QUEENSBURY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – West Mountain Ski Area already offers quite a bit, from ski and snowboard trails in the winter to mountain bike trails and other festivities when the snow has melted. The owners are dreaming bigger, though, and over the weekend showed what those dreams look like.
On Sunday, owners Spencer and Sara Montgomery welcomed around 200 visitors to West Mountain to talk about its future. That future centers around “The Woods at West Mountain,” a proposed $140 million project that would populate the space north of the ski area with over 200 residences, a new lodge, a shopping center, and a hotel – as well as the potential for a lot more busy traffic along West Mountain Road.
“Thank you to everyone who came and spent the morning with us; sharing your interest, excitement, questions or concerns,” West Mountain said on Facebook. “It was a fun day and we really do live in a great community of people, regardless of opinion, who can enjoy the day and have a civil discourse.”
The existing West Mountain Ski Area would not be moved or altered from its home along West Mountain Road. North of the lodge and primary ski lifts is the mountain’s Northwest Base, a separate piece of property not often used or opened for use. That base is part of the larger stretch of the property where The Woods at West Mountain would come to be, with a northernmost property line extending from opposite the end of Pitcher Road.
From West Mountain Road, visitors would see a visitor center, some smaller apartments, and a retail plaza with condominiums on the upper floors. A road stretching west from there would lead to 20 duplex townhouses, a spa and athletic club; a 60-80 unit hotel and conference center; and then, winding further along the mountain’s north edge, a neighborhood of 46 single-family homes.
Co-owner Spencer Montgomery explained on the ski area Facebook page that the newly-acquired property north of the mountain was effectively abandoned before purchase. Although some trees will have to be removed, the property is not heavily wooded. The West Mountain that visitors and locals alike know and love will remain.
“The south side main base area, where 90%+ of the activity has always occurred, is separate and is still definitely vintage West Mountain and will remain that way,” Montgomery wrote. “We’ve worked tirelessly for over 10 years on West Mountain with our partners and employees. I grew up on it – not only will this be a wonderful resort, in will not impact the ‘Americana’ of the ski area, or in a negative way.”
In Montgomery’s eyes, the development would also help to stabilize the mountain economy. West Mountain has its fair share of competition for skiing in the Adirondacks, with Gore Mountain a hotbed of wintersports about 35 miles due north in North Creek. Willard Mountain in Greenwich, Whiteface in the Adirondack High Peaks, and even Maple Ski Ridge in Schenectady all create a busy ecosystem for any mountain looking to attract business. The added housing will, ideally, add to the mountain’s customer base and help ticket prices stay competitive.
The new addition also may be just the ticket to adding to summer entertainment – something the Montgomery family has emphasized in recent years. In summer 2020, there was an attempt to host a 4th of July concert at the base of the mountain, socially distanced during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Bringing music to the mountain has never left the priority list. Other summer events at the mountain include picnics, day camps, and zip line rope courses in the treetops.
Montgomery also clarified that The Woods at West Mountain is not intended to be a gated community. While some houses may be on the pricier side, the plan is for the neighborhood as a whole to be part of the community. The shopping center is planned to include an organic grocery store, coffee shop and restaurants, with walking paths lining the property.
And, of course, the project would add to the ski experience as well. The new lodge would be joined by a new, high-speed ski lift, running right between the new development and the existing slopes. Construction would be expected to take place over the next decade, and is expected to create around 2,000 construction jobs. Renderings were created by Luizzi Companies.