Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lost Ski Areas of the Adirondacks update

Paleface postcard caption: Winter thrills - snow time is here. For this the skiers have waited all year (courtesy www.teachski.com).

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.
Jeremy Davis checked in recently with an update on his forthcoming book, Lost Ski Areas of the Adirondacks. As previously announced, the book is expected to be in print about a year from now, and will focus on the estimated 50 - 55 lost ski areas within the Blue Line.

One of the challenges facing Davis is how exactly to define the Adirondack region. While there are a number of lost ski areas in areas just outside the park boundary, such as the Saratoga - Glens Falls region, Davis is holding to a cut-off at the Blue Line. As a result, Alpine Meadows will be in the book while Darrow's Farm Slope will not, at least at this point. Both areas are located just outside Saratoga Springs. "Alpine Meadows is an intersting case," Davis explained. "It's actually 200 feet outside the park boundary but I'll count it. Heck, it was even called Adirondack Ski Center at one point. Darrow's will not be in the book as it is outside of the park, but will likely be in a future book on Hudson Valley/Capital District areas."

Much of the information that will be used for the book has been gathered over the past 10 years, but Davis is also researching newspaper archives, conducting interviews and tapping other sources. "I've been finding more areas than I previously knew about. For instance, I found 3 in Raquette Lake, where I thought there was just one. Warrensburg had another one called Hull's Slopes that I didn't know about either."

Schaefer Ski Land tow mechanism.

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.
Shaefer Skiland tow mechanism, perhaps New York's first tow

Davis has also been visiting as many areas as possible to get photos and the current status of each site. The book will have directions to each lost areas if there is something left to see, as long as it is on public property or viewable from the road. "I recently visited all of the lost tows around North Creek, which has been a lot of fun. The photo above, taken on June 30, is the top of the Schaefer Skiland Tow in North Creek. The Gore Mountain access road slices right through this former area. Carl Schaefer built the first rope tow in NY near what is now the Ski Bowl, then moved it to his property a mile away and ran it for a few more years, then used it only for family members. As far as I can tell, this is the engine that ran the first rope tow in the state!"

If, like me, you're a little disappointed that Darrow's won't be in the book, The Saratogian ran an interesting article about local resident Carter Yepsen's efforts to bring the lost area back to life. And as always, readers who skied at one of the Adirondack's lost ski areas and have memories or photos to share are encouraged to email Davis. Additional information can also be found at the website of the New England Lost Ski Areas Project (NELSAP).


  1. Although I do not have any photographs, I do have many fond memories of skiing at Paleface Mountain, while attending college at Plattsburgh in the early '70s. My friends and I would pile our gear and our bodies into someone's car and drive 45 minutes on weekends to Jay. The lift tickets cost $7.00 and the main hill was fantastic. It was a great time in my life. I only skied for thirty more years after that in New York, Vermont, Maine, Utah and Alberta, but Paleface was dearest to my heart. Thanks for the memories.

  2. Thanks for reading and for commenting. If you're interested in Paleface, you might be interested in this background about its founder, Boylan Fitz-Gerald, that I posted today.