Resurrected Granite Gorge and Tenney Mountain Ramp Up Operations
The two recently-reopened areas are trying to hit their stride for the vacation week.
Saturday, February 18, 2023, NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
Closed since the COVID-19 shutdown, Granite Gorge and Tenney Mountain are both in operation and working to cater to vacation week crowds.
Granite Gorge announced this morning that its double chairlift would open today. The top-to-bottom lift has not carried skiers since the prior ownership scaled back operations in 2018. Multiple trails were covered with snowmaking and will be open day and night during the upcoming vacation week.
Reopened in 2003 on the site of the former Pinnacle ski area east of Keene, Granite Gorge perhaps peaked around 2011, when the 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 had 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, was hired as general manager. Mid-mountain terrain was reworked and other trails were reclaimed in 2022. The area debuted on January 14, 2023 with a lower mountain terrain park and multiple tubing lanes.
Hornet Double, February 18
Tenney Mountain reopened the Hornet Double on February 10 and continues to operate it with mostly natural snow (augmented with fresh manmade snow on the lower portion of Shooting Star). For the first time in over a dozen years, snow was made atop the Eclipse Triple last night, which remains closed until there is snow leading to the base terminal. Meanwhile, the tubing park is in operation and the Backcountry Bar and Grill is open for apres ski.
Following a recent ownership change, Michael Bouchard resumed posting video updates to the area's Facebook page. Recent projects included mowing the ski trails, taking delivery of new HKD snowguns and a new snowcat, and renovating the base lodge. According to the Concord Monitor, Tenney's new ownership has invested $1.5 million in improvements thus far. Future plans include doubling the size of the main lodge, a skier bridge connecting to new trails, and a hotel off Route 3A.