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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ski Areas Getting Ready To Open

Whether they blame the weather man or Mother Nature, ski resort officials aren't satisfied with the amount of snow that has fallen so far.

Jane Eshbaugh, Holiday Valley marketing director, said their target date to be ready to go was Friday, but because of the weather, it doesn't appear that will be the case.

''It's not looking promising. We do expect some snow fall for the weekend, but not really extended cold for snowmaking,'' she said. ''We're keeping our options open. Once the weather cooperates, we will be able to make snow for a couple of days and be ready.''

On Friday, resort officials said the snowmaking crew began making snow at 4 p.m. Snowguns were set up and staged on the Yodeler, Mardi Gras, Candy Cane and School Haus slopes. Snowmaking is planned to continue with the goal of opening the resort by next weekend, weather permitting.

The possibility of 12 inches of lake-effect snow predicted through Sunday morning will help get the season under way. The weather forecast calls for a warmup Tuesday and Wednesday, then colder temperatures again Thursday with more natural snow.

"Stay tuned for updates on the exact opening date. Mother Nature's the one who ultimately calls the shots," said Steve Crowley, Holiday Valley director of mountain operations.

The Holiday Valley website,, will have up-to-the-minute details.

The resort located in Ellicottville has 58 slopes and 13 lifts, include there new $3.5 million morning star high-speed quad chairlift. New this year are two new slopes - the bear cub for beginners and gobbler glade for more experienced skiers. Also there is a new rails park, expanded snowmaking capabilities to make more snow quicker and an expansion of the warming hut in the tubing park.

Once ski season gets rolling, Holiday Valley will be open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday and 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. The eight-hour weekend ticket costs $57 and $48 during weekdays for adults. For more information, visit or call 699-2345.

Jack VanScoter, Cockaigne Ski Area owner, said once the weatherman gets the weather right and the snow starts to fly the slopes in Cherry Creek will be ready for willing participants.

''We are ready to open, but the weatherman is going to determine when we can start,'' he said. ''We have all of our lifts inspected and personnel hired and trained, all we need is for the weatherman to give us some snow.''

VanScoter said he is about to start his 41st year at Cockaigne and is still having fun. New features this year include new ski rental equipment. Skiers can attend ''Retro Ski Days'' Dec. 20-23 and ''Christmas Race Camp'' Dec. 26-30. For more information on schedule of events, visit or call 287-3223. A weekend ski ticket is $34.

In Findley Lake, Peek'n Peak is guaranteeing a minimum of 100 days of skiing and riding for the 2010-11 winter season. If there trails aren't 100 percent open, daily lift tickets will be discounted based on the percentage of open terrain. Their state-of-the-art snowmaking technology and naturally great snow location means guests are skiing and riding on a minimum of a 6-inch groomed base. The resort has 27 slopes and trails serviced by eight chairlifts. Peek'n Peak is open seven days and nights a week throughout the ski season with equipment and helmet rentals available. A weekend pass cost $56 for adults. For more information, visit or 355-4141.

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Chautauqua Institution wins Livable Community Award

CHAUTAUQUA - Chautauqua Institution has been recognized as one of the world's most livable communities.

At a ceremony in Chicago, Chautauqua Institution was presented with the Silver Award at the International Awards for Livable Communities, also known as the LivCom Awards. The competition, launched in 1997, is endorsed by the United Nations Environment Programme and is the world's only competition focusing on best practice regarding the management of the local environment.

Delegations from communities in 22 countries and six continents were in attendance for the five-day finals event, presenting to a panel of international judges and exchanging best practices in a collegial atmosphere.

Chautauqua is the first dedicated community institution to reach the finals of the international competition and the only American finalist in the small community (under 20,000 population) category. Other finalists in the small community category included Emly, Ireland; Haapsalu Municipality, Estonia; Pushchino, Russia; and Trim, Ireland.

"We are very pleased that Chautauqua Institution has received international recognition as a livable community," said Chautauqua President Thomas Becker. "Equally important, we hope this award calls attention to the richness of life in the larger community of Chautauqua County and brings us together to promote tourism and foster civic pride in the region."

Communities in all population categories for the LivCom competition were judged on five criteria: enhancement of the natural and built landscape; arts, culture and heritage; environmental best practices; community participation and empowerment; healthy lifestyle; and strategic planning.

After submitting a written application in June, Chautauqua Institution learned it was a finalist for the Whole City category in August. Attending the finals event on behalf of Chautauqua were Matt Ewalt, publications editor for Chautauqua Institution, Charlie Heinz, community planning associate and former vice president for administrative and community services, architect Marty Serena and summer resident Ernest Mahaffey.

"We were honored to be part of this international gathering of communities that have dedicated themselves to issues of historic preservation, environmental sustainability, civic engagement and lifelong learning," Ewalt said. "Recognizing that the institution does not operate as a city, town or village in the traditional sense, it was important for our delegation to call attention both to Chautauqua's unique functions as well as its true strengths as a livable community and how it functions as a prototype, a model for other communities to draw from."

Ewalt said that the delegation's presentation focused on Chautauqua's efforts to protect Chautauqua Lake through stormwater management, implement energy-saving best practices in all its facilities, and engage all residents and visitors in programs encompassing the arts, education, religion and recreation. Aspects of good community planning and design were also highlighted, including the importance placed on public space, a pedestrian-friendly environment, and a strong connection with nature and the lake.

"Having attended presentations made by other communities at LivCom, I was also impressed by the emphasis on lifelong learning, volunteerism and healthy living by the judges," Ewalt said. "Chautauqua, as a community, truly sets a global standard in these areas and in its focus on community.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Real Estate Advantage Donates to Saftey Village

Ashville, New York (Friday, November 5, 2010)—Real Estate Advantage takes children's safety seriously. The firm recently donated a child's Peg-Perego motorized car to support safety education at the Chautauqua Children's Safety Education Village located in Ashville , New York .

The Peg-Perego motorized car, made in Italy, is a high performance, 12-volt, technologically innovative car made with durable fabrics, safety materials, seat belts and child safety criteria that goes beyond national boundaries. Subsequent to the car donation, Real Estate Advantage donated 200 bicycle helmets to the Children's Safety Village with the promise to replace them as needed.

"We are thankful for the support we have received from Real Estate Advantage," said Terri Kindberg, Chautauqua County Children's Safety Education Village Executive Director. "They have not only provided us with a car, but a lifetime supply of helmets for the students to use while they are at the Children's Safety Village . We appreciate their support and generosity as well as their belief in our program."

The Children's Safety Education Village is a child's size town, complete with a business district, streets, traffic signals and railway crossing to teach children how to properly cross the street, sign recognition, bicycle safety, how to call 911 among other safety education demonstrations.

"Real Estate Advantage strives to become an integral part of the communities we serve," said Richard Benedetto, Broker/Co-Owner of Real Estate Advantage. "In Chautauqua County , we've worked on diverse projects for many years and this was a natural fit for us to support a safety program with a community focus on child safety."

In the village, constructed by local organizations, children learn how to react when faced with emergency situations, such as a fire, disaster, and traffic. Each child receives specialized instruction, which will help reinforce lessons taught earlier at the on-sight classroom facility by safety officers and firefighters.

"The Safety Village provides a setting where children can prepare and practice real life situations and truly reflects our mission to build a better future for our community," added Earl Johnson, Broker/Co-owner of Real Estate Advantage.

For more information, to make a donation or to schedule a presentation at the Children's Safety Village , call (716) 664-5859 or visit their website,

For more information on Chautauqua Lake Real Estate & Living: visit

Chautauqua Lake Real Estate Interesting facts

Based on the Chautauqua County, New York MLS(Multiple Listing Service) data, the number of Chautauqua Lake property Sales for 2010 year to date have increased 18 percent over that of the same time period for 2009.

Interesting facts for Lake Front properties

Data based on Sales from January 1, 2010 - October 28, 2010

Average sale price $268,800.00

Average square footage 1,861

Average days on market 128

Looking at the largest segment, Lake Front Properties priced between $200,000 and $400,000

  • January 1st to October 28th 2009, the average sale price was $298,000

  • January 1st to October 28th 2010, the average sale price was $276,500

In comparison, there has been a 7% decrease in sales price but an increase in the number of unit sales for 2010. If the trend continues we should expect to see in increase in sales through 2011 and see property appreciation come back into the mix.

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Ellicottville Beer & Wine Festival

This Saturday's 7th annual Beer and Wine festival promises to be one of our best ever, for a number of reasons.

For starters, the number of microbreweries and wineries continues to grow… we now have at least 30 microbreweries participating… ranging from regional players such as Southern Tier and our very own Ellicottville Brewing Company to the likes of stellar Saranac from the Lake Placid region to Pennsylvania's highly popular Voodoo Brewing Company.

With this kind of line-up, it goes without saying there will be a lot of pride on the line to come to 'the show' with a selection of beers that will get everyone from novice beer drinkers to beer connoisseurs feeling like they're heaven.

So what kind of beer can you expect to try at this festival? Well I can tell you from Ellicottville Brewing Company's perspective; we're going to be featuring three unique beers.

Two of these beers, our St. Jacob's Oak Aged Stout, with hints of both vanilla and chocolate, and our Bourbon Barrel Belgian Boozies Ale a unique double-fermented ale with sour apple and oak tannin flavors, will be featured in the special VIP area, where a limited number of participants can enjoy the very best that the festivals microbreweries have to offer… all small volume, limited edition beers. The VIP area also includes a selection of great cheeses and h'ordeuvres.

As for the main exhibit area, in addition to many of our mainstay beers that visitors to our Ellicottville restaurant have come to know and love, we're also going to be featuring our perennial favorite, the Chocolate Cherry Stout, an 8 ½% alcohol beer brewed with real cherries that we only bring out for the beer festival and around Valentines. Because this is a nitrogen-fed beer, it pours like a Guinness (only tastes better) and has an extremely smooth finish.

We'll also be unveiling a brand new Winter Witte bottled beer – a 5.8% wheat beer with spicy coriander, orange and citrus lemon grass notes.

I you'd like to learn more about the Beer and Wine Festival, or to order tickets, click on the following link:

You can also pick up tickets on the day of the event, which begins on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at the Holiday Valley Yodeler Lodge. The even runs until 7:30 p.m., followed immediately by the Ellicottville Brewing Company After Party' in town, where we'll serve more VIP beers and there will be a tented beer garden at the back with fires and propane heaters to keep everyone cozy and two live bands – one at 7:30 p.m. to kick off the evening event and the second at 10 p.m.

All in all, I can think of a better way to spend my Saturday – hope to see you there!

Dan Miner

Head Brewer

Ellicottville Brewing Company

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Monday, November 08, 2010

Holiday Valley To Crank Up New High-Speed Quad Chairlift

Load testing the new high-speed detachable quad at Holiday Valley. Load testing the new high-speed detachable quad at Holiday Valley.

At A Glance

Where: Holiday Valley Resort, Ellicottville, NY 14731
Cost: $3.5 million.

Holiday Valley in Ellicottville, N.Y., has finished a $3.5 million project to install a high-speed detachable quad chair.
The new Morning Star High Speed Quad just passed the New York State load test, in the final step of the project that began in May.
The load test involved loading 26 of the 56 chairs with 935 pounds each, about the weight of four skiers or riders. Total load on the lift was 24,310 pounds. Operators ran the lift forward and backward, and tested brakes, backups, and auxiliary motor. The test also involved safety switches and tower circuits.
The Morning Star High Speed Quad replaces a four-person fixed-grip chairlift. Work involved removing the old concrete tower bases and lift terminals, and installation of new ones.
The old lift will replace the SnowPine double chair for the the 2011-12 season.
The Morning Star's base is at a lower elevation on the mountain, next to the base of the Eagle Chair. The new lift line takes a slightly different path up the mountain, with only two lift towers on the Morning Star slope. Skiers and riders also will be able to ski the new lift line.
The ski area expanded terrain and added lights to accommodate the longer lift line, as well.
Holiday Valley has 58 slopes and 13 lifts on four distinct mountain faces.

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