QUEENSBURY, NY – With a $ 15 million upgrade completed, including more snow, improved lighting and new chairlifts, West Mountain owners are now focusing on the Queensbury brand as a ski resort of destination.
Plans call for a more than $ 85 million mixed-use development called Woods in West Mountain, highlighted by a 60- to 80-room hotel, 64 condominiums, 32 two-unit duplexes and 52 custom homes surrounding a new elevator to high speed in a frame type village with a full service ski shop, cafe and restaurant.
It would be located near the current Northwest base lodge.
“It’s a three to five year project a lot like Copper Mountain in Colorado or Vail,” said co-owner Spencer Montgomery, who bought West Mountain nine years ago with his wife, Sara, the centre’s general manager. ski. “I would love to have the approvals in place this spring and hopefully start this year. I don’t think that’s too optimistic. We have had a lot of good feedback locally and from the city. I think they are behind us in putting a ski resort and staying here.
“It’s a big investment, but a lot of the mountains south of us are completely built and there’s a huge demand,” Montgomery said. “A very successful developer who hopefully would be the financier told me he thought it would sell out before it was built. When you arrive you know you are in a full complex where you feel like you are away from it all, but in reality you are only two miles from I-87.
West Mountain’s proximity to the immediate Capital District, a popular running program and night skiing have been hallmarks of its success since it first opened on Christmas Day 1962. The Montgomerys are now ready to take the center through. on the upper level, a place where families make extended stays, perhaps all winter, instead of relying solely on local traffic.
The 2021-22 season kicked off on Christmas Eve and Montgomery was pleasantly surprised with the turnout for the holiday week despite the mild and somewhat rainy weather.
“We pounded the snowmaking before this week, every window we had,” he said. “We literally put it back together just in time or we would have been in trouble. People enjoy being outdoors, even more than last year. They really seem to be in a good mood. It was our second busiest week of vacation. If you asked me to complain, I couldn’t. The tube park was open and full every day and our restaurant, which was closed last year due to COVID, was at full capacity. “
A handful of top-to-bottom trails are open and Montgomery plans to have 14-16 trails ready by the end of the coming week. “Then we’ll start working on the north side,” he said. “Now that the cold is getting better, we’ll start making more runs. We will snow for a long time.
As new owners, the Montgomerys spent the first seven years giving the nearly 60-year-old center a much needed makeover. The old ski lifts have been replaced with new, faster models, hundreds of energy efficient lights have been installed, and there is snow on every trail.
“Next year we’ll have a separate pumping station on the north side of the mountain and use a holding pond there to backfill with city water when we don’t produce snow,” Montgomery said. . “We can use 3,000 gallons per minute now. Next year it will be 6,000 so when we have those shorter snow windows we can open both sides sooner.
Looking far into the future, Montgomery hopes to one day build a new, long, up-and-down trail near the Woods at West Mountain development project. “It would probably be a mile and a half long,” he said. “There are some steep inclines, but I would do a lot of turns on the way down. “
It even has a chosen name – the Fully Monty.
While most of the major upgrades were made two years ago, customers will notice at least one big change this winter.
“We expanded the Rabbit Hill on the north side of the main base,” Montgomery said. “Before, we almost had the impression of being in the maintenance yard. You couldn’t watch the children from the restaurant terrace. We have therefore enlarged this area by 60% of its capacity. We removed a cluster of trees between Rabbit Hill and the Main Mountain and made it ski terrain. Now you can ski on either side of the magic carpet. Before, you had to go down to the right. Now you can go down either side, right or left. It is therefore open to the public and for lessons. It really changed the look of the base area. We also added snow and lights to it.