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Greek Peak, NY, January 25

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mapnut
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Posted: Jan 26, 2009 - 5:33 PM GMT
Edited: Nov 11, 2009 - 9:10 PM GMT

Conditions: Groomed packed powder on a very firm base, some ice on the steeps. 100% open, natural trails were a bit thin.

Weather: single digits, sunny, no wind

Crowds: Light-moderate, negligible lines on all lifts all day but most chairs were full.

We New Englanders seldom get "out west", so you might like to hear about the biggest of the 4 areas in the Binghamton-Syracuse corridor. I was out there to see my son's two bands play in Binghamton Saturday night (shameless plug: Try.Fail.Repeat ; Armageddon Monks ). Sunday was free since musicians are not known for getting up in the morning, so my daughter and I popped up to Greek Peak and had a pretty good day. We covered pretty much the whole mountain, which took 16 runs.

I guess "pretty good" is a reasonable assessment of Greek Peek, maybe slightly generous. The main complaint other people have mentioned is old lifts, and that's true (5 doubles and 1 triple) but doesn't bother me. It doesn't appear that the management knocks itself out to deliver the best possible experience, but it was 100% open with decent conditions.

I can't believe I've seen people write "It has only 950 vertical feet but skis like more than that". First of all it claims 950 but the maximum is 850 and that's only on the east side, which has only 3 trails and one lift. The north side has only 750 vertical feet and skis exactly like 750 vertical feet. The area is wide, with three 2100-foot peaks and effectively a good dozen ways back down. However only the west side has good sustained pitch; the center and east areas have some annoying flats. Recognizing that, GP has parallel double chairs serving the 6 good runs on the west side and both were running (#1a much slower than #1, which was slow enough!)

Beginner facilities are good with a big practice slope, 2 magic carpets, a green terrain park and very good green runs off all three summit lifts. The best intermediate runs are Elysian Fields and Iliad off the #1 chair (other blue runs all have flat stretches). E. fields is wide with a seeded mogul section. Iliad is a black diamond but not steep and has plenty of manmade snow. Of the black diamonds, Odyssey was closed for racing. Zeus and Hercules off the #4 chair have serious but short headwalls, Hercules groomed and Zeus kinda rough. On the far west, Olympian has real sustained pitch, ice and moguls. It kinda slapped me in the face and said, "Hey gaper! A while since you've been on a real expert run, isn't it?" I survived.

A few minor drawbacks: The wide-open slopes in the middle are criscrossed by skiers traversing from one lift to another in opposite directions. Some of this area was not well groomed at all. The summits, being just rounded hilltops rather than mountain peaks, all have some long walks to get to the starts of the trails. The No. 2 chair which goes up to the middle peak starts 50 vertical feet above the base, apparently to make more room for beginner facilities. The main terrain park was located halfway down from the #2 chair which is the longest and slowest; thus the park wasn't getting much use. I didn't see many good skiers in the whole area.

The base lodges lack any character, but the cafeteria food was reasonable.

Photo later. I only took one. Sorry, but the area just isn't very photogenic. The scenery from the top looks just like what you see from I-81 anywhere between Binghamton and Syracuse - long rolling ridges, hardwood forests and big open fields. No mountains in sight. This photo from the website gives you a good idea what the ski area looks like.
ciscokid
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Posted: Jan 26, 2009 - 8:30 PM GMT

well Map I for one will give u thumbs up for a detailed trip report. It's tough to get responses here sometimes even with pix.(my jetson like cafeteria/lodge at Caberfae didn't get a blink, I think it's the coolest retro place ever, heck with it )
As far as the scenery, slow lifts,etc., hey at least u were skiing!

I wish one of our Syracuse experts would update me on those teal colored lifts/chairs up there, a Hall T-Bar in teal green,aahh,I-Brake?

__________
photogf128
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Posted: Jan 27, 2009 - 2:02 AM GMT

Like they say on those online dating sites " posting pics will result in more responses".

I have never been there but had heard of it since I was a kid. Looking forward to the pic.

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mapnut
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Posted: Jan 27, 2009 - 2:41 AM GMT

Okay, here's the picture. Plus the only other one I took on the trip. Also in the shameless plug category.

1: Greek Peak looking across the area from east to west. The Hercules headwall in the foreground, Elysian Fields the most prominent slope in the distance. And the scenery, just as I said, long ridges, hardwood forests, big open fields.
2: Michael Hunter belts out a song with Try.Fail.Repeat at the Voodoo Lounge in Binghamton.
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trackbiker
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Posted: Jan 27, 2009 - 3:53 AM GMT

mapnut, a good assessment. Old slow lifts, so so snowmaking and grooming, a lodge that hasn't been updated since the '70's. And they want $58.00 for a lift ticket weekends and weekdays
They took one of their best blue trails and made it into a terrain park.
I still like to ski there once a year, but after some good natural snow and not at full price. I won't be using the indoor waterpark so I don't need to subsidize it.
How did you like that #2 lift? Best guess is it was installed in 1962. When they renovated it they did move the base uphill.
Next time you see your son's band, Elk is about the same distance from Binghamton.

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fdb
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Posted: Jan 27, 2009 - 4:06 AM GMT

Ahh, Greek Peak, how that brings me back to my college days at Ithaca College...

I would ski there after classes and sometime during classes , but i never liked the place, just a place i could scratch the skiing itch. Way overpriced lift tickets, terrible lighting on the trails for night skiing, and i felt just a dangerous place to ski. Anyways, thanks for the pics, i miss IC at times, and especially the city of Ithaca, but i don't miss Greek Peak.


mapnut
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Posted: Jan 27, 2009 - 2:19 PM GMT
Edited: Jan 28, 2009 - 1:46 PM GMT

Yeah, the funniest thing about the #2 chair is the liftline trail, which comes down from the top about 300 feet (distance, not vertical) then ends, and a cat track takes you out to the trails on the right, a considerable distance. Of course you can't ski all the way down the liftline because it goes dead flat, with a lot of springs and standing water IIRC.

Another interesting thing is the extension of the #4 liftline cut for future development - very flat, probably 600 feet distance with less than 100 feet vertical, like the top of the red chair at Magic, maybe even flatter. It's supposed to take you to the start of a future trail down the east side, but would also eliminate the completely flat walk to the start of the Trojan trail.

That's all OK, if the area didn't have a lot of quirks, I wouldn't have anything to write about.

[quote] Like they say on those online dating sites " posting pics will result in more responses". I have never been there but had heard of it since I was a kid. [quote]

Photog, they had on-line dating services when you were a kid?
ThatNYguy
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Posted: Jan 27, 2009 - 3:24 PM GMT

Quote:
That's all OK, if the area didn't have a lot of quirks, I wouldn't have anything to write about.


If Intermont survived, you would have never had a chance to ski Greek Peak.

Russ

cms711
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Posted: Jan 29, 2009 - 9:44 PM GMT

I didn't think people on SJ actually made it out to the time warp that is Greek Peak! I grew up skiing there, mind you I'm only 20 now, but the area has barely changed in the past 15 years I've been skiing there. The lodge hasn't changed nor have I seen plans for an update. The planned expansion on the East side has been in the works for 10+ years, with that Chair 4 extension being cut 2 or 3 years ago.

Many locals, including myself feel that they are going about their marketing and expansion all wrong. They want to produce a 'year round' resort with the indoor waterpark and conference center, but the mountain is so outdated, it will be a hard draw. In my opinion, they should concentrate on the mountain and base lodges before tackling the year round market. For a mountain its size, the snowmaking is sub-par at best. The quality of snow is decent, but the capacity is just sad. Mountains like Elk and Blue have great snowmaking capacity, while Greek is running with compressors and pumps from the 60's or 70's it appears, once again with no change in sight. They have the capacity to run full blast on 2 or 3 trails at a time, which means a long time to get the mountain ready at the beginning of the season.

The $58 price tag is just nuts and their season passes are going up in price too. They were notorious for a great college deal ($99 season pass for students) but this has since risen over the past couple of years. During my high school years I was a terrain park monkey, so I just ignored the rest of the mountain and spent most of my days in the terrain park. Chair 2 is so long and painful, that we would forego the lifts after the first run and just hike through the park.

Perhaps if they updated the mountain, I would be compelled to go back more frequently. Until then, it's a last resort for when I'm home.

__________
Chris Shumeyko- Lafayette College Ski Team Coach
mapnut
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Posted: Jan 29, 2009 - 9:54 PM GMT

Thanks for the insight!
cms711
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Posted: Jan 30, 2009 - 4:50 AM GMT

Just found this:

Greek Peak Expansion

I received it in an email from Greek Peak. If you click to take the survey, you can see their vague plans. Including high speed quad, new lodges, snowmaking, etc.

__________
Chris Shumeyko- Lafayette College Ski Team Coach
trackbiker
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Posted: Jan 30, 2009 - 5:32 AM GMT

Quote:
I grew up skiing there, mind you I'm only 20 now, but the area has barely changed in the past 15 years I've been skiing there. The lodge hasn't changed nor have I seen plans for an update. The planned expansion on the East side has been in the works for 10+ years, with that Chair 4 extension being cut 2 or 3 years ago.


I used to ski there in the late '70's. The t-bar was a great option to avoid the 45 min. liftlines of those times. Expansion plans were always on the trail map although they changed over the years. Other than the used chair that replaced the t-bar in '98, it really hasn't changed in 30 yrs. since they added the east side in '78.
I do like the old lodge a little uphill from the current lodge. An oldtime uncrowded feel with a big fireplace. That's where I have my brown bag lunch.
The current expansion plans just look silly. Not that they will ever happen. A HSQ to replace #2 chair would make more sense. Mapnut, any better expansion plans?
As far as the terrain and the views, you can't change that you are in central NY.

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