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The forgotten feeder hills

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

@skiessentials wrote an article about the Forgotten Feeder Hills  which came about the time when my old local hill from Michigan was advertising $10 lift tickets for anyone willing to bear the arctic cold to come ski.

 

I have great memories from Caberfae and great admiration for a small hill that does so much to expose young people to this sport we love. 

 

What's your favorite feeder hill? 

post #2 of 29
Mikaela Shiffrin's upbringing at Storr's reminds me of the ski area closest to me. Before I get to my home mountain of Stowe, before I can get to Sugarbush or that skiing cathedral, Mad River Glen. Heck, before I even get to the local spot at Bolton Valley, I drive past a slope with a couple runs cut into it, which look like they're going to drop right down onto I-89 South. Maybe 250 feet of vertical with a rope tow. The place is Cochran's. Cochran's has produced more US Ski team members, Olympians, Olympic medalists in alpine skiing than any other area in Vermont. Even now, when a kid shows up at Stowe for a race wearing a Cochran's jacket, everybody knows they're not to be trifled with.
post #3 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post

@skiessentials
 wrote an article about the Forgotten Feeder Hills  which came about the time when my old local hill from Michigan was advertising $10 lift tickets for anyone willing to bear the arctic cold to come ski.

I have great memories from Caberfae and great admiration for a small hill that does so much to expose young people to this sport we love. 

What's your favorite feeder hill? 

Unfortunately several are defunct: Timberlee, Sugerloaf MI, Thunder Mtn, Walloon Hills.

Always liked trips down to Caberfae when I was little. Other than that, Hickory and Holliday aka 'Mt. Holiday'.... They're all still funct. smile.gif
post #4 of 29

This was my local "hill" before my move to Utah this year.

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/wazjepuzit8ii9l/2013-02-04%2017.37.55.jpg

 

Yes, that's the whole thing.  All 150' of it.

post #5 of 29

Nice article. Most of my skiing is done on "feeder hills" in Upstate NY. I've never understood the mentality of those who poo-poo skiing local areas-they're a good place to work on technique and conditioning before the trip to the bigger mountains (unless your idea of a "ski vacation" is a 10:00 start, 2 hour lunch, and hitting the bar at 2:30.)

post #6 of 29

Though not quite forgotten, it surely doesn't get much attention, being in the shadows of all the great places Tahoe.  My training hill is Bear Valley (near Arnold CA).  It's the closest resort (to me) w/ the most snow, and it's only crowded on "holiday" weekends.  Being an intermediate, having a long 1.5+ mile blue run to yourself feels great (though the backside isn't open just yet this year). There's also something to be said for being able to find a seat at lunch time.

 

BTW I'm headed up tomorrow for a day trip to work on skills.  Forecast says scattered snow/rain throughout the day.  That should keep some of the crowd away.  I think it'll be easy to keep a smile on.

post #7 of 29

My first ever ski season was at Snowbowl which is a small-ish hill. Then for the remainder of my childhood we skied several NC hills (Cataloochee, Wolf, Beech). The past 6 years I have skied Chestnut "Mountain" in the midwest, along with some ski trips to CO as well, which was an eye opening experience to say the least :eek

post #8 of 29

Breeder Feeder Ski Areas are the lifeblood of the ski industry. As more of them close, the less optimistic I am about the long term survival of our sport. 

 

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

post #9 of 29

Even Anchorage, Alaska has its' feeders.  I had several hundred days on this little speed bump, Hillberg.  You are seeing the whole thing in this video and you can see the Chugach Range, Alaska Range, and McKinley from here.  

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEh-FpwQzzs

post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 

I was just thinking about some of the smaller places around here, probably some that Glen Plake talked about when he was encouraging people to support the feeder hills, like Diamond Peak, Homewood, and on a little bigger scale, Mt Rose

 

Speaking of which, Homewood is hurting from this season's marginal snow and is offering some great ticket deals. Seems that the feeder hills are the ones who step up and make it affordable for someone to get started in this sport. 

Check out these deals http://www.skihomewood.com  You won't find prices like that for beginners at any of the major resorts. 

post #11 of 29

http://nelsap.org/ is a great resource for seeing just how many feeder hills have been lost over the years.

post #12 of 29

New England has a zillion.

 

Blue Hills,  Bradford.  Nashoba. Wachusett.  Berkshire East.  Blanford.  Bosquet are just a few in MA.

 

Suicide Six.  Crotched. Ragged.  

 

Cranmore is in N Conway but often overlooked.  

post #13 of 29

Hey everyone,

 

This is Matt w/ Skiessentials, the author of the article. I wish I had noticed this thread earlier! Regardless, I'm glad to see everyone chiming in and commenting on their own experiences with feeder hills. By far, this article has seen the most passionate responses from our readers. If you read the article, then you already know a bit about my early days skiing at a feeder resort. 

 

It is a bit crazy though to reflect on the time when I discovered skiing. I got a bit of a late start, taking my first (and only) lesson at age 12. From that day on though, I was hooked. Without much else to do in my small town, I found myself buying lift tickets both days of the weekend for my first season, before stepping it up with a seasons pass the following year. At that point, I got serious tunnel vision. All I cared about, day in and day out, was getting back on the hill. Literally, I was on the hill 5-7 days a week. Before I could drive, I had my mom write a letter for me, telling the school that it was acceptable to drop me off at the ski hill rather than my house.

 

Since then, and after moving to Stowe, I find myself less eager to get on the mountain. Don't get me wrong- skiing still dictates my life, from where I live to where I work and how I spend my money/free time. But overall, I find myself staring out the window, day dreaming about skiing a bit less. It may just be a part of growing up and having other things to worry about, but part of me is convinced that the tight knit culture and familiarity of Song Mountain (my home mountain) is what had me so obsessed with skiing.

 

Anyways, just thought I'd share a bit more about my personal experience with feeder hills!

 

Matt w/ Skiessentials.com

post #14 of 29

I was hiking up farm hills on garage sale gear before riding lifts and rope tows at Buck Hill and Hyland Hills.

post #15 of 29

My first skiing experience at an actual ski area was Eldora in the early 1980's, back when they were barely hanging on and Corona lift was derelict making it much more of a local hill than it is even today.

 

A sizeable portion of my time as a beginner skier was at Conquistador, now long gone. Did a lot of night skiing at Ski Broadmoor, now long gone.

 

Very few feeder hills in CO now. For some reason I have never been able to quite figure out, the San Juans have almost all the really small ones that are left. Lake City, Ouray, Silverton (Kendall Mountain, not Silverton Mountain), Durango (Chapman Hill) and Hesperus all have local ski hills. Pagosa Springs is even trying to build a new one- they made an ill-advised purchase of a lift from Cuchara Valley before being informed that the lift was worthless and would need updates that would cost more than it was worth spending.

 

However, most of the "feeder" hills mentioned above left in CO do not do a whole lot of teaching, at least I don't think they do. I think they serve much more as an after-school hangout than first time on snow. Still worth their weight in gold in my eyes.

 

In Colorado, I think the small (but still large by many standards) ski areas like Loveland, Eldora, Monarch, Sunlight, Powderhorn etc. have taken over the role of being the affordable first-time teachers.

post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post
 

@skiessentials wrote an article about the Forgotten Feeder Hills  which came about the time when my old local hill from Michigan was advertising $10 lift tickets for anyone willing to bear the arctic cold to come ski.

 

I have great memories from Caberfae and great admiration for a small hill that does so much to expose young people to this sport we love. 

 

What's your favorite feeder hill? 

I'll be at Caberfae tomorrow.  There's something about that little hill.  Lift tickets are still cheap.

 

I grew up skiing Pine Knob and Mt. Holly...talk about little feeder hills.  Funny thing is I know two guys who also group up skiing those hills who both spent time on the US Freestyle Team in the late 80's - early 90's. 

post #17 of 29

@skiessentials Great article. It is also interesting to note that Nick Goepper is also on olympic team and comes from Perfect north slopes which has a 400 foot vert and terrain park has maybe 200. Amazing off the small terrain park he has made an olympic team as a slopestyle skier.

post #18 of 29

Anyone know how many of the skiers or boarders going to the Olympics started out on small hills?

post #19 of 29

My feeder hills was Timber Hill in Analomink Pa. 450 vert with two T-Bars and a Poma, the lifts were eventually replaced with chair lifts and renamed Alpine Mountain. 

post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohioskier View Post
 

@skiessentials Great article. It is also interesting to note that Nick Goepper is also on olympic team and comes from Perfect north slopes which has a 400 foot vert and terrain park has maybe 200. Amazing off the small terrain park he has made an olympic team as a slopestyle skier.

 

 

@ohioskier- That's a good point about Goepper. It seems like there are actually a lot of freestyle skiers (and possibly snowboarders) who came from small mountains. Another good example is Tom Wallisch who grew up skiing Roundtop in Pennsylvania.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

Anyone know how many of the skiers or boarders going to the Olympics started out on small hills?

 

@marznc - Good follow up question to Ohioskier's point. I'm tempted to look into this a bit more, as Mikaela is certainly not the only one. Already we can name Mikaela Shiffrin, Nick Goepper, Tom Wallisch, and multilple Cochrans. Your point really does have me wondering if there's any kind of correlation between feeder hills and Olympic athletes.

post #21 of 29

Louie Vitto competes regularly in snowboard and is from Columbus with home mountain in Bellfontaine Ohio which is a 300-400 max vert hill. Not sure if he made team but he is a pro boarder.

post #22 of 29

I am taking my 7 yo to Tuxedo Ridge (NY) tomorrow. It is about 450' vert and about 35 minutes from my house. The 2 other we ski are Campgaw (NJ) at 280' vert and Mt Peter (NY) at maybe 400' vert. This is Mt Peter's 78th season and the other 2 have been running for over 50 years. They also run racing programs. Campgaw was the main place where I learned to ski. When I was in 3rd/4th/5th grades my parents would drop off me and a few friends in the morning for a lesson and a day of skiing. They would pick us up at 4pm.

 

:) Those were the days.

post #23 of 29

To add to the list . . . Lindsey Vonn and Karly Piper Shorr are from Michigan.

 

Found this about Krista Schmidinger.  Grew up skiing in MA and ended up in NC at Sugar Mountain.  Never knew that.  Krista and her twin sister were on the 1992 Olympic team.

 

http://www.sports-reference.com/olympics/athletes/sc/krista-schmidinger-1.html

 

Somewhere I read that the drive needed to get to a high level in regional and national competitions can be stronger for some athletes from smaller hills because they have to work that much harder on limited terrain to hone their skills during a shorter season than those who live within an easy commute from a big mountain.  That made sense to me because I'm an amateur ski nut who wants to improve but I live in the southeast.  I'm much more likely to ski in the rain or less than good conditions than if I lived near a ski area anywhere in the Rockies.

post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

Anyone know how many of the skiers or boarders going to the Olympics started out on small hills?

Given there're a lot more "feeder hills" than big mountains, I would start by finding out who started on a "big mountain", the rest started on some sort of feed hills of one kind or another...

post #25 of 29
post #26 of 29

Here are a few more small hill Oympians

 

Lindsey Vonn  Buck Hill, MN

Hank Kashiwa McCauley Mtn, NY

Diane Roffe  Brantling, NY

Donna Weinbrecht, Hidden Valley, NJ

Erik Schlopy, Kissing Bridge, NY

Cindy Nelson, Lutsen, MN

post #27 of 29

We just did an interview with the editor of the Secret Lost Ski Areas of New England (NELSAP).

 

http://www.mrablog.com/the-secret-lost-ski-areas-of-new-england/

post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by John V. View Post
 

Nice article. Most of my skiing is done on "feeder hills" in Upstate NY. I've never understood the mentality of those who poo-poo skiing local areas-they're a good place to work on technique and conditioning before the trip to the bigger mountains (unless your idea of a "ski vacation" is a 10:00 start, 2 hour lunch, and hitting the bar at 2:30.)

And what's wrong with that on a non powder. cold, non sunny day:D

post #29 of 29

Crescent Hills (now Mt Crescent) in Iowa got me to love skiing.  Still open and MDwestPete is an ambassador.:cool

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