Ski train starting up in North Creek

Town looks to improve offerings to visitors

The Saratoga-North Creek Railroad passenger train

The Saratoga-North Creek Railroad passenger train Photo by Nancy Frasier.

— It's time to challenge Lake Placid's post-ski nightlife on North Creek's Main Street, said Johnsburg Town Supervisor Sterling Goodspeed.

With the Saratoga-North Creek Railroad passenger train bringing skiers into town, a little extra bustle is expected this winter in the Gore-adjacent hamlet.

“We expect the ski train to be very successful,” said Goodspeed.

For a long time, Lake Placid has ranked number one in après-ski offerings, but with the train here and the changing, growing business district, Johnsburg can start chasing those skiers, said Goodspeed.

Instead of people day-tripping to the mountain, Goodspeed said the community is developing offerings that will keep people in Johnsburg spending dollars, boosting the town's tourism-heavy economy.

The interconnect at Gore opened in January this year, and the historic Hudson Glade trail has returned via a land transfer from FrontStreet development to the town of Johnsburg. This will be the first year with a full season with the interconnect and Hudson Lift operating, giving Gore five miles of continuous trail along a 2,537-foot vertical decent — the sixth longest in the east, said Emily Stanton, Gore spokeswoman.

An initiative from the Saratoga-North Creek Railroad plans to use Tannery Pond to offer entertainment to visitors. The town has agreed to let the rail company use the facility with no charges, though railroad parent company Iowa-Pacific doesn't have an event schedule prepared yet.

Sarah Munley, Iowa-Pacific spokeswoman, said the train had an almost overwhelmingly successful first season.

“There have been a few days this season that we have just been slammed with passengers and Main Street struggles a little to keep up,” she said. “These are good problems to have.”

The problem will likely need just as much attention in the winter months. Iowa Pacific, parent company of the North Creek Railroad, runs ski trains in other parts of the country. They find that there's usually riders on the ski trains who aren't interested in hitting the trails, whether they're cold-weather tourists or friends and family tagging along.

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