The History of Gore Mountain

It’s no secret that Gore Mountain’s history is deeply entwined with the history of the Town of Johnsburg. We refer to the area as Gore Region for a reason! With ski season in full swing, we thought this would be the perfect time to share some of the background about how Gore Mountain came to be the premier skiing destination it is today.  Below is an overview of Gore’s backstory, and if you’re interested in more details, there’s a great timeline of Gore Mountain’s history on its website

Gore’s Beginnings: The North Creek Ski Bowl

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In 1932, Vincent Schaefer, a Schenectady, NY, resident, attended the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY. Schaefer was inspired to develop a downhill skiing destination in the Adirondacks and set out to identify a prime location. He chose the North Creek Ski Bowl in North Creek, NY, which is sometimes called “Old Gore” or “Little Gore”. 

The same year of his formative trip to the Olympics, Schaefer founded the Schenectady Wintersports Club, and worked with members to construct downhill skiing trails at the Ski Bowl site, and arrange transportation for skiers for the approximately 75 mile trip from Schenectady to North Creek. 

On March 4, 1934, the first of what came to be known as snow trains brought an inaugural group of 378 skiers from Schenectady to the North Creek Ski Bowl. Skiers were then transported to the top of the slopes in the back of pickup trucks. This led Bill Cluesing, a Schenectady Wintersports Club member, to coin the term “Ride Up, Slide Down,” which became a well-known phrase in the region.

In 1935, Carl Schaefer, Vincent Schaefer’s brother, got approval from the Town of Johnsburg to build New York State’s first rope ski tow at the North Creek Ski Bowl. The ski tow is credited with increasing interest in the Ski Bowl and was popular with skiers. Carl Schaeffer moved the ski tow to another site the subsequent winter, but a new ski lift was then installed by the newly formed Gore Mountain Ski Club.

Gore Mountain Takes Shape

Old photo of skiers at North Creek Ski Bowl, NY

Downhill skiing flourished at the North Creek Ski Bowl from its opening in the mid-1930s through the early 1960s. When the larger ski area that we think of as Gore Mountain opened in 1964, visitor rates to the Ski Bowl declined. Fortunately, the North Creek Ski Bowl has evolved over time to function as a recreational park for the Town of Johnsburg and a site for Nordic skiing, as well as to serve as an extension of Gore Mountain’s offerings. 

In the early 1960s, New York State saw the economic value in further developing the Gore Mountain region as a winter tourism destination. Since the North Creek Ski Bowl was not on state-owned land, the state instead focused its efforts on developing Gore Mountain’s main peak and surrounding property. 

When Gore Mountain opened in 1964, it featured downhill trails and three ski lifts. Three years later, New York State installed the first gondola in the state at the Gore Mountain site. 

The next few decades would bring substantial growth to Gore, both in the form of larger numbers of visitors, as well as in the addition of key improvements such as a snowmaking system and a high-speed lift. 

Ski Gore Today!

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Presently, Gore Mountain features 4 peaks, 110 trails, 14 lifts, and has made several recent improvements to make your experience even better. 

Be sure to check out their snow reports and take a look at their trail map to help plan your visit. And if you’re considering a longer getaway, Gore has lots to offer for a fun-filled and relaxing winter vacation. 

Visit Gore Mountain today to learn more about its history and have a great time on the slopes!