Skiers glide down a slope at Gore Mountain Ski Center in Johnsburg. Because the North Creek/Johnsburg area hosts two of the most historic skiing venues in the state and the U.S., local leaders are considering establishing a New York State skiing museum in North Creek, which is envisioned to boost tourism year-round.
An effort is underway to establish a New York State ski industry museum in North Creek, state Sen. Betty Little revealed at the Warren County Supervisors meeting held Friday Dec. 20.
With its rich history of winter sports, North Creek would be ideal for a ski museum that could serve as a regional attraction and draw people from across the state —which would benefit local commerce, she and Johnsburg Supervisor Ron Vanselow said.
She said discussions have occurred regarding the concept, and a local committee is forming to develop and promote a plan for such a venue. Vanselow is a member of the group.
North Creek would be the ideal site for a state ski museum because the community hosted the first ski patrol, ski trails and ski train in New York State, Little said.
“This could be a great attraction for North Creek, she said. “And New York State hosts more ski areas than any other state in the nation.”
Vanselow said that Dr. Dan O’Keefe, who has written two books on the history of skiing in North Creek, has been behind the idea of establishing a ski museum in the remote, commerce-challenged hamlet.
“Over the years, there have been so many ‘firsts’ in the ski industry occurring in North Creek — and we can build on that,” Vanselow said, adding that perhaps Little could obtain some state funds to bankroll the project.
The ski museum could draw visitors to North Creek and provide a substantial boost to North Creek businesses, he said.
“A state ski industry museum could give train passengers who arrive in town something extra to do when they get here,” he said, noting that only about half of the passengers traveling on the Saratoga-North Creek Railway during the winter come to North Creek to ski — and the existing businesses have been “struggling” to provide rail patrons with activities.
“The ski museum could be a major attraction,” he said.
Vanselow continued that the museum could be constructed on town-owned property near the railway depot, in the town Riverfront Park area or be housed in an existing building.
“The committee would be working to integrate it into the streetscape,” he said.
A group of local community and business leaders — plus some area politicians — are to meet Jan. 6 to discuss the concept, Vanselow said. A time and location for the meeting are yet to be determined.