On March 4th, 1934, the first Snow Train arrived in North Creek at 10:30 am with 374 skiers, kickstarting generations of winter fun at Gore Mountain. This year, we’re celebrating the Snow Train’s 90th anniversary with North Creek and the Town of Johnsburg.
But how did the Snow Train come to be? Let’s look at the history of skiing in the Adirondacks. While we can’t pinpoint exactly when skiing started here, our earliest records of skiing in the area date back to 1903. Heading into the 1920s and early 30s, skiing was a popular pastime for kids and adults alike in the Adirondacks, who often utilized logging roads as trails during the winter.
Then, the 1932 Winter Olympics were hosted in Lake Placid. Many folks in the Adirondacks, including North Creek locals, went to see the Olympic games. The games inspired great enthusiasm for winter sports. One outdoor recreation group, led by Vincent Schaefer, was staying nearby at Heart Lake and got to watch the games themselves. This inspired them to form The Snow Train Committee, dedicated to making destination skiing more accessible at a time when many people relied on public transportation to travel. They petitioned several railroad companies to include trips to several potential ski areas, including North Creek and the then-developing Ski Bowl.
On March 4th, 1934, the first-ever Snow Train, run by the Delaware and Hudson Railroad Company, made the trip from Schenectady to North Creek. The round-trip fare was $1.50, equivalent to $34.70 when adjusted for inflation. Nearly 400 skiers and winter enthusiasts took the Snow Train on its inaugural trip. North Creek quickly became a popular destination for skiers, with the Snow Train being the best way to get there. By 1936, Snow Trains were originating from Albany and Grand Central in NYC to bring in winter sports enthusiasts. This new tourism greatly benefited the local economy. Hotels were full and many families provided room and board to skiers at a modest price, helping them get through the Great Depression.
While the Snow Train was short-lived and eventually shut down in the 40s due to World War II, the train was a crucial point in the history of skiing. We’re now celebrating the history of the train, as well as several decades and generations of skiing and riding here in North Creek and at Gore Mountain.
Join us on March 2-4 As we celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the North Creek Snow Train with showings of The First Snow Train, featuring footage from the Snow Train’s inaugural trip from Schenectady, and the “Ride Up, Slide Down” experience at the North Creek Ski Bowl. Be sure to check out the new Pioneer Plaques in the Joe Minder Lodge.
Visit The Tannery Pond Center to learn more about town events throughout the winter!