Gore: Sometimes You Just Gotta Ski

All week at my desk, reports from the hill told of stellar spring conditions, with skiers pealing slices off the steepest terrain on the mountain. It rained on Thursday and then dropped in a quick blast of cold air for the weekend. As we passed mid-February, I was sitting at 16 ski days, with a three day weekend in front of me. The season isn’t getting any younger, sometimes you just got to ski.

Ski Bowl Yurt

I slept late Saturday and drove to the mountains in the afternoon skipping what seemed like it would be the iciest day of the weekend. Sunday looked warm-ish with a little sun and Monday was forecasts as a mixed bag of snow and rain.

A holiday weekend isn’t exactly in line with my penchant for the road less traveled. One advantage of the President’s Week holiday at Gore, by that time in the season the mountain is likely to have all lifts spinning. Even in this somewhat grim year, Gore delivered on that expectation. With the Ski Bowl in play, a skier could arrive early, boot up in the quiet of the yurt and grab first chair.

46er view
The Town of North Creek

The opening of 46er is always kind of a big deal among skiers in North Creek. A signature run at Gore, it has been visible from town for decades. In the 1930s the Ski Bowl was cleared of trees with a rope tow running up the hill.

It’s almost an unwritten rule: If you get first chair at the Ski Bowl, and 46er has been groomed, you’ve got to hit it. At the headwall, I stopped to take in the corduroy in front of me and North Creek in the distance. The 46er headwall is the steepest pitch at Gore that is groomed regularly, and even groomed flat, it gets your heart racing.

Oak Ridge
Oak Ridge

Oak Ridge was next, and it was possibly the run of the day. Oak Ridge and Moxham are original trails from the ski bowl, built before dynamite was part of trail design. Both trails following rolling and sometimes steep terrain in a way that creates rythmic g-forces that make me smile.

After a run on 46er and two on Oak Ridge, I started to climb the ladder. On busy day if you work your way up north side of the mountains, you can often find good skiing without ever waiting for the gondola. And if you are hoping it will warm up during the day, you only get to the higher elevations, later in the day.

Suds on Backwoods

I wanted to see Backwoods, the new trail on the Barkeater side of Burnt Ridge.  I walked it with Bone in the summer when it was under construction, and this was my first time back at Gore when the trail was open.  Of course, I also wanted to ski Sagamore, Gore’s rippin black-and-blue.

Riding the quad it was clear Sagamore hadn’t been groomed and wasn’t being skied. I didn’t understand it, but wasn’t concerned, I was sure there was going to be plenty to ski and do around the mountain.

Conditions on Backwoods were good enough for me to see the potential in the new trail. The upper section is a nice width, with fun rolling terrain. Then on the lower section, like many trails at Gore, it gets steep and dynamite was required to retain it’s blue trail rating.

Choices up top

We moved from Burnt Ridge to the North Side. It was clear that Tahawas had some newish manmade snow, and it was skiing really well. I skied it several times.

There was something odd going on, and I don’t think I was the only one who felt it. Objectively conditions were not good, and you might even call them bad. General surfaces were icy which a limited amount of loose snow on top. Still it was very skiable, and it seemed people were having fun. It was close to freezing and that definitely helped.

Can the skiing be good, when the conditions are bad? It doesn’t seem possible. But there we were.


I ran into Telerider, Jake and Jeff in line in the Saddle, I think. Topridge also had some manmade snow on top and we spent quite a bit of time skiing it.

I found myself following Telerider, keeping my head up, watching him. He was sticking to tele-turns almost exclusively, while I usually revert to parallel turns when conditions are firm. He was 100% in balance, hardly using his edges at all.  This inspired me, and I tried to copy what he was doing.  I never thought I would say this but I had a great day doing tele-turns in some borderline icy conditions.

We skied until late in the day, separating when it was time for me traverse back to the Ski Bowl.

Monday was even better, a forecast of mostly cloudy with rain and snow yielded a day that was partly sunny and well above freezing. Climbing the ladder was again perfect for the day, as trails got slushy and sticky, we went higher.

I Pipelined Out around 2pm and headed south dreaming of snow to come.

13 comments on “Gore: Sometimes You Just Gotta Ski

  1. Harv, 46er was originally cut for the T-Bar in 1946. It was all done with horses and hand tools. The lift opened for the 46-47 season. Picture yourself riding a T-bar up that head wall. We have video of that experience at the North Creek Depot Museum.

    My Dad (Carl Schaefer) built the first rope tow in the Historic Ski Bowl in Dec of 1935 nearer to where the Village Chair is now, but further left, not where the Hudson lift is.

    Another historic note for Gore skiers is that the pastor of St James Church purchased the Ski Bowl property and donated it to the Town of Johnsburg for a dollar. That is why our Ski History Room at the Museum is named for Fr. McMahon. Visit us to learn more.

  2. Can the skiing be good when conditions are bad? Yes. Absolutely. Almost always. And it will make you a better skier.

  3. Greg, your comments got me interested in visiting the North Creek Depot Museum, but the website is Very unclear re: what hours it is open in the winter, currently stating:

    Museum Hours – 2022
    Open: Saturdays and Sundays – 12:00 PM – 4 PM
    July 4st through Labor Day – Thursday – Tuesday 12:00 PM – 4 PM

  4. Hey Harvey it is currently snowing pretty good at Gore & should be good skiing tomorrow. I came up this morning from the Catskills after skiing 3 days at Plattekill. Plan to ski Gore tomorrow & then head up to Mad River Glen for 4 days of skiing. Hoping fort snow.

  5. Great skiing with you this weekend Harv! I agree with Brownski, there are days that are good and days that make you good. With the season we’ve had thus far, that’s why Jake, The Mrs. (Tele Debs) and all the die hard passholders can pull off skiing like that on those conditions.

  6. Bill, Open by appointment in the winter. We need to clarify that. Regular season is May to Oct. If you can’t come then, leave a msg on Depot phone. 518-251-5842 and I will get it. We can make an appointment.

  7. This is my first trip to Gore along with my daughter on her board. This is a BIGGGG mountain!! We arrived Monday but didn’t run till Tuesday. Spend the whole day exploring, getting lost and generally having an awesome time. The conditions on the bottom did get extra mushy and up top was a bit skied off in places. Today was better overall with the groomers having done their job overnight and mother nature providing colder weather. Can’t wait till tomorrow and to eventually return!

  8. Great to ski with you and your crew Telerider. I never had that much fun in marginal conditions.

    A&C, you sound like a Gore skier to me. It takes a certain kind.

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