Chasing Ghosts: The New England Lost Ski Areas Project

By Sasha Yakovleff

 

Have you ever driven by an old ski area and wondered what happened to it? Here in New England our varied landscape is littered with new and old ski areas of all shapes and sizes. The goal of the New England Lost Ski Area Project (NELSAP) is to educate us all about these ski areas and protect New England ski history. Which is nice. It’s also a great resource and an ideal excuse to pack up the skins and find some virgin powder when the conditions are right.

 

Ascutney trail map
A trail map of Ascutney from 2008.

 

For example, one of the more recent mountains to shut its doors was Ascutney, located in Brownsville, Vermont. Ascutney closed down in 2010, citing a variety of reasons ranging from poor weather patterns and real estate to bankruptcy. Ascutney is sandwiched in the heart of Southern Vermont ski country between Okemo Mountain Resort and Killington. This tall and steep mountain was a perfect local's choice on busy weekends to avoid the New York City crowds surging up I-91. Rumors circulated about the mountain re-opening in 2011 but have since all but dwindled away when the high-speed quad was sold and removed in 2012.

 

Keep in mind that Ascutney has not maintained or mowed any trails since 2010. Most of the terrain is still clear but new growth is starting to take hold. If you skin up on a deep day some classic steep Vermont trails to hit are: Upper Exhibition, Touch n Go, Free Fall, and Cabin Chute to The Dark Side.

 

tenney double 68
The double chair at Mt. Tenney in New Hampshire, circa 1968. Photo: NELSAP.com

 

Tenney Mountain, located in Plymouth, NH, is another local favorite that was shuttered within the past decade. This mountain is now home to a large wind turbine project, but the trails are still phenomenal. An accessible and fun top-to-bottom run is Forget-me-Not to Snap-Dragon. Up until last year the summit patrol hut was intact, providing a great place to camp and watch the sun rise before heading down. Sadly this has been vandalized, so these days you'll need your own tent. More information on Tenney is available HERE

 

If you are looking for semi-secret, earnable turns close to home, dig around the New England Lost Ski Areas Project Website for more information.