In full disclosure, we were given lift tickets and rentals to make this review possible. We appreciate Gore Mountain’s support of Jersey Family Fun and our efforts to let our readers know about family ski options near Lake George.
Ski Gore Mountain With Kids – Ski the Adirondacks!
You may know that Jersey Family Fun writers Jenn and Melanie are committed to getting our children to learn to ski. Our mission has brought us to Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Vermont and more. We have skiied the central/Finger Lakes region and Catskills of New York state but until this trip, we hadn’t been to the Adirondack region for skiing.
With 8 ski mountains, the Adirondacks offers winter sports for all levels and we were excited to head out to Gore Mountain (check out their website here). Known for having the most skiable acreage in New York with four peaks and 110 trails, Gore is a family friendly and affordable option for a ski getaway from anywhere in New Jersey, especially if you’re not looking to take that longer ride into Vermont or New Hampshire.
Lodging near Gore Mountain
Since we live in southern Monmouth County, most ski resorts are at a distance for us. If we’re going to pack up the gear and get our muscles moving, our choice is to get a couple days of skiing in and make a vacation of it. Driving even a couple hours back home after a long day of skiing doesn’t always sound like fun. Gore Mountain is a four and a half hour drive from our home (but of course add at least an hour for stops), which is just about what my children consider reasonable for a road trip! Gore Mountain does not have lodging on site and while we were in the planning stages for our visit this concerned me, to be honest. Could we stay somewhere near Gore Mountain for our New York ski trip?
Remember, driving a distance after skiing isn’t what we consider to be ideal. Would the options be what we needed for two nights? As it worked out, we were hosted at the Sagamore Resort (read about it here, Winter Vacations at The Sagamore Resort with Kids) on Lake George, a 40 minute drive to the mountain. Since we chose to have breakfast at the Sagamore, our Gore Mountain ski days started later than what we usually plan, but ski lessons were available in the afternoon and we didn’t feel like we missed out on any skiable time. The Gore Mountain website suggests other more local options, but the most variety will be located on the shores of Lake George. The drive through the snowy mountains is picturesque and unlike anything you see in our typical New Jersey landscape. It actually enhanced our vacation!
Skiing at Gore Mountain
The week leading up to our trip brought some undesirable weather to the mountain. Gore does do its own snowmaking, but warm temps and rain left behind some unavoidable ice. This did not keep the skiers away though! Both days were busy with ski and snowboarders and we saw quite a few tour buses. I didn’t see long lines for any of the lifts and didn’t hear complaints of crowds from the skiers. Gore Mountain does not run the lifts at night, so an early start is advisable if you’re going to explore all you can.
Gore Mountain Ski Lessons
My children couldn’t be more different in their confidence levels. My 9 year old son will strap on skis and go straight down a drop, while my 13 year old daughter has to be reminded that she can ski a blue trail. Given that, and their level of experience, we always feel lessons are an important start to our ski trips. Gore Mountain offers ski lessons and snowboard lessons for all ages and abilities.
- Ages 4-12 enter the Mountain Adventure program with full day (lunch included) or 2 hour options,
- Adults get a 90 minute lesson, available at different times throughout the day.
- Lessons include lift tickets and rentals can be added at an additional cost.
Readers who followed along as we visited Okemo last year know that I, took my first ski lesson ever on that trip. I went back for more ski lessons at Gore Mountain, and worked with instructor Phil who was patient and kind even as the conditions weren’t ideal for my skill level and my confidence in my abilities. He gave me great tips on stopping, controlling speed and mountain etiquette. We made good use of the magic carpet (Gore Mountain also has surface lifts [J bars/T bars] which my children both used in their lessons) but Phil’s offer to ride with me up the Northwoods high speed gondola (and ride back down) was too hard to pass up, and we cut out early so I could get that great view.
My Kids’ Gore Mountain Ski Lessons
While we’ll have to wait for our next trip to get that family photo of us all on the lift, my children made great strides with their lessons. We have had them out on 8 different trips, and they both enjoy skiing but don’t have much practice. Both ended up with one on one lessons; my daughter with ski instructor Dave and my son with snowboard instructor Molly. As I explained, my son has almost too much confidence! Molly understood him and was able to manage his frustrations and give him pointers that were fun. She also played music he liked and he managed his first jump on a snowboard. My daughter who has trouble believing in her ability, was anxious and Dave knew just how to keep her calm. Peeks in on her lesson showed smiles, even as she rode up the chair lift to the trails she once feared. When lessons were done they joined dad for a few runs and we packed up for the day.
I chose to keep the skis off on our second day, and my son and husband swapped their snowboards for skis (mostly because they were better able to negotiate the ice given their abilities). Our arrival around 11 AM gave them a good 4 + hours of mountain time. While it was a more crowded day (parking was more difficult but not impossible thanks to the frequent shuttles circling) they again didn’t have any issue with wait times or crowded trails. My experienced skier husband was more than satisfied with his Gore Mountain runs, and taking the kids up a ski gondola for the first time was a memorable experience for him. The trails offered enough variety for our cautious child and our daredevil to be occupied and excited to ski at Gore Mountain.
Gore Mountain Ski Rentals and other Amenities
Ski rentals are available at Gore Mountain for all sizes and Gore offer both snowboards and skis. Helmets are included! After some difficulty with our ski boots the rental staff were able to work with us and find the pair that was just right. We took our rentals back to our hotel with us, but if we had storage issues we could have rented an overnight locker so as not to go through the process again the next day. Returns were easy! Lockers for shoes and gear are available in the rental area and in the main base lodge.
Gore Mountain has 5 ski lodges throughout the mountain area, and the base lodge offers a food court and bar. The seating is all tables and single seat benches, both upstairs and down, and there is an outdoor patio area with more seating. I was happy to sit in the lodge with a view of the mountain and read a book. If you’re a skier, you’ll want to ski at Gore, not sit in the lodge. Food is standard food court offerings and I observed a lot of people bringing their own lunch in.
Parking is FREE, and there are multiple lots along the entrance road. A shuttle circles frequently which I took advantage of after dropping my family off, but we chose to walk back at the end of our second day. Even the furthest lot isn’t too far.
Check for discounts for Gore Mountain skiing before you go! If you purchase online through the Gore Mountain website you can save some money, and if you have a 3rd or 4th grader, read more about the I Ski NY program here!
Gore Mountain is located at 793 Peaceful Valley Road, North Creek, NY. Lift tickets bought on site begin at $44/day, rentals begin at $42/day. The season is mid-November to mid-April and hours are 8:30 AM – 4 PM. Parking is free. Visit their website here.
For more photos from our visit to Gore Mountain, check out our Facebook Album.
To arrange a feature on your location contact Jennifer Auer, Jersey Family Fun publisher at [email protected].