Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today attended the 2014 Adirondack Winter Challenge, snowmobiling on Kushaqua Trail in Lake Placid. The Adirondack Winter Challenge, an event highlighting winter tourism in Upstate New York, drew over 400 state and local elected officials, staff, and winter sports enthusiasts from across New York State. During todays event, the Governor announced the launch of the I Ski NY Bus, a new, dedicated bus line to 13 Upstate ski mountains from New York City and Toronto to begin service for the 2014-2015 winter ski season.
New York is home to some of the best winter resorts in the world, and with more operating ski areas than any other state in the nation, the region is the perfect winter getaway, Governor Cuomo said. With some of the best ski slopes, snowmobiling tracks, hiking trails, and scenic views, we want New Yorkers to know they should stay in New York and all out-of-state visitors to feel welcome to partake in all that Upstate has to offer."
"Winter tourism is big business in New York State and the I Ski NY Bus will make it even easier to enjoy some of the nation's best winter recreational activities and attractions," said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams.
2014-2015 I Ski NY Bus Service
The State will launch an I Ski NY Bus to entice and bring visitors to Upstate ski areas from New York City and Toronto, Canada. Currently, only two mountains -- Hunter and Windham Mountains -- are consistently serviced through bus transportation out of New York City. Both of those mountains have established relationships with New York City tour operators to bring busloads of skiers and snowboarders Upstate on weekday and weekend trips.
An expanded bus service will help New Yorks many ski areas be more competitive by making it easier and more affordable for New Yorkers and visitors to travel. Under this new plan, the State will provide bus service to 13 different mountains from New York City. Additionally, when the established New York City tour operators are not going to Hunter or Windham, the I Ski NY Bus will make the trip. The plan also includes a secondary market from Toronto to expose Western New York ski areas to the same transportation opportunity.
Trips from New York City will be offered to 13 different mountains:
- In the Hudson Valley/Adirondacks/Catskills regions: Thunder Ridge, Belleayre, Plattekill, Hunter, Windham, West, Gore, Whiteface and Catamount Mountains
- In the Central New York region: Greek Peak, Toggenburg, Labrador and Song Mountains
Trips from Toronto will be offered to six mountains in Western New York: Bristol, Holiday Valley, Titus, Kissing Bridge, Peek n Peak and Swain Mountains.
Tourism Industry in New York
New Yorks tourism industry is one of the top employers and economic generators in the state. According to recent projections, it is estimated that 8.8 million more visitors traveled to New York State in 2013 than in 2012, representing an increase of 4.2 percent. In addition, the industry is projected to have generated $7.7 billion in state and local taxes with direct spending expected to have reached $61.3 billion, up 7 percent from 2012 and double the national average.
The tourism industry is also projected to have added 24,800 jobs in 2013, a 3.1 percent increase from 2012, also double the national average. In total, leisure and hospitality is projected to have finished the year with 818,700 jobs, making tourism the third fastest growing job sector in New York State.
2014 Adirondack Winter Challenge
In order to further promote Upstate tourism, the Governor also hosted the 2014 Adirondack Winter Challenge in Lake Placid. Participants from across the State took part in activities that included curling, ice hockey, ice skating, toboggan, alpine skiing (at Whiteface Mountain), bobsledding, and cross-country skiing (at Mt. Van Hoevenberg). The following legislators participated in the challenge:
Senator Elizabeth Little Senator Joseph Griffo Assemblymember Michael Benedetto Assemblymember Michael Cusick Assemblymember Janet Duprey Assemblymember Charles Lavine Assemblymember Donna Lupardo Assemblymember J. Gary Pretlow Assemblymember Andrew Raia Assemblymember Addie Russell Assemblymember Joseph Saladino Assemblymember Angelo Santabarbara Assemblymember Michelle Schimel Assemblymember Michaelle Solages Assemblymember Daniel Stec Assemblymember Keith Wright Assemblymember Kenneth Zebrowski