Firsthand Report: Elk and Gore Mountains, March 5-8 3
By Brenton Archut, Guest Columnist

I know it’s a little late, but school has been tough lately, and I have been incredibly busy. On our spring break, a friend of mine from home and myself decided to go snowboarding for a few days. With plenty of time on our hands, we decided to go to Gore Mountain in New York for three days. The three day pass for teenagers was only $118 and all three day passes or longer are also valid at Whiteface Mountain. We left home in Southern Delaware at around 1 p.m. and decided that we should hit up Elk Mountain on the way. After making a stop in Southern Pennsylvania, my friend and I arrived at Elk Mountain around 5:30 p.m. and purchased our night passes, which were only $25.

Elk Mountain was near desolate by the time we got there. We waited for a minute in our first lift line, and that was it. Elk had received a few inches of fresh powder earlier in the week and it was still abound on the main slopes. There were a few icy spots, but that could mostly be attributed to the busy Sunday morning that we had luckily missed. Elk had guns going on the opposite side of the mountain, and the trees were completely covered with snow. There was well over a foot and a half of powder off the trails and in the woods. At one point, I hopped a fence (which you shouldn’t do) and did a small tree run before my re-entry onto the main slope. It was around 25 degrees by the time we left at 10 p.m. This was most apparent on our lift rides which seemed to get longer and colder as time went on. The snow was classic as usual. Every trip to Elk seems to make the season that much better.

We left Elk at 10 p.m., but we still had 5 hours of travel until we arrived at our hotel in Warrensburg, New York. Gore Mountain was about 20 minutes away. The ski area has no lodging on site, but is more than worth the 20 minute drive. We arrived in the small town around 3 a.m. and slept until 10 a.m. We arrived at Gore and purchased our passes by 11 a.m. In the three days we were there, we never waited in a single lift line. The majority of the skiers and boarders were actually senior citizens. It was a fantastic time.

Gore Mountain boasts an impressive 2,100-foot vertical and it will save you about 3 hours from driving to Vermont. Gore actually reminds me a great deal of a larger Elk Mountain. Unlike resorts such as Camelback and Killington, the mountain still has a rustic backwoods feel to it. The longest run is somewhere around 3.5-4 miles long. The ride down took about 10-15 minutes, and the lift ride up took about 12-15 minutes. The ride up to the peak of the mountain actually consists of a lift ride on a gondola and a quad. The quad connects to the gondola by a small connector trail and it services 10-12 trails that often stay open until mid-April and can only be accessed mid mountain by the gondola. The lifts from the base area consist of a double, a gondola, and a high-speed triple. These lifts, along with 5 other lifts interspersed throughout the mountain, access all 65 of Gore Mountain’s trails, not including their glade runs. There were several excellent cruisers at Gore, and I could not have asked for better runs.

The snow at Gore was better than that at Elk. The extra elevation, coupled with continuous snowmaking and excellent grooming, provided for fantastic conditions. Although the temperatures were in the lower teens at night, the temperatures rose to the lower 30’s with ample sun during the day. I could not have asked for a better snowboarding experience.

By the end of each day, my friend and I were equally exhausted. We each took naps and went to bed by 11 p.m. Although the mountain opened each morning at 8:30, we usually arrived by 9 and spent the entire day on the slopes. The lodge was small relative to the size of the mountain, and it must take forever to get food during a busy weekend. The food selection was diverse and fairly affordable. The hotel we stayed at, the Budget Inn in Warrensburg, cost us $60 a night and contained a kitchenette. For dinner we ate food acquired at the general store while watching countless nonstop episodes of Law and Order. It was definitely apparent that the end of the season was nearing. We were the only people staying at our hotel, which was the closest and cheapest to the mountain. Nevertheless, there was plenty of natural snow on the ground and the slopes were completely covered. That’s all we cared about anyway.

Unfortunately, there must be an end to every trip. We left the mountain at about 3:30 on the 8th for the 8-hour trip home. The trip was uneventful but long. We shared the drive and the gas the entire way. Snowboarding at Gore was one of the most memorable trips I have been on. It is definitely up there with my trips to Killington and Snowshoe. It was so memorable that we are hoping to make a repeat trip next year. If you have an extra week that is not during a peak ski week (such as after Christmas), I suggest a trip to Gore. The trip to the mountain will be long, but it will be well worth the trip. In fact, if you plan ahead and shop around for lodging, you can make the trip relatively cheap.

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About the Author

Brenton Archut lives in the tourist town of Bethany Beach, Delaware. He spends his summers working at Fisher's Popcorn. He enjoys bodyboarding and snowboarding and snowboards mostly in the Poconos, but loves to explore new places. Brenton is currently attending school at Lehigh University, where he is pursuing a business degree.

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Reader Comments

Andy/fishnski
March 25, 2006
Is the mtn split in half? I mean, is there a continuous 2100' vert? Does the 3 day interchangable with Whiteface pass that works for students...work for us working Homebuscuits?
Brenton Archut
March 26, 2006
Well, the mountain claims to have 3 peaks, but I only saw 2. Yes, the run is continuous... If you go to the top, you can ski the 2100' vert in one run. There is one flat part, but you can make it a truly 2100' vert. I was told that any 3 day pass or more was also usable at Whiteface.
Connie Lawn
March 26, 2006
Nice writing Brenton. Welcome aboard! Keep up the business studies too; writing is great, but more money in business. Yes, I was an English major. Yours, Connie Lawn

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