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Lost Ski Areas of VT: NYTimes article

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Interesting article in today's NYTimes about closed ski areas in VT. Apparently there are 113 of them in that little state alone. Kinda sad.

I had no idea Haystack closed. I usually stick to the northern end of VT, but I had some fun ski days at Haystack a few years ago with friends who grew up just a few miles from there.

http://travel.nytimes.com/2008/01/25...l?pagewanted=1
post #2 of 28
It was about 1960. Dad was in love with Vermont and we would take rides up for cheese ..... yep ..... the guy was an extra sharp cheddar fanatic.

Haystack ..... the first time I ever saw a person on skis .... since you could watch from the road, the old man would stop and let me watch. It looked like such magic.

That ... is where the seeds were planted ... I didn't get to ski for a few years after that but that indeed was the start of an affair that has gone on for ... thanks for that memory .... it all came back like it was yesterday.
post #3 of 28
Yup, got 'et by Mt Snow, then they closed it after a bit. Just like Jimminy bought Brodie and closed that.
Gotta love the corporate mentality; if you can't beat 'em, buy 'em!
post #4 of 28
head moron from jiminy brian fairbanks sold brodie to a private buyer with the stipulation it could not be reopened as a public ski area,so investors and such would give him the needed money to invest in jiminy and not have to worry about competion.so now we have snowy owl tubing resort! Screw jiminy and fairbanks!!
post #5 of 28
Wow, didnt know Haystack has closed down. I only skied there once, no crowds, good snow, decent terrain. Too bad.
post #6 of 28
Haystack was sold by ASC to a group of local investors a few years ago. I had assumed they had reopened it. Probably ran short of money.

I used to ski occasionally at a small area between Bromley and Stratton called Snow Valley. Owner and his wife used to greet the customers, run the snack bar, etc. Like a private club. They closed in the late 70s for all the reasons noted in the Times article.
post #7 of 28
I loved skiing Brodie when I was in college. They had $10 twilight skiing on Mondays that was a blast. I have many good memories of that place, skiing with my college buddies.

I remember driving past Hogback on the way to Mt. Snow / Haystack sometimes, and always wondered about that place. I have met several people over the years who used to ski there.

There's a fellow over on DCski forums who's family ran Bousquet in Mass (still operating as a small hill) and it was real interesting hearing about his memories from childhood when I skied with him last year; he talked about how it was a mom & pop operation, and of the many trials they faced. I think skiing was different then, motivated more by a love for the sport and wanting to establish skiing as a family activity. The business aspect was secondary, which may have led to the ultimate demise of many of these small hills. Still, I really admire the folks who ran the local hills. I have an enduring fantasy of hitting the lottery and opening/re-opening a small hill with some old fashioned operating principles. I have no doubt many other skiers would be into it.
post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier219 View Post
I have an enduring fantasy of hitting the lottery and opening/re-opening a small hill with some old fashioned operating principles. I have no doubt many other skiers would be into it.
Thats sounds great, but I think in doing so you will run into modern problems, and the reason all these places are closing down.
post #9 of 28
I do know of one small remote hill where the "Mom & Pop" principles apply.
post #10 of 28
Rumor has it that Haystack is gonna be turned into a "Private Ski Community" or some such yuppie thing. I was by there in December going to Mt Snow and there is a sign up along the road that advertises the new development. I think the sign is worth more than my house.
I hope they'll expand the parking at their new "club" in order to accomodate the helicopters.:
post #11 of 28
I've skied hogback a few times.
My coldest ski day *ever* was a haystack.

I've heard some pretty great stories about Berkshire Snow Basin in the 1970s.
But never skied it. What a shame.
post #12 of 28
nelsap.org

this is a fantastic site listing all the now defunct ski areas in New England, NY, NJ, CO parts of Canada etc.. Has about 700 "lost" ski areas
listed along with their histories, reasons for their demise, old trail maps etc..
Pretty facinating stuff
post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by C.B. View Post
Rumor has it that Haystack is gonna be turned into a "Private Ski Community" or some such yuppie thing. I was by there in December going to Mt Snow and there is a sign up along the road that advertises the new development. I think the sign is worth more than my house.
I hope they'll expand the parking at their new "club" in order to accomodate the helicopters.:
Yes, the Haystack Club was supposed to revive the ski area, financing it with the sale of expensive second homes. The houses aren't selling well, so there's no money for the mountain.
post #14 of 28
Im surprised the houses arent selling, after all its "around the corner" from Mt. Snow. I got offered the opportunity to buy a place pre-public, I would have gone for it, but I bought a new house to live in full time so that pretty much dried up the funds.
post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richie-Rich View Post
Im surprised the houses arent selling, after all its "around the corner" from Mt. Snow. I got offered the opportunity to buy a place pre-public, I would have gone for it, but I bought a new house to live in full time so that pretty much dried up the funds.
Yeah, me too. I balked because I heard jet fuel isn't available! You know those Bell Jet Rangers....they're thirsty devils.

Just funnin'. I guess if you can afford it, why not. As someone I met awhile back said; "you could be on the other side of the snow next year".
post #16 of 28
Just bought a condo in Mt Snow...always wondered what the story was on haystack.
post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by swisstrader View Post
Just bought a condo in Mt Snow...always wondered what the story was on haystack.
Was it one of the new units that they just built or are building?
post #18 of 28
Yeah, I caught that NYT article too. The demise of small time skiing is mainly due to costs. Some of which are noted in the article. However there are more and they all end up inhibiting more widespread skiing to generally less well to do people. Ski region locals will always have cheaper alternatives to skiing and resorts certainly go out of their way to make that possible. However for the masses of more distant people that is not the case. In the 70s into the 80s the cost of skiing was still reasonable. However then the Vails of skidom rose with all their new high speed quad lifts, real estate developers, and lodging costs really shot up. The resorts kept saying they HAD to join the upgraders with all those expensive lifts and fascillities. I saw that as just an excuse to chase the rich. What a bunch of kr!@. Then today we have the added costs of gasoline making transportation expensive too. I remember spending $20 to $35 for lodging in those days and there were even cheaper digs. Lift ticket prices were comparable too with small areas charging less than $10-$15 a day. For we weekend commuting skiers a 400 mile roundtrip cost about $10 to $15 worth of gas. Hard core ski bums always had alternatives sleeping in their vans in welcoming resort parking lots or anywhere outside anywhere-USA town limits. Instead the greedy higher priced lodging and real estate businesses everywhere not only jacked up their costs but realised as long as a Motel 6 and other low end lodging was nearby, a fair number of skiers were happy to go cheap. So in ski town after ski town those places were bought out by new owners, upgraded, and went with the $80 and up per night that now plagues ski regions everywhere. And we dirt bag ski bums were barred from not only ski parking lots but the lodging people made sure we couldn't park beside even lonely rural roads as vagrancy laws went nuts. Part of that was of course due to the abuse of the rising RV crowd in the 80s. Of course then there is actual ski equipment costs that are far higher now too.

Whatever the resorts do on their own to make skiing cheaper won't work for the lower classes because lodging, transportation, and all else are now a huge cost. Some might say people want the expensive lodging, fast lifts, massive terrain etc thus cheap is not an economic alternative and can't compete at even minimal levels. Some people do want all that stuff, especially those still well off enough to afford it. However if they put a 2000 room basic no frills motel charging $30 a night in resort regions like Frisco, Colorado, had $40 bus fares from urban areas, and had some small resorts still open charging under $30, they would do a bustling business that would show the expensive argument for what it is. There would need to be a lottery just to get a spot on the buses. ...David
post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richie-Rich View Post
Was it one of the new units that they just built or are building?
New unit.
post #20 of 28
Ah, those might be the ones I was offered.
post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richie-Rich View Post
Ah, those might be the ones I was offered.
what's the name and what were you offered?
post #22 of 28
Sorry I dont recall. Prices were around $150-200k
post #23 of 28
Yeah and if anyone remembers Mt. Tom I'll be impressed. A mountain within earshot of the gunfire in Springfield? Of course it was doomed. I ski the Berkshires all the time to get my pow in- Jiminy and Bousquet both do night skiing, so if I'm at work and it's snowing I'm usually headed for a $20 night pass at something off I-90...
post #24 of 28
I have heard that almost all the low altitude skiing areas in the world are likely to die out in 20 years or so. I am not even sure the BIG mountains in the NE like Killington and Sugarloaf are likely to make it. Global warming..

I don't really understand the physics of altitude and temperature (though obviously if your higher up it's colder) but I believe that high altitude places are likely to stay colder through global warming. Whereas the places in the NE and West that rely upon northern lattitudes will suffer.

Look at it right now - its been RAINING in the east in Feb - whereas places like Alta which are well South of NE are still getting snow.

Pete
post #25 of 28
I used to ski at a hill called Dutch Hill. T-bars and J-bars - flat. Just off Rt 9 between Bennington and Wilmington. Only went there a few times, kinda dull. Back in 1966. Everybody did Mombo turns. I think it's condos now.

Prospect Mt was also on Rt, t-bar and flat. It's open for x-country. Never skied there.
post #26 of 28
Well one good thing is that some of the more well-heeled of us may be able to get an old T-bar and make a homemade ski hill... I was reading an article in I think Ski Mag about people who turned their home property into a private skiers paradise. Not for everyone, but it doesn't get more mom & pop than having it in your backyard!
post #27 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuyClinch View Post
I have heard that almost all the low altitude skiing areas in the world are likely to die out in 20 years or so. I am not even sure the BIG mountains in the NE like Killington and Sugarloaf are likely to make it. Global warming..

I don't really understand the physics of altitude and temperature (though obviously if your higher up it's colder) but I believe that high altitude places are likely to stay colder through global warming. Whereas the places in the NE and West that rely upon northern lattitudes will suffer.

Look at it right now - its been RAINING in the east in Feb - whereas places like Alta which are well South of NE are still getting snow.

Pete
Alta's elevation is almost 9000 feet. The highest place in NE is Mt. Washington at 6288.' Alta is also one of snowiest places in the world. The Great Salt lake never freezes and storms roll over, pick up moisture, and slam into the mountains creating "the greatest snow on earth." If you are trying to gauge global warming by comparing NE and Alta then we've been effected by global warming for thousands of years :
post #28 of 28
In nutshell developers bought Haystack from ASC for 5m about 4 years ago. They started building a private resort(they compromised with the town to sell 300 tiks per day to locals) They hired Sugarbush's former Marketing Dir and Exectutive Director of the VSAA to be it's President. He's a friend and basically got screwed.

Undercapitalization and the downturn in real estate was their basic demise and they shut it down in the middle of last winter and it still sits empty. They had spent 12m when they threw in the white flag. There are also several other upscale developments in Vermont in varying stages with Sugarbush's Claybrook/LP Village base area which opened last winter to Burke's plans to Stowe's massive developement starting to come online in the near future. Mt Snow's new owners are getting pretty much the opposite reviews vs Powdr up at Kmart. Add all this up and one can see that the Haystack Club was going to be a hard road to hoe from day one.

Here is one of the many articles about Haystack
http://www.snowjournal.com/page.php?cid=topic11822

As far as NELSAP there was an big article about our organization in Skiing mag a couple of years ago. Jeremy is one incredible guy.
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