Skiers from downstate New York, particularly
metropolitan New York City, will be repeating skiing history this winter by
riding Amtrak trains to Saratoga Springs, 30 miles north of Albany, the
state’s capital. At Saratoga skiers can board the North Creek Rail Road to
North Creek, site of the lengendery Ski Bowl where shuttle buses will
transport them to nearby Gore Mountain Ski Center, the second largest New
York State ski resort. Gore is operated by the Olympic Regional Development
Authority (ORDA) an authority that also operates Whiteface Mountain in Lake
Placid and its several other Olympic venues.
Ski trains made the same journey in the early 1940s,
however, that was long before Gore existed. Those pioneer skiers grasped
onto fast moving rope tows to reach the Ski Bowl’s top, and did their
sliding down on long wooden skis on take-what-you-get natural snow. There
wasn’t any snowmaking or fancy snow grooming in those days.
Fast forward to 2011, with Gore celebrating its 50th
year, and now connected to the original Bowl via the Hudson Chair that was
opened in 2010, adding 900 vertical feet to Gore’s trail network, the
mountain boast 2,500 vertical feet and some 422 acres of ski/board terrain.
Ed Ellis, president of Iowa Pacific Holdings, the man
behind North Creek Railroad’s revival was in town this past week, letting
everyone know that the new rail service, based on the number of riders on
the company’s “The Polar Express” train is exceeding all expectations. Ellis
further expects that the trains scheduled to run Friday through Sundays –
beginning December 30 to March 31, 2012 from Saratoga Station to North Creek
would attract thousands during that key ski period.
I’ll be in North Creek Sunday, Dec 18 where I’ll have an
opportunity to ride the train’s dome car –breakfast included- on that
northern portion between North Creek and Thurman, approximately a two-hour
round-trip. New York’s scenic Adirondack Mountains (part of the six million
acre Adirondack Park) offers spectacular vistas.
The bottom line is that you can leave your vehicles in
New York City and have a relaxed weekend of travel and fun on Gore’s slopes,
or even at nearby cross-country resorts. There’s plenty of bed-base in North
Creek and an equal number of fine dining establishments to be had. We will
be staying at the Copperfield Inn Resort in downtown North Creek where the
free shuttle bus to Gore, or to the Ski Bowl, comes by about every 45
minutes. Oh, yes, check out the several ski & Stay package deals now offered
in North Creek.