Reopening Work Continues at Granite Gorge and Tenney Mountain
The New Hampshire ski areas are planning to operate for the first time since 2020.
Sunday, December 11, 2022, NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
Activity continues to pick up as temperatures drop at Granite Gorge and Tenney Mountain. Both New Hampshire areas have made significant strides toward not only reopening for the first time since the 2020 COVID-19 shutdowns, but also expanding operations as compared to their last incarnations.
Reopened in 2003 on the site of the former Pinnacle ski area east of Keene, Granite Gorge perhaps peaked around 2011, when a chairlift was in operation with snowmaking and night skiing. Financial and equipment struggles resulted in operations being limited to surface lifts in recent years. Granite Gorge last operated as a surface lift ski area on March 8, 2020, as chairlift service ceased in 2018. Owner Fred Baybutt passed away unexpectedly in early August 2020, leaving the future of the ski area in doubt. Granite Gorge did not operate during the winters of 2020-21 or 2021-22.
Granite Gorge hit the auction block on June 3, with Granite Gorge Partnership acquiring the defunct area for $430,000. Following the winning bid, the local group of investors referenced a "shared desire of returning winter and summer activities to Granite Gorge in a safe and inclusive manner" and plans for "lift repair, snow making, grooming and various other facility upgrades, with the goal of returning winter and summer operations as soon as reasonably possible."
Keith Kreischer, formerly of Windham, New York and Nashoba Valley, Massachusetts, has been hired as general manager. Mid-mountain terrain has been reworked, while other trails have been reclaimed. After maintenance and modifications (including reportedly removing the mid-station), the double chairlift is now being prepped for operation. Base lodge renovations are also in progress. Meanwhile, snowmaking has already taken place. An opening date has not yet been announced.
Following a recent ownership change, Michael Bouchard resumed posting video updates to the area's Facebook page. A new web site was recently launched, announcing a planned Christmas week reopening, as well as "extensive night skiing" in January or February.
Under the ownership of North Country Development Group this year, Tenney has seen significant investments. An additional tract of land was acquired in August, extending Tenney's holdings down to Route 3A. Trails were cleared and brushed extensively for the first time in over a decade, including removing saplings from Tenney's longest official glade, Engleswood Glade.
Lift maintenance is in progress, with chairs expected to be re-hung this week. The Hornet Double, Eclipse Triple, and Pomalift are all expected to operate this winter.
Base lodge renovations continue, including the reworking of the main floor and bar area. The front deck has been removed, making way for a potential future expansion project that may improve access to the building.
The deteriorating original base lodge and administrative building at the foot of the Eclipse Triple have been razed and could be replaced with a new facility in the future.
Multiple shipments of new HKD snowguns have arrived, including fan guns and a ground fleet. In addition, tower guns have been installed at strategic locations in the Eclipse Triple complex.