manager Bone Bayse, a total of 8,000 square feet has been added to the Base Lodge. Some 4,000 square feet on the upper level in the Tannery will result in an additional 240 seats in the full-service bar and restaurant. Directly below, the other 4,000 square feet will mean an increase of 150 lockers for skiers to store gear, as well as creating a new home for the ski school program.
Bayse said the project was in the planning stage for the last five years. Architecture Plus, based in Troy, was hired to do the design work and the general contractor is Sano-Rubin Construction Services LLC of Albany. Gross Electric did the electrical work and R.A. Gordon provided the plumbing and heating work. Construction began in July and Bayse said that they will be ready to open for business by Nov. 20.
Bayse said that not only will the additional space benefit the 225,000 skiers who buy lift tickets at Gore each year; it will also position the mountain to better serve its spring and summer clientele, which includes weddings, conferences and other events.
Outside of the lodge, other significant projects are close to completion. The old pump house, which pumped water to all the trails on the mountain in order to make snow, has been replaced. It will supply water at a rate of 6,800 gallons per minute, an almost 40 percent improvement over the older pump. Bayse said the project will be completed by the end of October.
Another key component of the improved snow-making capabilities will be the automated snow-making equipment that has been installed on several trails. The existing snow-guns are turned on and off manually by staff. This is a time-consuming process, with crew traveling from trail to trail, turning equipment on or off.
Bayse said the automation will be connected to the electrical system and controlled from the pump house. The size of the snow-making crew will not be reduced, because not all of the trails will be automated, but crews will be able to turn on the manual systems while the automated systems are turning on and off, resulting in increased snow-making going on concurrently and increasing the amount of open terrain for skiers and snow boarders.
The mountain has also undergone some widening and re-grading on the popular beginner/intermediate Sunway Trail. Bayse said the improvements make it more accommodating to beginning skiers.
In operation for more than 80 years, Gore Mountain is one of the three ski areas owned by the state It is operated by the Olympic Regional Development Authority, a state agency. It has 110 trails and 14 lifts including, among others, a gondola lift, one magic carpet and one snow train. The property also has five different lodges.