APA approves Gore, Van Ho plans

Agency officials tour Olympic venues

State Olympic Regional Development Authority President and CEO Mike Pratt takes state Adirondack Park Agency officials on a tour of the Olympic Jumping Complex, pointing out expected upgrades to the venue. (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

RAY BROOK — During its monthly meeting Thursday at agency headquarters, the state Adirondack Park Agency found that plans for Gore Mountain Ski Center and the Mount Van Hoevenberg Olympic complex comply with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.

The State Land Committee approved the final environmental impact statement and found the Gore Mountain plan was in conformance with the SLMP. The Gore Mountain plan included a land swap, where the ski center would take existing wild forest and in another location would give up some land that will be added to the wild forest.

The Van Hoevenberg plan includes the most sweeping updates to the Olympic sliding and biathlon complex since its construction in the lead up to the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. Plans include expanded snowmaking and lighting, as well as a complete upgrade of the biathlon range and the addition of a mountain coaster for riding, a separate coaster for transportation, a new base lodge and trailheads that connect the property to Cascade, Porter, Marcy and Pitchoff mountains.

Olympic Regional Development Authority CEO and President Mike Pratt said the first phase of construction should begin this fall and pick back up next spring.

Both the Gore and Van Hoevenberg plans were approved by the full APA board unanimously.

State Olympic Regional Development Authority President and CEO Mike Pratt (right) takes state Adirondack Park Agency officials on a tour of the Olympic Sports Complex at Mount Van Hoevenberg, pointing out expected upgrades to the venue. (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

The agency also approved changes to the town of Caroga’s land use plan as well as an expansion of an RV park in Lake George.

At the beginning of the meeting, acting APA chair Karen Feldman — who replaced the retired Sherman Craig — appointed board member Art Lussi to head the Legal and Enforcement Committee. Lussi also recused himself from both the Gore and Van Ho votes, as he is a board member of ORDA, which operates both of the state-owned venues.

After the meeting, Pratt took APA officials on tours of the Olympic Jumping Complex and the Olympic Sports Complex at Mount Van Hoevenberg.

Expected upgrades to the jumping complex include a tubing park and zipline complex, new jumps that fit International Ski Federation standards, a new lift and reintegrated inrails so athletes can still jump even if the weather isn’t the most cooperative.

The group then traveled through the Van Ho sports complex, taking in the view of the High Peaks and the 1980 bobsled run.

Feldman enjoyed the tours and picturing what the venues could look like in the future.

“It’s always good to see what you’re voting on,” she said.

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