WILMINGTON, N.Y. — Hoyt’s High Trail on Whiteface Mountain, in Wilmington, N.Y., has always relied on Mother Nature to cover its 1,400 feet of vertical. Sometimes she accommodated, but often times she did not, teasing skiers and riders with its long stretch of expert terrain as they rode the triple chair to the top of Lookout Mountain.
Cut in 2008 and named in honor of Whiteface veteran ski patroller Jim Hoyt Sr., the 4,700 foot long expert trail has only been open for a handful of days. That’s about to all change this winter, as crews began installing piping for snowmaking beginning in August.
Installing the more than 9,000 feet of snowmaking piping has been no small task… mostly due to the trail’s length and steepness.
“The terrain on Hoyt’s High is even more challenging than the Wilmington and Lookout Below trails that’s why snowmaking infrastructure was postponed,” said the mountain’s general manager Aaron Kellett. “There’s really no machine access on the whole trail and the only way to install the piping is to push from the bottom and pull from the top. In that, I mean one bulldozer is at the top pulling the piping, while a bulldozer is pushing from the bottom.”
In order to groom the trail, crews needed to install winch pins along the entire trail. This will allow them to groom the trail in sections rather than try to groom the entire trail at once.
If conditions allow, snowmaking on the Olympic mountain is slated to begin on November 13 and snow guns will begin covering Hoyt’s High in early-January.
“Traditionally we’ve opened Lookout Mountain at that time of year,” added Kellett. “The Wilmington Trail will be covered first and we plan to move the guns over to Hoyt’s next.”
Once there’s snow on Hoyt’s, skiers will have an expert trail that will allow them to get back to the Lookout Mountain lift. In the past, Lookout Below was the only expert trail that allowed skiers and riders immediate access to the triple chair lift.
Kellett believes that more skiers and riders will probably choose Hoyt’s High over Lookout Below even after the novelty has worn off.
“Really Hoyt’s is a more traditional type of ‘expert trail,’” Kellett mentioned. “Hoyt’s will certainly be labeled as such, but I think we’ll find that while it’ll be challenging, it won’t offer the same challenges as Lookout Below, therefore we anticipate more skiers and snowboarders to choose this option.”
Additional work on Whiteface’s Lookout Mountain is also scheduled for the upcoming summer. Plans include adding one more expert trail and an access road that will provide a second spot to anchor a winch cat. This improvement is still in the permitting process.
Photo: Snowmaking piping on Hoyt’s High Trail. Photo courtesy Whiteface Mountain.
— ORDA —
Established in 1982, the New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) was created by the State of New York to manage the facilities used during the 1980 Olympic Winter Games at Lake Placid. ORDA operates Whiteface, Belleayre and Gore Mountain ski areas; the Olympic Sports Complex at Mt. Van Hoevenberg; the Olympic speedskating oval, Olympic jumping complex and Olympic arena. As host to international and national championships, the Authority has brought millions of athletes, spectator and participants to the region, resulting in significant economic development.