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New Lodge, Lift and Zip Coaster to be Built at North Creek Ski Bowl

New Lodge, Lift and Zip Coaster to be Built at North Creek Ski Bowl June 5, 2024
Lt. Gov. Anthony Delgado and former NYS senator Betty Little were among the dignitaries at a May 20 groundbreaking ceremony.
Lt. Gov. Anthony Delgado and former NYS senator Betty Little were among the dignitaries at a May 20 groundbreaking ceremony.

For years, the engine that powered the rope tow at the Ski Bowl in North Creek – the first rope tow in New York State – lay hidden in the woods a few hundred feet from the access road to the state-owned Gore Mountain Ski Center.

It was a relic of another era, like the rustic WPA-era Ski Hut, warmed only by one big stone fireplace, and a reminder of the place where many local residents now in their mid-sixties and seventies were introduced to the sport, in heavy laced boots, on Norwegian wood skis with the first cable safety bindings. 

In addition to the rope tow, the Ski Bowl boasted a 3000-foot T-bar that took skiers “over the ridge,” planned during World War II and put into service in 1946, as well as an 830-foot vertical drop and a network of trails that were kept packed by local men wearing snowshoes. Those trails included the expert Hudson, easy Gentle Valley and the intermediate Oak Ridge. When the action moved to the new Gore site on the other side of the mountain, the lift and the trails were abandoned. (The T-bar was revived in 1988.)

Over the past twenty years, however, the Ski Bowl – or Old Gore – as it is also known – has undergone a revival, thanks in large part to its integration into the state-owned Gore Mountain Ski Center.

(In 2002, the Olympic Authority, the agency responsible for managing Gore and many of the state’s other public recreational facilities in the Adirondacks and Catskills, was given responsibility by the state legislature for maintaining the Ski Bowl, which was created by the Town of Johnsburg in 1934 and which still owns the facility.)

In 2007, for instance, a triple chair dubbed the Hudson was installed along the T-Bar lift line. 

When then-State Senator Betty Little dedicated the chair lift, she asked if any of those watching had skied the original slopes and scores responded with cheers.

Many of those old trails have been restored, their natural and traditional character retained, with narrow curves and bends along the fall line.

From the top of the chair, skiers can easily access Gore Mountain Ski Center via the Peaceful Valley trail.

“Year after year, more people began parking here and using the Hudson chairlift, or skiing down to the Ski Bowl from the top of Little Gore Mountain. That not only created the need for a bigger lodge, but brought people closer to the businesses in North Creek,” Little recalled recently.

The Olympic Authority also developed a professional Nordic Center with certified racecourses and built a water line to the Hudson River, which markedly improved snowmaking at the Ski Bowl.

And ORDA’s work there is not yet done, Lt. Governor Antonio Delgado announced at the Ski Bowl on May 20.

According to Delgado, ORDA will resume construction of a new year-round lodge near the site of the original WPA building. It will also install a new Hudson chairlift and a zip coaster, all of which had been delayed by the lack of necessary infrastructure within the Town of Johnsburg.

The venue is expected to draw an additional 40,000 visitors to the community every year.

“We’re celebrating the history of skiing in North Creek, which welcomed the first ski train 90 years ago, but we’re also celebrating the beginning of a new chapter in that history, one that includes replacing the Hudson chair, the construction of a new year-round lodge and the creation of a summer attraction,” said Delgado.

According to Ashley Walden, ORDA’s President & CEO, “this project aligns very well with the mission of the Olympic Authority.”

Walden said a revitalized Ski Bowl would be “a hub for activity,” providing new recreational opportunities for visitors and contributing to the economic development of the area.

The lift is projected to be available for the ’24-25 ski season and the completion of the lodge is slated for 2025, a press release from the Olympic Authority stated.

A Year-Round destination

The new lodge, which replaces the WPA lodge that was destroyed by fire in 1999, will be an 18,300-square-foot facility with a restaurant and two levels of patios with slopeside views. The lodge will also be the base for summer activities, such as a zip coaster that combines the features of a zipline with a rail system.

“The zip coaster will be a one-of-a-kind draw to our area,” said James Bayse, General Manager, Gore Mountain.

The new lodge will be connected to Johnsburg’s new wastewater treatment facility, which is now under construction. The Town of Johnsburg has been awarded several grants to construct the facility, which is expected to be completed prior to the completion of the lodge.  

“After many years of working through the process, we are excited to get this project underway,” said Bayse.

According to the Olympic Authority, Gore Mountain generated $31.3 million in direct spending in 2022-2023.  

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