By Sasha Yakovleff
Whaleback Mountain has been a staple in the New England ski world for the past 8 years. This small mountain is located just off I-89 in Enfield, New Hampshire. This past spring the mountain shut down as a result of a few bad winters and substantial debt. This left the Upper Valley communities without a place for individuals to ski and local teams to train, creating a large void in this tight-knit ski-centric community.
Whaleback was the center of a community, and hosted high-profile events such as Salomon Jib Academy
The light at the end of the tunnel has now appeared: In an abrupt turn of events, a core group of Upper Valley residents have pulled together to resurrect Whaleback as a non-profit community asset operated by the newly-established Upper Valley Snow Sports Federation (UVSSF). This group's mission is "To support and enhance a sustainable snow sports experience in the Upper Valley." Whaleback is yet another example—along with Magic Mountain, Vermont and Big Tupper, New York—to get another chance as a community owned and operated ski area.
Whaleback boasts over 30 trails and serves more than 5,000 skiers per year. Arguably the biggest assets of this mountain are its location and training programs. The mountain is located minutes away from Lebanon, New Hampshire and White River Junction, Vermont—two of the largest communities and economic drivers in the Upper Valley. Whaleback takes advantage of this close proximity by offering midweek programs nearly every night of the week, and of course more extensive programming every weekend and holiday. For example, the Thursday-night Adult League is filled with more than 40 teams and almost 200 participants each week. More than 450 students from 8 surrounding schools visit Whaleback to ski and ride over the course of their winter programs.
Whaleback, then under ownership of former Olympian Evan Dybvig, appeared in Wanderland, the 2008 release from Meathead Films
Opening day is slated for December 26. The UVSSF crew has extensive plans to update lifts and improve trails, snowmaking, and lighting. Over this fall alone a few new gladed trails have been thinned out. To keep this momentum going Whaleback needs your help! They are actively seeking volunteers and donations to hit targets necessary to open, purchase more Whaleback properties, double snowmaking capacity, and invest in other capital improvements and equipment. Please visit www.whaleback.com and find them on Facebook for more information.