Greek Peak Summer 2021

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Greek Peak Summer 2021

Postby EMSC » Fri Jul 09, 2021 12:01 pm

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":
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Hmmm, a marked Exit that is not an exit, that points you to exit through another door that is also not an exit. At least you can count how many hours you spend in the the infinite loop with the clock.
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Re: Greek Peak Summer 2021

Postby jamesdeluxe » Sat Jul 10, 2021 3:30 pm

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.
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Re: Greek Peak Summer 2021

Postby EMSC » Mon Jul 12, 2021 9:18 am

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.

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Note the dirt jumps and berms on the lower part of Illiad. I assume they bulldoze flat again each winter.


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Lift lines almost as long as winter, lol


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top station


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Note that bikes go up one per chair and not on the same chair as the people.


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A great number of GS race starts from this particular spot. THough once upon a time it was open air and not a hut.


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Not really related, but here is the bottom of Chair 5/Triple chair/GP East. The chairs themselves are relatively new-ish compared to the lift (though still from a used lift). Interestingly, the old chairs are piled along the edge of the woods at the bottom just rusting away. Apparently GP has not heard that you can get people to buy old chairs and haul them away for you while making a quick few bucks, but that seems too complicated for GP to figure out I guess.


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).
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Re: Greek Peak Summer 2021

Postby EMSC » Mon Jul 12, 2021 5:54 pm

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:

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Re: Greek Peak Summer 2021

Postby EMSC » Fri Jul 16, 2021 10:00 am

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.

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Start across the creek and end on the upper track back into the lodge...


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that's a work road tunnel


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pretty well hidden in the woods


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steeper upper section nearing the start of the downhill


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before masks dissappered


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using the covered carpet lift of the tubing hill to go up helps with running downhill lines to the base more than once


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I've been in other countries where they literally just use big trees to tie lines and platforms instead of building huge structures in the woods.


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Bridge over the coaster


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Massively over engineered trolleys to zip down on IMHO.


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multiple crisscrosses of the coaster on this final drop into the base.
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Re: Greek Peak Summer 2021

Postby EMSC » Fri Jul 16, 2021 11:28 am

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:
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Both I and my father are in here, but so is the super driver/MTB'er from the prior MTB pictures/post above!


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.
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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?
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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.
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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...
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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...
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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.
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Re: Greek Peak Summer 2021

Postby Harvey44 » Fri Jul 16, 2021 1:29 pm

I am here to post in this awesome thread.

Very entertaining! =D>
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Re: Greek Peak Summer 2021

Postby EMSC » Fri Jul 16, 2021 3:27 pm

Harvey44 wrote: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).
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Re: Greek Peak Summer 2021

Postby jamesdeluxe » Sat Jul 17, 2021 4:28 am

EMSC wrote: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.
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Re: Greek Peak Summer 2021

Postby EMSC » Mon Jul 19, 2021 4:33 pm

jamesdeluxe wrote: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:
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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.
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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):
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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.
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Re: Greek Peak Summer 2021

Postby jasoncapecod » Tue Jul 20, 2021 4:15 am

I have really enjoyed your CNY trip reports.. Thanks
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Re: Greek Peak Summer 2021

Postby EMSC » Wed Jul 21, 2021 9:54 am

jasoncapecod wrote: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...
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Re: Greek Peak Summer 2021

Postby EMSC » Wed Aug 25, 2021 12:52 pm

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.
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Re: Greek Peak Summer 2021

Postby jamesdeluxe » Thu Aug 26, 2021 7:23 am

I believe that EMSC's real reason for multiple trips back east this summer is to breathe fresh, unsmoky air.
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Re: Greek Peak Summer 2021

Postby EMSC » Thu Aug 26, 2021 3:41 pm

jamesdeluxe wrote: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.
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