Learning to Ski or Ride

We know how intimidating it can be to learn something new, so we designed this portion of our site to answer any of your questions before you come to our mountain.

So go ahead, explore and come to Gore Mountain – the finest learn-to-ski mountain in the Northeast!

Check out first-time skier/rider lesson packages that include everything you need to get started right. These packages are offered daily, and advanced reservations may be required.

Step One To a Great Day – Have Fun

The key to making a memorable mountain experience is having fun!

Bring your friends – when you are enjoying snow sports activities together it makes learning that much better.

See you on the slopes!

New Beginner Lift

The Bear Cub Quad

We upgraded our single Bear Cub Poma Lift to a conveyor-load quad. More than doubling the length of its predecessor, the Bear Cub Quad reaches 1912′ in length and unloads onto our Lower Sunway trail, a green circle easiest trail. We opened up the top of Bear Cub Run to allow direct access to the lift for another run! This quad has made loading easier for first-timers and is ideal for progressing from Bear Cub Run to the Sunway Chair and beyond. On Bear Cub Run, our easiest-rated trail in our learning zone, we have two conveyor surface lifts as a great first step! This new lift is the next step for those first learning how to get on a lift. The conveyor load helps new skiers, and riders time their loading correctly.

Diagram for the Bear Cub Quad's placement along Lower Sunway and Bear Cub Run.

That’s not our only improvement for the season, come see the other improvements for 2023-24 and more upcoming projects here!


What can I do to prepare in advance?

Before you even get to the mountain, you should get a good night’s sleep and stay hydrated. When you arrive at the mountain, do some stretches to loosen up your muscles.

Where do I store my personal belongings while I am skiing or riding?

The Base Lodge offers wire racks, wall hooks, and locker rentals. Our Rental Shop in the Northwoods Lodge also has locker rentals. For a better experience for all of our guests, we do ask that you do not store belongings on or under tables.

Where do I go my first time?

First-time skiers and snowboarders should go to the Northwoods Lodge. This lodge is home to our Rental Shop and Snow Sports School, offering convenient access to easier-rated trails in our learning area! Make sure to stop by the Snow Sports Desk to learn about our class and private lesson packages. If you have questions, ask a staff member for some tips and advice to help you get ready to hit the slopes for the first time. When in doubt, go with a pro!

Do I need to make reservations for lessons?

Reservations are required for private lessons and recommended for class lessons too. Snow Sports Lessons are more likely to sell out during our holiday periods and on weekend days. If you show up at the mountain looking to purchase a lesson, we may not be able to accommodate you. Reservations must be made at least 72 hours in advance. For more information, please call (518) 251-4804 or send us an email.

What time should I arrive?

We recommend arriving as early as possible, especially if you need to rent equipment or have scheduled a lesson. The lodges open at 8am and lifts spin from 8:30am-4pm. If you are taking a lesson, plan on arriving at least 1 hour before your scheduled start time. If you are renting equipment, make sure to leave plenty of time to make it through the rental process.

What can I expect?

Here at Gore, you can expect to find friendly staff, good service, and great riding and skiing. You should expect to have fun!

What should I bring?

Start by bringing a positive attitude, proper layers of clothing, and outerwear for the weather. Be sure to check the daily snow report for current ski conditions, and have fun!

Am I too old to start skiing?

You are never too old to start skiing or snowboarding. Start out with a lesson from one of our professional ski & snowboard instructors and give the sport a try! We have a variety of options from private and class lessons to multi-week programs for kids and adults.

Is my child too young?

We suggest putting children in our learning programs as early as 4 years old. We have Mountain Adventure class lesson options and private lessons. Make reservations in advance for either option as classes do fill up quickly, especially during the holiday periods!

I’m not riding the lift, do I need to purchase a lift ticket?

Yes, because of NYS Article 18 and the Responsibility Code, all skiers and snowboarders must be wearing a valid ticket to be allowed on any terrain, which includes all learning areas.

Should I snowboard or ski my first time?

Whichever sport piques your interest is the one you should learn first. You can choose between alpine skiing, snowboarding, telemark skiing, and cross-country skiing. They are all fun and exciting activities.

Are you still open if it snow or rains?

Yes, we are open even if it is snowing or raining! Always be sure to check our daily snow report for current ski conditions. Where you live it may be raining, but that may not be the case here at Gore.

Special Notes for Parents:

Please consider the following when putting your child in our snowsports programs:

  • Advanced reservations are required for all lessons and programs.
  • Helmets are required for all participants ages 17 & under in any of our lessons and programs.
  • Plan ahead for time to register, pick up rental gear, tickets, etc. Lessons go out on time.
  • Gore staff will not administer medications. If your child needs medication during the day, please make arrangements with our staff for you to give your child their medication.
  • Children participating in lessons may need to ride lifts with an adult and therefore may ride lifts with members of the skiing public, or other Gore staff.
  • A parent/guardian is required to remain on the mountain while their child is in a lesson or program.
  • For more information, please call (518) 251-4804 or send us an email.

What to Wear

Dress Appropriately is the best advice we can give you. Remember that temperatures vary at different times of the day and at different locations on the mountain. You should dress in layers – if you are too warm, you can always shed a layer!

Helpful Hint:

Wait until after you get fitted for rental equipment and are ready to go outside before you put on your final layers. If you happen to forget something, our Retail Shop is likely to have what you need.

What do I wear to ski or snowboard?

Winter sports mean crazy winter weather – To make your day a more enjoyable one, dress appropriately. Check the on-mountain weather and daily snow report before you head to the mountain for the day. Do not wear cotton or blue jeans as these absorb water causing you to freeze. Try to find wool or synthetic materials like fleece and polypropylene. These materials will whisk moisture away from your body, keeping you warmer. Don’t forget to cover your head and hands!

Body Wear

Always dress in layers. By wearing layers of clothing air is trapped between layers making your clothes a better blanket of insulation. It’s easier to take off a layer if you are too warm than to try to add more. Your outermost layer should be both wind and water-resistant.

Hand Gear

Wear proper hand protection. Gloves or mittens are fine, but make sure you have a good waterproof pair. Do not wear cotton or knit material as they will absorb water causing your hands to get cold. Always bring an extra pair of gloves and socks so that if they do get wet you have something dry to change into.


90% of your body’s heat escapes from your head. To stay warmer on cold days and protect your head, always wear a helmet. Avoid hats that have long stockings and tails as well as long scarves or dangling clothing as they don’t fit well under helmets and can be dangerous if they get tangled or stuck in the lift.


Do yourself a favor and purchase a good pair of ski socks. Wear only one pair – do not layer your socks! To keep your feet the warmest, don’t drive to the mountain wearing your ski socks because your feet will sweat and your socks will get wet. Plan to change into them when you arrive instead. Bring an extra pair so that you can change them during the day if you need to.

Tips for fixing cold feet:

  • Stomp your feet while waiting in the lift lines – as the blood moves it warms your extremities.
  • Loosen your boots a little bit.
  • Wear one good pair of medium-weight socks.
  • Do not stuff your pants inside of your boots.
  • Never leave your boots in the trunk of your car or outside where they can get cold and damp.
  • Put your boots on a boot dryer.


Protect your peepers! Wear goggles or sunglasses on bright sunny days, in blowing snow conditions, and on windy days.

Want to learn more about what to wear?

Learn More »

Lesson Information

Do I need a lesson?

Like most other outdoor activities, lessons are not required, but they are a great idea and highly recommended! Lessons are the key to understanding the fundamentals of skiing and/or snowboarding. A lot of people will try “self-taught” techniques which may ultimately lead to frustration and disappointment. But here at Gore, we offer affordable beginner packages to get you started right!

When and where do lessons meet?

Both class and private lessons meet near the snow sports check-in cabin outside of the Northwoods Lodge. Most lessons gather 15 minutes prior to start time. Please note that reservations should be made at least 72 hours in advance. The meeting time and location will be included with your lesson confirmation. If you are renting equipment at the mountain, be sure to allow plenty of extra time to be fitted with your gear.

Can my friends show me how?

Professional ski and snowboard instructors are trained to teach in the most efficient manner so you can start skiing or snowboarding on your own ASAP. Friends and family members that are not professionals should not give you pointers. Their techniques may not always be right. Learning the proper way the first time is far easier than correcting bad habits in order to start seeing progress!

Can I take a lesson with my family and friends?

Yes, you can! However, it is strongly recommended that people taking lessons together are of the same ability and similar age. It is much harder for you to learn, and for the instructor to teach different ages and abilities in the same lesson. Adults and children have different needs and learn at different speeds, what’s good for one may not be good for the other. There are many approaches to teaching and the techniques used are designed to be beneficial to the individual skier or snowboarder.

How many people are in a group lesson?

This depends on a variety of factors, such as the demand for lessons at each ability level at the time of your visit and the availability of instructors. There will be more people in our group lessons on weekend days and during holiday periods, especially in peak season. It depends on how many people sign up for that particular lesson. We try to keep groups as small as possible.

Are lessons expensive?

Not at Gore! We offer a variety of learning options that will suit your needs. Beginner packages include your lift ticket and rental equipment. Already have lift access and gear? You can reserve a beginner class lesson or custom private session in advance too.

How long before I am able to ski from the top of the mountain?

Skiing from the top of the mountain varies from person to person depending on how fast you pick up on the fundamentals. Start on easier-rated green circle trails and only ski what you feel comfortable on. Take your time mastering the basic skills before advancing to an intermediate blue square trail.

ski & snowboard equipment

Renting Equipment

Chances are if you have never skied or boarded before, you do not own your own equipment and renting is your best option. If you are not knowledgeable about the rental process, your first experience can be confusing. Preparing yourself for what to expect is half the battle.

The first thing you need to know is what to wear. Now that you’ve dressed for the slopes, you need to remove some of those layers in the rental shop. Being inside dressed in your ski jacket, thermals, and whatever else you might have on will cause your body to become warm and you might sweat. Take off some of the many layers you have on to stay comfortable, then layer back up before you head outdoors!

Secondly, expect lines. During peak hours (9-11am), the rental lines can become increasingly long so be prepared to wait a little bit. An ID is a must for renting equipment and if you do not pay by credit card, a deposit may be required.

Once you reach the payment windows, our representatives are ready to answer all of your questions. After completing your purchase and receiving your receipt with a barcode, head for the boot desk to begin getting fitted with your equipment.

Lift, Lesson, & Rental Packages

Rental Equipment Pricing

Buying Equipment

Ultimately, the goal is to own your own gear. Before you go out and buy any gear, you should try out different kinds of equipment. Some brands and styles may be more suited to you than others. Think of it as buying a car. Wouldn’t you want to test drive it first?

Even though equipment can be expensive, there are plenty of great deals out there if you know where to look. Ski shops offer clearance sales during late spring and summer. Look for ski swaps, and even ask your friends and neighbors. Just remember if you are buying used equipment, make sure you have it checked out and tuned up before you start using it.

Watch this video to learn more about ski gear!

Learn More »

The Dos & Do Nots

Do …

  • Be a considerate skier or snowboarder.
  • Dress in layers & pack proper clothing.
  • Stretch your muscles before and after you ski or snowboard.
  • Get your equipment tuned up before the season starts.
  • Set goals for yourself.
  • Take lessons, you can never learn enough about the sport.
  • Have fun!

Do Not …

  • Hold your ski poles straight out in front, or behind you (they then become spears instead of poles).
  • Leap off of trees or rocks into trails.
  • Stick your tongue to the chairlift or flagpole.
  • Stay outside when you get cold.
  • Take a cafeteria tray and slide down the slopes.
  • Eat yellow snow.
  • Ride back down the chairlift.
  • Give up without taking a lesson and giving it a chance!

Watch this video to learn how to properly exit the chairlift!

Learn More »

Know the Lingo

Daily Snow Report

What is a snow report?

Our Snow Report shows the primary and secondary surface conditions on the trails, which trails and lifts are open, the base depth of the snow, current weather, special events, and important hazards, notes, or warnings. It is the skier’s responsibility to check this report before purchasing a lift ticket and to decide what trails are skiable for his or her ability.

Always check out the snow report before you hit the slopes. There is a ton of useful information in the report that you should be aware of. Our snow report is updated every afternoon with anticipated conditions for the next day, and real-time updates are made throughout the day. Therefore information is subject to change without notice so check back often.

There are 3 terms that you should be aware of- Green, Blue, and Black.

  • GREEN Circle is the color/symbol combo used to identify easier-rated terrain. This is where beginners get started and practice their turns.
  • BLUE Square is the color/symbol combo used to identify more difficult trails for intermediate skiers and riders.
  • BLACK Diamond is the color/symbol combo used for the most difficult and expert-only trails.
  • DOUBLE BLACK Diamond is the color/symbol combo used to identify expert-only trails.

How do I read the Snow Report?

As you ski more often you will become familiar with the terminology. If you do not know what any of the words or symbols mean, please ask any of our staff.

See Snow Report

Skier Classification

Determining your skier type is your responsibility. Your skier type, height, weight, age, and ski boot sole length are used by the rental shop to determine the release/retention settings of your ski bindings. Be sure to provide accurate information; any error may increase your risk of injury. There are 3 classes of skier types – Type 1, Type II and Type III.

Type I
Cautious skiing at lighter release/retention settings

  • Ski conservatively.
  • Prefer slower speeds.
  • Prefer easy to moderate slopes.
  • Favor lower than average release/retention settings.

This corresponds to an increased risk of inadvertent binding release in order to gain increased release ability in a fall. Type I settings apply to entry-level skiers uncertain of their classification.

Type II
Moderate Skiing at average release/retention settings.

  • Ski moderately.
  • Prefer a variety of speeds.
  • Ski on varied terrain, including the most difficult trails.

Type II settings apply to skiers who do not meet all the descriptions of either Type I or III.

Type III
Aggressive skiing at higher release/retention settings

  • Ski aggressively.
  • Normally at high speeds.
  • Prefer steeper and more challenging terrain.
  • Favor higher than average release/retention settings.

This corresponds to decreased release ability in a fall in order to gain a decreased risk of inadvertent binding release.

Glossary of Skiing & Riding Terms

  • Alpine Skiing – Downhill skiing.
  • Apres-ski – The nightlife following a day of skiing.
  • Base – The average depth of snow on the mountain OR the bottom of the mountain where the lodge is. Example: Base Lodge.
  • Bunny Slope – The area where beginners are taught.
  • Carving – Making turns while the edges of your skis or snowboard are cutting into the snow.
  • Catching an Edge – When the edge of your ski or snowboard accidentally digs into the snow, usually resulting in a fall or a near fall. (Happens to the best of us)
  • Catching Some Air – After riding over a small hill or mogul, your skis or snowboard come off of the ground.
  • Corduroy – The snow surface made by groomers. Closely spaced parallel grooves that resemble corduroy pants.
  • Cruising – Making a long run at less than breakneck speeds.
  • Fall-Line – The straightest and steepest line down any slope.
  • Freshies – Freshly fallen snow with no ski or snowboard tracks.
  • Gaper – A person who stops on the slopes to look at the views OR the space between your goggles and helmet.
  • Glade Skiing – Skiing through the trees on designated specialized trails.
  • Goofy – Right foot forward on a snowboard.
  • Granular Surface – Usually formed after snow thaws, re-freezes, and crystallizes OR an accumulation of sleet OR surface conditions produced by machine grooming of frozen granular or icy surfaces. Granules look similar to rock salt.
  • Head Wall – The area on top of the mountain where you are just about to come down the slope, usually at the start of a black diamond.
  • Heli-Skiing – Skiing that can only be reached by helicopter. Not available at Gore Mountain.
  • Mashed Potatoes – Wet, heavy snow.
  • Milk Run – The first run of the day.
  • Moguls – Mounds of snow (aka bumps).
  • Off-Piste – In most cases, they are places that you should not be, such as closed, ungroomed, and unpatrolled slopes. If you are caught skiing or boarding on a closed trail, Ski Patrol will clip your ticket and ask you to leave.
  • Pizza – See Snowplow.
  • Powder – Light, ungroomed snow.
  • Schussing – Skiing straight downhill, often in a full tuck. (Not usually recommended)
  • Shaped Skis – Skis with curved edges/an hourglass appearance.
  • Snowplow – (aka Wedge, Pizza) One of the first ways we learn to stop- when your ski tips are almost touching forming a triangular shape OR the piece of machinery that clears the roads after a snowfall so we can get to the mountain.
  • Terrain Park – An area maintained by a resort that is full of jumps, rails, and other freestyle features.
  • Wedge – See Snowplow.
  • Yard Sale – A wipeout fall in which skis, poles, goggles, sunglasses, mittens, and anything else you may have on your person ends up strewn along the mountainside.

SnowSports Ability Chart

snowsports ability chart

Note that all lesson programs require participants (ages 17 & under) to be wearing a helmet. If you purchase your program with rentals, a helmet is included in the package.

Safety & Policies