Good Times On Gore Mountain With Senior Skiers.

Gore Mountain Resort is headquarters for the Back Country Ski Club. It's not always this foggy. Credit: Pat McCloskey
Gore Mountain Resort is headquarters for the Backwoods Ski Club. That’s Whiteface in the distance. It’s not always this foggy.
Credit: Pat McCloskey

I am riding the chair at Gore this week with my good friend Mike Smith.  He said to me, “McCloskey, I have found the meaning of life—speed, horsepower and altitude.” Mike is an avid skydiver and pilot as well as a real good skier.  At 66 years old, he has more energy than most people.

He makes a home for the Backwoods Ski Club at Gore Mountain Ski Resort, NY.  There are several senior skiers who are regulars at Gore and like Mike, have more infectious energy than a lot of folks their age.  At 75, John Daly is the ringleader and is constantly herding his group of skiers who are all in their 70s and 80s.  John is a retired businessman from Amsterdam, NY and makes Gore his second home in the winter.  If you ever think that you have to slow down as a senior skier, you should spend a day like I did with Mike and the affable crew from the Backwoods Ski Club.

What kind of activities does the Backwoods Ski Club engage in?

Aside from skiing, they are very social.  No dues, no bylaws, just an invitation to join their club is all that is needed. Your membership includes a little varnished pin that is made of wood that simply states—”Backwoods Ski Club.”  They have a potluck lunch every other Wednesday and an end of the year social at the area with a catered meal.

How have they seen skiing change over the years?

One of the reasons they like Gore is that it is managed by the Olympic Regional Development Authority in conjunction with the State of New York.  There’s very little commercial development, and they like that just fine.  Gore is family and senior-oriented.  The lodge is filled with gray hairs and not crowded.  Mike says skiing in general has become very commercialized with focus on real estate development.  Gore is a throwback of sorts with focus on skiing.  That is why the folks from Backwoods love it.

What advice for a mid week club?

John Daly says that it is fairly simple. Gather the skiing friends and make a plan to meet on Wednesdays, just like them. The simpler the plan, the better they like it.

Back Country Ski Club members love the double blacks, even scary ones like this. Credit: Pat McCloskey
Back Country Ski Club members love the double blacks, even scary ones like this.
Credit: Pat McCloskey

Does Gore offer any assistance to seniors?

Aside from a casual meeting place in the lodge, they offer seniors a special season pass rate of $270.00 for anyone over 70.  They have mid-week adult clinics (not just seniors), including package meals, lift tickets, and instruction.

How large is the club?

Mike and John are not really sure.  They have lost a few folks in the past season, but the membership is pretty full and most are avid skiers who are retired or have the flexibility to ski in the morning and then manage their affairs in the afternoon.

What’s the lessons learned about ski clubs?

The key ingredients to the success of the club are flexibility, humor, infectious ski culture, and the rules are there are no rules.







  1. Enjoyed the article, but the lead photo is of Whiteface, not Gore.

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