Golf and ski resort approved at Gore

By Jay Braman Jr.
Commissioners at the Adirondack Park Agency this month approved a three-phase, mega-ski resort development project in the Town of Johnsburg, Warren County that is being described as a public/private partnership between developers and the State of New York, which owns and operates Gore.
The public portion of the project includes reopening the town’s defunct Ski Bowl Park at Gore Mountain and installing a 3,500-foot quad chair lift, which will be built and operated by the Olympic Regional Development Authority.
Commissioners also approved new construction of a private resort complex on 432 acres of land beside the ski area owned by FrontStreet Mountain Development LLC, a company run by the Crikelair family based in Darien, CT. The resort, to be called the Ski Bowl Village at Gore Mountain, will have five hotels and inns, 131 townhouses, 18 single-family dwellings, a private ski lodge, an equestrian center, a nine-hole golf course, restaurants and retail space.
According to published reports, FrontStreet project manager Mac Crikelair, when asked how much the developers were banking on state investments at Gore Mountain, said that, though they were planned together, the projects are separate.
But according to Michael Washburn, the executive director of the Residents Committee for Protection of the Adirondacks, the financial commitment on the state’s part remains unclear. Washburn suspects there is going to be a strong connection between state investment (at Gore) and the success of the project. He wonders if the role of the forest preserve should be to enable this kind of exclusive development.
There are many similarities between the Gore Mountain project and the one proposed locally here in the Catskills by Crossroads Ventures. Like the Gore project, Crossroads’ proposal, called the Belleayre Resort at Catskill Park, would be linked to a state-run facility, in this case Belleayre Mountain Ski Center.
They are not similar, however, in their respective reviews. The Gore Mountain Project was submitted for review in 2006 and was approved in less than two years. The Belleayre Resort was first proposed in 1999 and review of the project is still going strong today, even after intervention by former Governor Eliot Spitzer, who signed a deal with the developers and environmental groups last year that called for a restructured project that includes a ski-in/ski-out connection to Belleayre.