Article by Persis Granger
- Photo header Courtesy
The southern Adirondack Mountains have lured snow sports
enthusiasts to their snow-clad slopes for at least a century.
The crisp winter air, azure skies and white peaks of this
vacationers’ Mecca offer irresistible enticement, and the small
hamlet of North Creek, NY, has hosted its share of winter
map of the Gore ski trails
Courtesy Johnsburg Historical
A group of young men from North Creek
returned from the 1932 winter Olympic Games in nearby Lake
Placid determined to develop the winter sports potential of
their home town. Those volunteers cut and cleared miles of
trails, and members of the community helped publicize
1930s snow train arrives at North Creek Depot.
Courtesy Johnsburg Historical Society
|Local folks transported early snow train passengers after they reached North
Creek.Courtesy Johnsburg Historical
A club from the Albany area was excited,
and on March 4, 1934, throngs of skiers bustled off Delaware &
Hudson coaches, flooding the platform at North Creek Depot. At
the arrival of this very first “snow train,” almost five hundred
visitors descended upon the tiny town of about six hundred.
Local residents greeted the visitors with cars, trucks and buses
ready to transport them to lodging places. Nearly every
household with a spare bedroom dusted it off and made up the
beds for guests. The vehicles were on hand again to ferry skiers
to and from the slopes throughout the weekend, allowing them to
enjoy the new concept of “ride up, slide down.”
It was enormously popular, and by 1936 as many as 3,000 skiers
arrived each weekend to enjoy the challenges of the snowy
mountain trails and to revel in the hospitality of this little
The snow trains ceased abruptly in 1942, however, when
the US was plunged into World War II. Rather than vacationers,
the steel rails were extended to the mines in Tahawus, and
trains then carried valuable titanium dioxide to make camouflage
paint for military vehicles.
Fast forward to 2011, when the Saratoga & North Creek Railway
(SNCRR), which had recently won the contract to run trains on
the former D&H tracks now owned by Warren County, re-established
rail service between North Creek and the Amtrak station in
Saratoga Springs. Railroad officials announced that snow trains
to North Creek would run once more, and the North Country once
more rolled out the winter welcome mat at North Creek Depot.
|The SNCRR tracks trace the
west shore of the Hudson River for most of its length.
Courtesy Saratoga & North Creek Railway
Now in its third year, SNCRR looks forward to transporting more
and more winter sports enthusiasts to North Creek in its climate
controlled 1950s-vintage coaches with all the amenities.
Passengers may enjoy breakfast, coffee, even a bloody Mary, on
board as they enjoy the ride. For the premiere experience, one
may buy a dome car ticket and revel in the bird’s-eye view of
the Hudson River corridor while gliding toward an Adirondack
adventure. Once in North Creek, somewhat like
days of yore, visitors may catch a shuttle to hotels, motels and
Breakfast and scenery in the dome car are memorable.
Courtesy local artist and frequent SNCRR passenger, Sher
Some things, however, have changed since the 1930s. The
historic Ski Bowl established as a nexus of the earliest trails,
is now the site of a family fun park for tubing, snow boarding
and skiing, and also a residential ski-in, ski-out complex.
Those early trails are now incorporated into Gore Mountain Ski
Resort, part of a mammoth
trio of huge facilities operated by the Olympic Regional
Development Authority (ORDA). It seems fitting that one of the
three is Whiteface Mountain, the very site of the Winter
Olympics that spurred those young volunteers back in the 1930s
to invite the public to come to North Creek. Gore’s current
credentials would surpass their wildest dreams. According to
Gore’s official website, it boasts a
drop of 2,537' and 112 trails, including Alpine,
glades and snowshoe and cross-country trails. With snowmaking
possible over 95% of its skiable 437 acres, fifteen lifts and
four lodges, Gore is a worthy destination for an outstanding
train ride and a perfect partner for SNCRR, whose general
manager Justin Gonyo notes, “We offer a
unique product, in that
our services allow [passengers] to purchase ski ticket packages
to Gore Mountain at premier prices. We offer packages for
downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, tubing, and snowshoeing.
Of course, even if you don’t want to be outside, you can stay
inside and be warm at one of the many shops or restaurants in
Gonyo also praises
the “Haul Pass” discount for the avid winter outdoorsman, as
well as discount rates offered to groups and seniors,
concluding, “We offer full meal service on the train, and will
take care of loading your baggage and skis.” What more could a
weary skier ask?
The train is a relaxing way to get to this mountain town from
almost anywhere. After your weekend of skiing is over, re-board
the train at North Creek Depot for your return trip and enjoy a
warming adult beverage on the way back–all without the hassle of
couple relaxes on the return trip to Saratoga Springs.
Courtesy Saratoga & North Creek Railway
For more info:
Learn more about
the SNC snow train schedule and rates at
Check the skiing at
Energy on the Adirondack Slopes
This issue marks the beginning of
my second year writing Adirondack Trail Mix, and in one of those
late-night, bleary-eyed moments, I wondered if anywhere online I
would actually find a recipe called “Adirondack Trail Mix.”
“Appalacian,” yes, “Adirondack,” no. But just as I was giving it
up as a dumb idea, I hit on “Healthy Food for Living,” a blog
boasting a recipe that fit so well with this issue’s column that
it screamed to be included.
Read below Lauren Zembron’s home-tested recipe containing
Saratoga Peanut Butter Company’s Adirondack Jack, plus all of
the great traditional trail mix/GORP ingredients. Lauren’s
notes, “Soft and chewy, these granola bars are a great on-the-go
snack. I’ve also been enjoying them crumbled on top of Greek
yogurt or cold cereal. As is noted following the recipe, I
suggest a) chopping the dried fruit and b) baking the bars in an
8 x 8 inch square pan in order to yield granola bars that hold
together well. The bars photographed here were a bit crumbly,
but that could easily be remedied by following the noted tips.”
Crumbly or not, this writer thinks the bars would be
great to stuff into a ski parka pockets for a mid-morning energy
Trail Mix Granola Bars
canola oil cooking spray
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbsp brown rice syrup (alternately, you
could use the equivalent amount of honey, agave nectar, or
pure maple syrup)
1/4 cup natural nut butter, (I used Saratoga
Peanut Butter Company Adirondack Jack), at room temperature.
1 tsp vanilla extract
old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup puffed brown rice cereal
1/2 cup unsweetened & unsulfured dried fruit,
such as cherries or cranberries*
1/2 cup chopped nuts and/or seeds, (I used 1/4
cup chopped almonds + 1/4 cup sunflower seeds)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Line an 8 x 8 inch square baking pan (or a 9 x
5 inch loaf pan for thicker bars)** with parchment paper so
the sides hang over the edge of the pan. Lightly coat with
canola oil cooking spray; set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the applesauce,
liquid sweetener of your choice, nut butter, and vanilla
extract; stir until the mixture is completely homogenous.
Fold in the rolled oats, puffed rice cereal,
salt, cinnamon, dried fruit, and nuts and/or seeds. Spoon
batter into the prepared pan, spreading into an even layer,
and bake until lightly golden brown, about 20 minutes (add
about 5 additional minutes of baking time if you’re using a
Allow to cool in pan for about 10 minutes,
then remove by picking up the sides of the parchment paper.
Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before
cutting into bars.
*If using dried fruit that comes in larger pieces,
such as cherries, I suggest roughly chopping them before adding
to the batter
**Having made two batches of these granola
bars, one in an 8 x 8 inch pan and the other in a 9 x 5 inch
loaf pan, I can say that the bars hold together better when
baked in the 8 x 8 square pan. Although I like the traditional
rectangular shape of the bars from the 9 x 5 loaf pan, their
thickness made them a bit more crumbly.
Find other great recipes at
and leave a note for Lauren if you try them.
Text and photo used with permission of Lauren Zembron.
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