Greek Peak Summer 2021

EMSC

Active member
Greek Peak is always an interesting time, naturally.

Had some 'quality time' experiencing most of the summer offerings, punctuated by several days with lightning impacting things for both the mtn coaster and the water park (all slides get shut due to 2 of them poking outside the building). I'll put this thread together in a couple of different posts over the next few days.

But I will start with this gem of a picture - I call it "Instructions Unclear":
20210616_120715.jpg
 

jamesdeluxe

Administrator
After you add more pix and comments, I'll link this report to the GP thread on NY Ski Forum. I'm sure the current locals will appreciate the POV of a former local.

CNY/Finger Lakes in the summer are still magic for me. I'll be in Cortland in a couple weeks to visit family, Footie's Freez, Cortland Beer Company, etc.
 

EMSC

Active member
Next up is a positive post: Greek Peak has a surprisingly dedicated downhill MTB rider group running on weekends and also even Wed evenings, with some sort of racing mixed in. I have not yet been lucky enough to be able to try it out but my understanding is that much of it is for those wearing big boy/girl pants (eg quite steep and gnarly with body armor and full face helmets needed). There are a couple of easier and longer routes on the map that got added after the first season of MTB a few years ago, but I get the sense that they are not the primary attraction or use case.

This year I did get the chance for a quick up/down scenic lift ride while watching others do the MTB. Despite it not being the opening weekend it felt like the lifties were not exactly sure what to do with non-MTB'ers. It all worked out in the end though.

vlcsnap-2021-07-10-10h09m39s868.png


Image00001.jpg


Image00003.jpg


Image00004.jpg


Image00002.jpg


Image00006.jpg


Sorry for the relatively low res pictures, apparently the forum software is unhappy as of late with full sized images (though I've posted nothing but full size images for many years).
 

EMSC

Active member
OK, next up is a fun little jaunt on the OTHER MTB trails at Greek Peak. Yes that's right Greek paek has a whole network of cross country ski and summer MTB cross country trails... Or do they?

I rented bikes for my son and I and met up with a friend who was crazy enough to drive over from Mass just to meet up and ride for a couple hours. Though I must admit I am wildly out of shape dealing with all sort of things this spring (ailing family, crazy biz deals, etc...). First off it should be mentioned that this occurred on the Monday federal holiday for the 4th (so the 5th of July). No special hours of operation for anything they offer, not the waterpark, the mountain coaster, no downhill MTB, not the Trax restaurant, nothing special for GP, just another Monday. Makes about sense for them I guess...

Anyway for the second time I was advised to stay on the paved path around Hope Lake as the trails were not all maintained (The first was when I checked out what kind of bikes they even have to rent at the hotel/waterpark - yes the bikes are kept in a storage area that is in the water park). And in general I agree. They've done essentially nothing to maintain any of the entire network of trails. If not in a heavily forested area they are wildly overgrown 4-5 foot tall weeds and mostly unpassable.

Here is the Strava entry for my friend: "The Strava entry:
https://www.strava.com/activities/5580635180
... cannot convey the full sense of all the win here

Originally planned to have lunch with Kevin and [son] yesterday at Trax, since I just love the idea of how that base lodge has been extended over the creek, plus I hear the food is pretty good too. Website says opens at noon. Looking at directions in Google Maps (bypassing Binghamton, on a route that includes that sorta charming downtown Greene, even if most storefronts seem to be abandoned), opens at 4 instead? Call up: opens at 4pm. "Not at noon like the website states?" Staffer just seemed to take it as a given that the website would be wrong, not even a vague promise of maybe looking into possibly fixing that.

Lift-served mountain bike park is closed on Monday, even though a federal holiday.

The day before, Kevin looks into renting bikes for himself and [son] at Hope Lake Lodge. (Have to walk through the water park to pick up bikes!) Warned that xc ski trails despite being officially designated for bike riding are actually not in good shape. This was especially amusing since Steve had earlier reported to me the same thing after nordic skiing there this past winter. As Kevin and [son] pick up their pick up their bikes yesterday, I hear the warning being repeated. We loop around the lake on the paved path, and occasionally branch off on the xc ski trails, only to retreat once we meet up with impassable ruts cloaked in deep grass.

Eventually I find a road that has been kept clear by ATV traffic, connecting to a gravel road at the top of a hill with a cell phone tower, plus an odd little encampment: telescope trained on Olympian, picnic table, camp fire, and sign warning about 24 hr video surveillance. Kevin and [son] probably thought I was imagining this, but Steve can confirm that he came upon this while skiing.
All three of us then regroup to take a traversing and gradually descending officially signed trail, which also eventually becomes overgrown. Fortunately I slowed down before it cliffed out (w/o any warning of course) into an area being excavated for the new wedding barn.

Transferred over to a parallel road, which became some industrial work site, although fortunately the surface was very ridable.
This led to what was probably the highlight of the tour: the improbably eclectic Greek Peak vehicle junkyard. Only a few regular passenger cars. But prominent entries included: snowcat, ambulance, Greek Peak shuttle van, bus, van, etc., many of them flipped on their sides. Oh, and a boat, placed on top of a car. ([son]: "You can just drive to the lake that way with your boat on top!")

The grand finale was actually relatively respectable: I split off to ride up the road through the housing development adjacent to lower Olympian, then rode across lower Olympian, Odyssey, Iliad, and the former t-bar line, before descending a dh mtn bike park trail (designated Expert, and indeed I had to walk some sections on my little xc bike)."

So Greek Peak has all of that going for them this summer... ... I do get the sense that the MTB rentals at the water park are rarely used :lol:

Greek-Peak-Nordic-Trail-Map.jpg


Image00007.jpg


Image00009.jpg


Image00010.jpg


Image00011.jpg


Image00012.jpg
 

EMSC

Active member
More Greek Peak fun is to be had at the "Outdoor Adventure Center" a couple hundred yards east of the main base lodges. The two primary attractions in my book are the mountain coaster and the zip lines (at least in summer). They also have some sort of ropes course, trampoline bouncing and in winter tubing. Over the years I've done all but the ropes course.

The mountain coaster is surprisingly decent, with one big caveat. You need to push the brake handles all the way forward for the entire ride - period, end of story. Using the brakes even a little bit slows you down too much for a fun ride. I also recommend the wifi to do work while your kid(s) do unlimited coaster rides (it's pretty blazing fast, though the signal deteriorates pretty quick more than a few yards away from the building). The past two summers have had only a few people on weekdays so no issues with crowds or lines.

The zip line course is decent and you even get to use the tubing hill lift to get you part way up the hill. I do have to mention that I think that every zip line I've seen in the US does not compare very favorably to a number of other countries around the world. The Zip lines are frequently shorter length, far fewer total lines per course, generally less speed (to the point of barely even making it into the stopping area sometimes), and the rigs being used to run the lines enormous and way over-engineered. Not too surprising given the law suit happy nature of the US.

Again, for the US, it's a pretty decent course at Greek despite it's over engineering. There are several lines with the final one being decently long. Though also pretty pricy. My 80 year old mother even managed to do both the coaster and zip lines back a couple of years ago - though for some strange reason she didn't take my advice to not use the brakes on the mountain coaster, lol.

Image00031.jpg


Image00028.jpg


Image00032.jpg


Image00033.jpg


Image00020.jpg


Image00021.jpg


Image00022.jpg


Image00023.jpg


Image00024.jpg


Image00025.jpg
 

EMSC

Active member
A few miscellaneous GP pics and thoughts for this post.

First up is a historic photo of the old GS start ramp to compare to the current pic above:
Image00011.jpg


Once upon a time this was the ONLY ski team building at Greek Peak. It looks much the worse for wear. Now there is a similar sized building above it and I've heard that the Aframe has been given over to the race team (GPSC) in the past few years since the current owners kid is a racer.
Image00003.jpg


A bit sad to see such signs all over the base area, given how many times I, family and friends have hiked up the hill both summer and even in spring to link patches of snow for more turns... That said, should I let them know how many local folks still hike when no one is around?
Image00001.jpg


This is a head scratcher pic. This house was built a few years ago by some city-folk lawyers. We're still trying to figure out how 1) any guest that comes can get into the house after parking outside, 2) how/why anyone would ever bother to get to and sit on the porch? I'm also a fan of the huge AC unit almost completely blocking the side door stairs as well. There is a reason that so many people consider lawyers to not have a clue about real world existence.
Image00002.jpg


OK so storage barn a couple miles down the road burns to the ground... Insurance pays and GP decides to move the storage barn closer to the hill. Is this really the location, essentially on top of the beginner lift you want to present a storage barn to your guests??? "Hey lets see how much junk and utility vehicles we can show off to our newby guests?" is apparently how to think about the business you are in... I mean, at least a put a few trees or a decent looking fence in the way...
Image00046.jpg


These towers have been laying on the ground for several years and each summer GP claims "we'll replace the ancient beginner lift this summer" only to let the used lift parts sit around getting more rust. Can't wait for them to finally install the parts just to have the state say "sorry, the parts are too far gone to be safe". Anyway even a few weeks ago the head honcho of day to day operations was telling anyone who would listen that they would install it "later this summer". Uh huh, totally believe that...
Image00058.jpg


I find this to be an interesting view of the hotel and water park. The water park is actually OK though not too huge. It even has a fun wave pool among the attractions and even some outdoor pools on the side you can't see (between the trees and the building). There are several spots where balconies are out off the sides of the hotel (you can tell from the roof changes). Turns out that they used HUGE wooden logs to support all of them... and they used a very soft pine wood. Leading to the fact that all of them are structurally compromised after ~10 years. Those huge beams and balconies are a very large part of the look of the building too and no idea how they can replace them without major re-construction and probably shutting down much of the hotel to do it... They currently have lots of pressure treated lumber supports all over the place (sorry forgot to take a picture of that crumbling beams). Oops..... but about par for the course though too.
Image00060.jpg
 

EMSC

Active member
Harvey44":3vv7m5st said:
Very entertaining!

Thanks, I'll do my best. Probably a couple more posts to go. I've spent nearly 1/3 of each of the past two summers there dealing with ill and aged parents (one who has passed).
 

jamesdeluxe

Administrator
EMSC":1amiym6v said:
Turns out that they used HUGE wooden logs to support all of them... and they used a very soft pine wood. Leading to the fact that all of them are structurally compromised after ~10 years. Those huge beams and balconies are a very large part of the look of the building too and no idea how they can replace them without major re-construction and probably shutting down much of the hotel to do it... They currently have lots of pressure treated lumber supports all over the place (sorry forgot to take a picture of that crumbling beams).
Hah, yesterday I watched a Sopranos rerun where Carmela's father used cheap soft pine to build her spec house instead of Douglas Fir-grade lumber and it failed inspection.
 

EMSC

Active member
jamesdeluxe":2eni50i4 said:
CNY/Finger Lakes in the summer are still magic for me.

I do agree that this region is a pretty cool place for parts of the year, though the economy generally stinks and the weather is horrid far too often as well. That said this next post highlights a few of the natural attractions in these parts once you get away from the Peak.

The National Soaring Museum and a major glider center is at Harris Hill just a few miles from my original starting point in life. Definitely worth a ride:
20200629_164206.jpg


20200629_165336.jpg


20200629_165457.jpg


20200702_143940.jpg


Then of course plenty of "Lake Things" to do, though it helps if you have a boat. In this case on the typically frigid Seneca Lake which is so deep that the bottom is well below sea level. It is so deep that it is iso-thermal once down far enough. It is so deep that the Navy does some sonar testing in it. Also deep enough to resist freezing over fully in winter creating minor lake effect all by itself sometimes (depends on the fetch). Anyway it and Cayuga are the biggest of the finger lakes and quite nice to visit in the summer. Since they influence the weather by a surprising amount wineries are a very big attraction since vines grow well on the hills.

I may have learned to water ski and not be afraid of open water with a boat variously on Seneca or Cayuga over the growing up years. The boat has been way downscaled to match the physical capabilities of its captain in recent years though. Also learned to canoe, kayak and sail small sunfish and hobie cats on these lakes.
Image00008.jpg


Image00009.jpg


Image00027.jpg


The unique geography also lends itself to many, many glens and waterfalls along the lakes. One of my favorites allows walking up the stream most of the way to the waterfall (Taughannock):
Image00026.jpg


Image00030.jpg


Watkins Glen (the actual Glen not the Race track on the hill outside of town) is really cool too, but only if you can find a time when it is not overwhelmed with tourists. The famous road course style race track can be so loud I could hear it (~10+ miles away as the crow flies) on race days growing up in Horseheads (just barely).

Surprising amount of decently interesting and varied things to do in the area - though still very much glad I live where I do now.
 

EMSC

Active member
jasoncapecod":6rqbrlie said:
I have really enjoyed your CNY trip reports.. Thanks

Thanks for reading; a couple of them have been pretty wordy.

Possibly the final post for this stretch. A bunch of scenic and mostly aerial views of the place...
Image00035.jpg


Image00042.jpg


Image00057.jpg


Image00041.jpg


Image00036.jpg


Image00044.jpg


Image00053.jpg


Image00052.jpg


Image00050.jpg


Image00051.jpg


Image00054.jpg


Image00075.jpg
 

EMSC

Active member
Just to follow up on my 3rd trip back this summer... Here's the most damaged hotel deck system. There are other decks with temporary supports too.
 

Attachments

  • 20210825_103257.jpg
    20210825_103257.jpg
    4.6 MB · Views: 3,066
  • 20210825_103310.jpg
    20210825_103310.jpg
    2.8 MB · Views: 3,065

EMSC

Active member
jamesdeluxe":3uxvciv1 said:
is to breathe fresh, unsmoky air.

Nah, its the super muggy, humid air that I keep coming back for. It's so hard to truly cover yourself in sweat out west without maximum effort, yet so easy in the East.
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
EMSC":1odprbfn said:
jamesdeluxe":1odprbfn said:
is to breathe fresh, unsmoky air.

Nah, its the super muggy, humid air that I keep coming back for. It's so hard to truly cover yourself in sweat out west without maximum effort, yet so easy in the East.
+1 That week in Florida clearing out everything in Liz' mother's house was Exhibit A. When it was finally time to leave ~9PM I went into the back yard, removed all clothing (which was as wet as if I had been in the ocean), stood under a garden hose for awhile and finally put on clean clothes immediately before hitting the road. We didn't want to use the showers in the house as we had just cleaned them for the incoming tenant.
 

ChrisC

Active member
It's too bad Greek Peak cannot properly execute a summer business with hotels and activities. It seems like they could run the mountain like a Camelback or Seven Springs - which seem to be successful year-round on similar-sized mountains - but closer to population centers.

I would love to ski the mountain again - especially looking at all the trails/glades they have cut between the old runs I was familiar with in the 1980s. (Interesting Greek Peak removed Ronnie's Run after a ski patrol death in the Andes.....guess out of sight, out of mind....goodbye memorial).

Greek Peak 1979

Greek Peak 1979.jpg


Greek Peak Today. Lots of new trails. No more T-bars. No more skiing under the power lines of Electra.

Greek Peak 2020.jpg
 

jamesdeluxe

Administrator
ChrisC":3ro9rueq said:
I would love to ski the mountain again - especially looking at all the trails/glades they have cut between the old runs I was familiar with in the 1980s.
I suspect this would be primarily a nostalgia visit compared with the terrain you usually ski. :-k
 

jamesdeluxe

Administrator
ChrisC":3vg4lxmn said:
My family - my mother's family - is all from Binghamton - and I was lucky that I got to ski. I was lucky that I got to ski. Skiing was something incredibly elite.....doctors or dentist's sons.
Same deal for me west of Syracuse. Skiing back then was only for rich kids -- I played hockey.
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
jamesdeluxe":mj779sia said:
ChrisC":mj779sia said:
My family - my mother's family - is all from Binghamton - and I was lucky that I got to ski. I was lucky that I got to ski. Skiing was something incredibly elite.....doctors or dentist's sons.
Same deal for me west of Syracuse. Skiing back then was only for rich kids -- I played hockey.
Hockey is not a cheap sport either. But it's probably cheaper in places like upstate NY where you can use naturally frozen ponds as well as indoor rinks.

Yes skiing was even more an elitist sport in its formative years, which surely means at least through the 1950's. Which brings to mind the question, "When if ever was skiing not an elitist sport in the US?"

I suspected the answer based upon the data set of Mammoth skier visits, which more than tripled between two excellent (for apples-to-apples comparison) seasons in 1968-69 and 1977-78. FYI Mammoth's skier visits 2015-16 to 2018-19 averaged about the same as in 1977-78.

A cursory Google search led here.
There was approximately a 40 percent increase in participation in skiing in 1979 over 1976, on top of an approximately 40 percent increase between 1973 and 1976. This has brought current participation in this sport of snow skiing to a level of 6.8 percent among individuals, which projects to approximately 14.6 million skiers.

That report is an interesting read, and reminds me of one of the ski guidebooks I bought in 1979.
Collectively as many as 27.1 million people could be skiing in the future.
Rapid growth of western ski terrain slowed in the 1970's, so authors like these predicted overcrowding and capacity limits. The Kottke Report has tracked US skier visits since 1978-79, when it was 50.2 million. Last year was 59.1 million and the record in 2007-08 and 2010-11 was 60.5 million. To no surprise with the advent of high speed lifts, I can tell you that the worst lift lines I've experienced by far were those in the late 1970's.

But what really happened since 1980? The current active skier/snowboarder population is estimated at 9-10 million, 3-4% of the US population. So the percentage of the US population that skis has fallen back to about what it was in 1973. The "popular era of skiing" with consistent growth looks to me to be maybe late 1960's to mid-1980's. US skier visits were flat from the mid-1980's to late 1990's.

All of this tells me that I'm a typical US skier in some ways. My first time was in 1976, right in the middle of that explosive boom period, and age 23 is in a common starting age range too. The people in my age cohort who started as kids were mostly an elite group.
 
Top