NORTH CREEK - The snow trains brought hundreds of visitors to North Creek. Because there were neither hotel rooms nor restaurants sufficient enough to handle the number of guests, they stayed and ate in homes throughout the village. Mary Lou Cole remembers her grandmother's account of the exciting weekend of Jan. 25, 1936.
She says her grandmother had 12 newspapermen, photographers, and a model, who was married to one of the photographers. A well-known sportswriter of the day, Jimmy Powers from the Daily News, and his photographer, Stanley Brown, were among the group. The following is taken from an article written by Jimmy Powers which appeared in the Sunday Daily News Jan. 26, 1936:
"North Creek, NY, January 25, 1936 - A bright sun, knee-deep blanket of powdery drifts and a thermometer that registered exactly zero greeted Photographer Stan Brown and me as we piled out of snow train early this morning. It was our first trip to this miniature St. Moritz and it was something of a new experience for many of the three hundred New Yorkers who tumbled out of their Pullman to find the village chimneys smoking and clean white clouds over Gore Mountain.
"'Leave your skis and snowshoes at the end of the platform and look for the bus bearing your number,' shouted C.L. Topping, a brisk gent in a navy blue parka. Topping is the town's Grover Whalen.
"It is his job to see that skiers to the number of 3,000 or more are bedded down in a town that has only 600 population. Every spare bedroom is numbered and outlying farmhouses are pressed into service. Stan and I drew house number 11 which belongs to John Cole, a rugged ex-lumberman whose white house stands on a beautiful pine ride one mile from the depot.
"Oil lamps, Currier Ives prints, a beagle puppy, and the faint mooing of Betsy, the family Jersey cow, were refreshing sights and sounds to our city eyes and ears. 10 other skiers were assigned to the Cole farmhouse and soon all were sitting about the breakfast table eating vast quantities of griddle cakes, maple syrup, sausage, and hot biscuits.
"Three delicious meals and a feather bed for the night were to cost us $3.00 each, we discovered. Our round-trip railroad ticket, including the lower berth, costs us $10.50 each.
"Breakfast over, we pulled on every sweater and sock we owned and walked out to find our skis and poles awaiting us. These cost $1.50 a day rental.The baggage car on the train carried 500 pairs of skis, 300 pairs of boots, dozens of varieties of wax and assorted incidentals.
"The Pete Gay Trail is best for intermediates, Carl Schafer [sic], head of local ski, told us.
"A ten mile ride up to the top of the mountain in the bus cost us 25 cents, and we got out to find ourselves in a winter fairyland. Each cedar, spruce, and balsam sagged under a mantle of snow. The sun was bright and far down the valley, distant farms and fields of virgin white were crystal clear in the rare air. Our elevation was 3000 feet. We found the trails wide and safe and the snow fast.
"Too many beginners take slopes too steep for their skill,' said Mort Amundsen, our Norwegian guide. 'Now we caution everyone not to overmatch themselves. Last weekend we accommodated 3,400 fans, men, women, and little daredevil children and our one casualty was a broken ankle. These slopes are the best in the state. Come over and I'll show you the American version of the Swiss funicular railroad.'
"We slid down to a valley where an anchored automobile, vintage 1926, chugged away pulling a continuous rope slide up a 300 foot hill. Skiers grabbed the constantly moving rope and were whisked to the top. Ten tickets sold for 25 cents.
"On the other side of the ridge was a toboggan slide which sent its cargos of screaming girls sliding across the surface of North Creek. The creek empties into the Hudson River, which is a solid chunk of ice up here.
"The skiers on our train were comprised of men and women of all ages and occupations. In our Pullman last night we heard conversation in French, German, and Norwegian. Everyone, it seems, has rosy cheeks and clear eyes. They all talk about their pet formula for ski wax, and the difficulty of shifting body weight to make Christina, Telemark, and Stem Turns."