NORTH CREEK - Some readers have heard the sad news that Ernie Johnson died on Oct. 1. He was known to many of us in a variety of roles. We knew Ernie for over 25 years as a member of the Backwoods Ski Club at Gore. We will all miss him, and as a tribute we wanted to share the following article Ernie wrote in 1998 for the News Enterprise.
Mary Ellen & John Jackowski
Backwoods Ski Club
The Backwoods Ski Club is not a "club" in the usual sense. No officers, no meetings, or any other bureaucratic trappings that characterize what is commonly known as a club. It is nothing more than a group of friends who ski together a Gore Mountain, enjoy lunch together and sometimes party together.
There was no starting date for the club, it just happened sometime in the mid 1950's at the North Creek Ski Bowl, now known as "Old Gore". The probable beginnings can be traced to Ridings Restaurant, Farrell's Hotel and the American Tavern in North Creek, all of which were popular apr s ski watering holes at the time and attracted both skiers and local people. Familiar faces, over the weeks and years often created friendships.
One of these familiar faces (Ralph "Chubber" Montello), a regular skier a "Old Gore" - where it all started, began bringing a charcoal grill, hamburgers, hot dogs, relishes, etc. and set it all up near the end of the Hudson Trail at the bottom of the mountain. Many others brought their wine, beer, etc., to share and often ended up as an "Adirondack Luau !". Still no identity, just a bunch of friends.
The ski school at "Old Gore" was one of the first in the east whose instructors passed the rigorous US Eastern Ski Association (USEASE) instructor certification tests. These instructors were among the best.