West Mountain makes its move

By Ben Westcott, Chronicle Staff Writer

At its March 26 meeting, the Queensbury Planning Board voted to acknowledge receipt of an application that, if it comes to fruition, would transform the West Mountain ski area.

West Mountain owners Sara & Spencer Montgomery. Photo provided
The Woods at West Mountain, which has a 10-year time frame to complete, looks to create “an alpine village experience” with year-round recreational activities, accommodations for vacationers and expectation to attract “permanent residents who may desire to live in a resort/recreational community, including locals looking to downsize.”

The plan calls for 252 apartment units, 64 condominium units, 56 duplex units, 65 single-family custom homes and an 80-room hotel. Envisioned is a new retail plaza with a new main ski lodge and outdoor seasonal dining and sitting areas adjacent to a man-made water feature.

A high-speed detachable chair lift is proposed to transport skiers from the Alpine Village to the summit of Northwest Mountain.

An outdoor Après Ski Plaza area with swimming pool, ice skating rink and hot tubs is proposed for use by the apartment and condominium residents. The duplexes and single-family homes would have ski-in/ski-out access to West’s ski trails.

The duplex buildings would be equipped with two-car garages and driveways. The hotel would have dining and a banquet facility as well as an exercise and spa facility with hot tubs and indoor and outdoor swimming pools.

The existing Northwest Mountain Day-Use Lodge would be renovated “to upgrade its exterior finishes and visual character to complement other new structures in The Woods at West Mountain.”

An outdoor amphitheater graded into the hillside is proposed west of the lodge.

Spencer Montgomery:
A ‘learning mountain’ ideal for metro families; it’s a huge opportunity but also key to survival

Spencer Montgomery, West Mountain’s co-owner, emphasized the appeal the Woods at West Mountain development could have for families. “Look at the average family coming up from Long Island, New York City or Brooklyn,” he said.

“Most of those people are not extreme skiers looking for 3,000 foot vertical…We’re a learning mountain, and if you’re coming up with a family it’s a perfect scenario. You can go to the spa, steam room, you can go work out, you can ski, and we’re open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. so you’ve got a 13-hour babysitter for your kids.”

He said, “We’ve been told that it’s anticipated that this would sell out potentially before it was built, because there’s that type of demand.”

Currently, he said, “Our reach is pretty limited because we’re not viewed as a destination resort.”

He said this year West Mountain will have an operating loss of around half a million dollars “just due to the weather.”

He said the planned four-season resort “really is a necessity to ensure the future of West Mountain.”

Jon Lapper, project legal counsel, said, “It’s a tough time to be a low-altitude ski mountain in climate change, but we think that this is going to put them on the map more than it is.”

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