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Flashback to the Backwoods Ski Club

Back in the 50's we had buses, too, which did not please the regular customers. Buses meant long lift lines, and they brought their own "bootleg" instructors.

One day, one of our friends started skiing down the Ridge Trail and she had to stop because one of the bus instructors had the trail blocked with his students. He was teaching them to snowplow, which should have been done on the lower slopes. One of his students had previously taken a lesson from the local ski school and informed him that his instructions were not the same as what she had been taught locally. In a contemptuous tone, he stated, "Don't pay any attention to them, they're a bunch of backwoodsmen.

We proudly and defiantly adopted the name, but we still had no visible identity as such.

One day, one of our friends (George "Lonesome George" Turton), who was a cabinet maker at Montgomery Ward in Menands showed up with a bunch of wooden hand lettered pins he had made and presented each of us with one of them. The pin bore the legendary title, "Backwoods Ski Club". From then, the "Backwoods Ski Club" had a tangible identity.

The Club remained loyal to "Old Gore" until the 1964-65 ski season, when a new manager was hired by the Gore Mountain Ski Lift Corporation, which operated the Ski Bowl. The new manager demonstrated by his words and actions that the Backwoods Ski Club would find a more hospitable reception at the recently opened state ski center. We thereupon, moved our activities to "Big Gore" where we have been for the last 31 years.

After all these years, The Backwoods Ski Club has evolved into a group of friends at Gore Mountain who ski together, enjoy lunch together, and party together.

Ernie Johnson

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