Why?

Ever since I was a kid and remember driving past Hogback and Prospect Mtn in Southern, VT on my way to Okemo and Stratton and saw all the trails cleared but no ski lifts running Ive been curious to know the histories of these places. Similar to our love of seeing ruins and ancient artifacts is my passion for skiing and for ski history. What happened to these places, why did they close down? How is it possible that there are over 600 closed down ski areas scattered across new england and just a handful of decent sized ones left? It has only grown stronger over the last couple years as I have seen some of my best life ski experiences at mid sized mountains with by far the most character shut their doors for good.
Looking back at my childhood ski days some of my best memories are from Brodie Mtn when they would paint their snow green for St Pattys Day and set up a huge jump for anyone to go off of into a pool of freezing cold water(this would never be allowed in todays society as they would almost assuredly be sued by someone who went off drunk and hurt themselves). My best ever east coast powder day came at Whaleback Mtn, which can be seen directly off the highway on interstate 89, which given the same day at a larger developed resort would have never been the same. It happened because of its mid-size and less well known status as we were able to get untracked run after untracked run with only about 10 other fellow expert skiers sharing the slopes with us and the more liberal ski patrol of a smaller sized resort opening runs that would probably not be opened at larger resorts. Just found out they are shutting their doors for good at the end of this season. 2 years ago I had my best ski day of that season at Tenney Mtn in Plymouth, NH. For $10, me and one of my best friends enjoyed the slopes basically to ourselves on another rare east coast powder day with the entire mtn open. Why would someone ever pay $90 to ski with thousands of other people on the same trails as them over a completely uncrowded, powder filled day for $10? I wish i had the answer to this to help out these smaller areas. Again, unbelievable character at this place both out on their trails and in the cool swiss style ski lodge. But at the end of that season, they shut their doors for good as well. I miss the days when everyone took responsibility for themselves instead of blaming others. They warned you there was thin cover on the trail so dont complain if you have a small slice in the bottom of your ski(it can be repaired). When you went down an expert trail that you had no place being on in the first place, it is not the ski areas fault that you were bombing out of control and hit a shack or snowmaking pole on the side of the trail that would have been out of the way for any skier who knew what things they could handle and couldnt. Im glad that it is becoming harder to sue ski areas for ones own negligence but the unfortunate side effect of this is that insurance has skyrocketed and is now making it very difficult for smaller areas to pay for this while still being fair to the average ski consumer and actually making it affordable for a family to ski again. I remember when I was younger my father telling me a story of one of his favorite ski areas, Magic Mtn, about how they became bankrupt by being sued $1mil dollars for someone skiing out of control into a snowmaking pole and winning the suit which inevitably forced them to shut their doors for about 20 yrs and then reopened for me to be able to ski again, quickly becoming one of my favorite spots in New England to ski, just for it to again hit hard times and come close to closing again. All these experiences have made me more and more curious about skiing’s past and then one day I ran across a website called nelsap.org, created by Jeremy Davis, which documents all known closed ski areas. The site is very well organized and for anyone who has not already checked it out I would highly recommend it. It was definitely an inspiration for me to create this blog as well as a database for finding lost areas to check out and ski and attempt to recreate what these areas were like in their heyday. My goal is to create a site that helps fellow east coast backcountry skiers and just plan old ski enthusiasts find old areas that are both still skiable and on public land. So here goes nothing.

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