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Skiing Old Trails of the New Deal

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Cool article in today's Sunday NYT...


Skiing Old Trails of the New Deal


From 1933 until 1942, the C.C.C. deployed almost 3 million unemployed men between the ages of 18 and 25 across the nation to plant trees, hew trails and build roads, bridges and park structures. Workers lived in camps run by the Army, were clothed and fed, and received $30 a month. Communities across the country benefited from new state parks and infrastructure.


The program also helped catalyze the nascent ski industry in the United States. Many New England ski resorts were built around trails first cut by the C.C.C. “In the scope of what the C.C.C. did, it was a real drop in the bucket,” said Jeff Leich, director of the New England Ski Museum. “And yet you think about Cannon, Wildcat, Stowe and what that’s meant for the economy of the region.” The winter tourism industry they helped spawn remains an important source of revenue throughout Vermont, New Hampshire and the Berkshires.

post #2 of 8
post #3 of 8

Great links, thanks for posting!


I never realized that Lord Loop was part of the original Lord trail.  I've skied a couple of the "original" CCC trails (Tuckerbrook and Bruce).  Anybody who could contemplate skiing those with leather boots and no edges had some skills.

post #4 of 8

Feb 17, 2013


Hi Bears:


We truly stand on the shoulders of Giants.  Thanks for posting but my respect and appreciation to the millions of young men/women who contributed to this great effort.


Think snow,



post #5 of 8

Gunstock resort in Gilford, NH which used to be called Belknap Recreation Area, was built by the CCC. They built a wonderful base lodge which has not unfortunately been well used over the years. Nonetheless some of the old rustic charm still shows through. There was a single chair lift, one of the first which has been removed and a great little intermediate trail called "Try Me" and a race trail called "Fletcher Hale". Neither of these are used anymore I think but they were artfully cut. There were also three ski jumps of progressivly larger scale. The 60 meter jump was later named for the great Norwegian jumper Torger Tokle who died fighting the Nazis in Italy. The base lodge had several massive stone fireplaces and large french doors which opened through a stone porch onto an ice skating pond behind the lodge.  While some of what the CCC did has been superseded by other developments their work still forms the core of a great little ski area where thousands of people learned to ski.

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by epic View Post

On that subject - http://www.skinet.com/ski/2003/01/what-the-cs-sawed


That is an amazing article - what they were able to accomplish is truly remarkable!


Thanks to the CCC, places like Stowe today boom with winter business. Warren Warner says, "Stowe is the town that the CCC built." Emerson Baker, now 86, thinks the CCC "may have been the snowball that started the avalanche of skiing in America. But it also lifted me and a lot of other people out of poverty and into successful careers and lives. It prepared us for the war. It strengthened the moral fiber of our country. It's impossible for the mind to encompass all the good that it did. I'm proud to have been a part of it."

post #7 of 8

Its interesting to read of the CCC and Ranch Camp at Stowe. The year I was there (1963/64)  we had the use of the old lodge buildings at Ranch Camp. I'll never forget the great room in one of the buildings in which we sat on the sleeping balconies while the fire roared in the great double barrel wood stoves. The Bruce Trail and also the Houghton Trail came right down to Ranch Camp. The Bruce Trail began on the Toll Road in back of the old stone house and the Houghton Trail cut over to Ranch Valley from much further down the Toll Road. There were also a number of other overgrown ski trails up there in the valley. Occassionally you would come upon one of the old first aid caches where a toboggan had been kept. From the camp it was an easy ski down the old logging road back to school at Stowe Forks. I'm not sure if Ranch Camp was built by the CCC or not. It was a collection of buildings heated with wood. One of them at least was in use by the Burt Lumber Co. at the time I was there. What a great time! I wish I could go back in time to experience that again.

post #8 of 8

Great find. I love ski stories with historical context like that. I always enjoy the NY Times' skiing content - actually it's probably better than a lot of the stuff in the ski magazines. 


OT but kinda similar, Red Bull TV has a new video series about mountain biking in the shadows of the Buffalo Soldiers: 



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