New York’s First Ski Patrol

NY Ski PatrolEarly in 1934 the Mt Mansfield Ski Club formed a safety committee to act as hosts and guides on the mountain. They informed skiers about trail conditions and waxing techniques. Members wore a triangular yellow shoulder patch that became a badge of distinction, and many volunteered to wear the emblem. By spring, the club learned that an educated squad with first aid training was essential requirements for an effective patrol.

That season, skiable snow was in short supply in the southern Adirondacks. Finally in late winter significant snow fell, and on March 4, 1934 the first ski train headed to North Creek from Schenectady carrying members of the Schenectady Wintersports Club.

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The Old Red Gondola

Gore-gondolaIt’s one of my first ski memories — the early 70s, I am 10 years old, and making my first trip to a “real” ski area. After a few fitful starts at some local t-bar/Poma-lift hills, Dad took me with him to the mountain where he skied with some of his grownup friends.

The place is called “Gore,” just over an hour drive from the Colonie area north of Albany, and for this wide-eyed boy, it was if he had set me down somewhere in Austria.

I spent a season on the Goree Gully beginner lift, a long shuffle from the base lodge — “skating” was an adult technique I couldn’t comprehend at the time. I learned to connect turns, do a “stem Christie” (the popular intermediate turn at the time), and found myself making progress.

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Bearpen: The Original Beast Of The East

Four months ago, we posted an interview with New York ski history expert Russ LaChapelle, in which he explained how his passion for lost Empire State ski areas developed over the years.

Of the many ski centers that had closed for good, none caught his imagination more than Bearpen — a mountain in the western Catskills that could have turned into the biggest resort east of the Rockies. Instead, it became a forgotten footnote. But this story must be heard.

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