By Paul Post
Athletes from across the country are converging on Gore Mountain this month, setting the stage for one of the world’s largest sports spectacles a year from now.
The Holeshot Cross Tour (held Feb. 5-11) and USASA Futures Tour ( held Feb. 11-18) give the nation’s top junior freestyle skiers and snowboarders a chance to earn points in their quest to race professionally.
“These are two types of events, ski cross and slope style, we’ll be hosting for next year’s World University Games as well as big air,” said Stephanie Backes, Gore Mountain marketing director. “It’s putting Gore on the map for this caliber of competition and exposing us to people from around the country who have never been here before. It definitely helps lodging and restaurant business.”
World University Games are surpassed in size only by the Olympics, with about 1,600 athletes from 50 nations expected for next year’s competition based in Lake Placid. But Gore will host all freestyle skiing and boarding events, further enhancing its already prominent role as an economic engine in Warren County’s winter tourism industry.
Gore hosted 217,000 guests last winter, up significantly from the 189,000 who visited in 2019/20. Backes attributed this to the COVID-19 pandemic that sparked a major rise in all types of outdoor activity as many other forms of entertainment weren’t available.
In addition, the pandemic gave people working from home more opportunities to take time off. Last year, Gore saw a huge rise in midweek, non-holiday period visits, which have leveled off a bit this winter, but are still higher than pre-COVID attendance.