This seems typical of areas that have some good things going for them but never have enough income to even keep up with necessary repairs. They get in a vicious cycle of decline. Then a bad snow year can finish them off.
In contrast, it seems like Magic Mt. deserves kudos for getting snowmaking repaired just in time to survive this past winter, rather than spoiling their improving word-of-mouth. I suppose the people who bought shares deserve at least half a kudo too.
QUEENSBURY -- The Westside Grille at the West Mountain Ski Area has closed for the summer in response to slow traffic.
“I’m tired of fighting for a $6 hamburger,” said Michael Barbone, owner and manager, on Wednesday. “We’re discounting to try to bring people here, and it’s just industrywide right now that restaurants are just having a tough time.”
Both the business’s website and Facebook page — as of Wednesday morning — indicated the bar and eatery would be open starting at 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday for dinner all summer.
A notice posted on the business’ door this week, however, states the grill “will be closed to the public for the summer season,” although it is still open for banquets and special events, Barbone said.
He said the restaurant will reopen in September, but that he’s saving “thousands of dollars” by not having to keep the business open for customer traffic that “wasn’t paying the bills.”
“We’ve come out of a very, very bad winter, as everybody’s aware, and I just can’t sustain a slow-running business right now,” Barbone said.
West Mountain is hosting a concert event scheduled to start at 8 p.m. Friday, featuring “hometown rock and soul” band Wild Adriatic. Those wishing to schedule banquets or events should call 793-6606, or visit the business’s website at skiwestmountain.com
I find it so sad to hear, what seems to be happening at West, as my family was involved with the Race Team for four seasons. Although I have ties to Hunter Mountain, when the time came to choose an Alpine Racing program for my Son, we signed him up at West Mountain. The reasons included proximity to our residence, the reliable snowmaking, the reputation of the program, the professional manner in which they held races, the support the mountain provided to the race team and most importantly ...the fact that the team trained at night after school.
The hard fact is that at the USSA/FIS level, the Racers in the Ski Academies have the competitive edge as they train on snow almost daily. Racing on the West Mountain program (SWMEF), is one of the few viable alternatives to sending your child to a Ski Academy. Our decision was the correct one, as our Son progressed very well. The Coaches, teamates and families involved with the team are all top notch. The program hosted State Championships, and by our fourth season of involvement, an open FIS Slalom Race! That race was such a success that FIS awarded West mountain with another race on the 2011/2012 schedule.
However, at this time last year, rumors started flying. In addition, some of my Son's teamates were not sure if they were returning for the next season. I was getting the feeling something was amiss, so we moved my Son to the Jiminy Peak Ski Team which is a weekend only program. For weeknight training, Chic Wilson at Willard Mountain was kind enough to open his mountain to racers from other programs that did not have weeknight training. We were set up for a change, and wished those remaining at West a successful season.
I don't know what happened. Again, there have been all kinds of rumors that I will not get into. I do know that the 2011/2012 season was not kind to Mike B. The Ski Dag folks pulled the plug on their ticket system. Even though Mike had said that he increased his pumping capacity for snowmaking, he did not get the hill sufficiently
covered. A NYSEF J1/J2 GS Race had to be held on The Face slope, when it should have been held on The Mach. The J3 States and the FIS Slalom had to be moved to other mountains. We were glad we made the move. And the folks at Jiminy and Willard made us feel at home, as well.
Mike had said several years ago, that with regulations, fees and expenses, it is very difficult for a ski operation to get by with Winter business only. He had hoped that the Summer operation of "The Grill', and other events, could bring in some off season income. He had intended to get Zip Lines and other activities, as well. He may have run out of time and money to take the next step.
The Mountain has such potential, but it needs upgraded lifts and expanded terrain, covered entirely with snowmaking. During the good years, the parking lot was full all season, especially during the evenings. We would go to Gore for Spring Races and come back to deeper snowpack at West. Hopefully, those days can return.
I am sorry that this is so long, but I feel for the Families and Coaches of the SWMEF Program that are trying to plan for the 2012/2013 season with such uncertainty ahead, as far as the mountain is concerned.