Friday, December 16, 2005

Lost New England Ski Areas Project

There is a cool website called the New England Lost Ski Areas Project that celebrates all of the goofy little ski areas that used to dot the old north woods. These days the majority of skiing occurs in a handful of large resorts. However, as recently as 30 years ago, skiing was much more spread out and a part of the local communities.

In the Montpelier area, there used to be a rope tow on Sabin's Pasture that was run by the Montpelier Recreation Department. It cost $0.25 a day to used the lift up till the late 70's. Imagine how much worse the current conflict over Sabin's Pasture would be if the Rec Dept was using it as a ski area.

There was also a rope tow out at Morse Farm (less than a mile from the current Morse farm tourist trap and touring center). According to the site, it sounds like one of the Morses built the engine for the tow themselves and Burr was the king of the mountain.

There was an actual for-profit ski area in Barre called Skyline Ski Center. You can see the remnants of it as you drive down the beltline from the hospital going down into Barre. It's located above the road on the hill. I haven't noticed it but I was told that you can still see the poles from the poma lift. The place even had a 35 meter ski jump.

The other significant ski area near Montpelier was the one in Northfield run by Norwich University. The double chair lift was still operational as recently as the early 90's. Someone told me that the base lodge was located across the street from Norwich University but I haven't noticed it in the past. It would be fun to have the place still running but the fact is that the drive to Bolton is only about ten more minutes than the one to Northfield and Bolton Valley has a lot more skiing available than this place appeared to offer.

Sometimes it seems like nothing has changed in VT for a long time but when you hear about all of the little areas where communities skied, you realize how different things are today.

Boss Hog - Ski Bunny

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