New York is home to 51 ski resorts, the most of any state in the nation, and its three state-run ski areas have undergone several upgrades since last season.
— At Belleayre, the Catskill Mountain region's first high-speed gondola has been under construction since late June and will be unveiled in mid-December. Once completed, the 65-cabin so-called "Catskill Thunder" will transport skiers and riders from base to summit in under six minutes. The Discovery Lodge and Overlook Lodge also have undergone improvements, http://www.belleayre.com .
— At Gore Mountain in North Creek, more than 130 high-efficiency snow guns have been added and the gondola unloading station at the summit has been restored and renamed the Straight Brook Lodge, with restrooms and vending machines. Saddle Lodge at mid-mountain also has undergone renovations that will double its size and add restaurant options, and the new Northwoods Lodge will provide extra space for both the rental/repair shop and Gore's Snow Sports School, http://www.goremountain.com .
— At Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondacks, where two-time Winter Olympic medalist Andrew Weibrecht learned to ski as a kid, crews have renovated the Base Lodge and Bear Den Lodge as part of an expansion of the cafe and learn-to-ski center. The Olympic mountain, which has the greatest vertical drop in the East (3,430 feet or 1,045 meters), also has upgraded its snowmaking and grooming operations. World Cup aerials competition visits nearby Lake Placid on Jan. 19-20, http://www.whiteface.com .
—Both Whiteface and Gore opened Nov. 18, and Belleayre was scheduled to open the day after Thanksgiving. Every sixth visit is free at all three facilities, and it doesn't matter where those visits are. SKI3 passes also are valid at all three, which are operated by the New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority, http://www.orda.org/corporate .