Some areas remain primed for redevelopment, while others continue to fade away.
Monday, November 15, 2021, NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
As the 2021-22 season arrives, information is beginning to emerge about areas on the bubble.
Two years after the death of its longtime owner Rod Taylor, Woodbury ceased operations in 2016. Though were efforts made to continue operations, the plug was pulled in 2019. Kara Kenney briefly explored reopening the ski area with enhanced off-season offerings in 2018. In early 2020, Art Powers approached the town with a proposal to reopen Woodbury as a concert, camping, and mountain biking venue. Powers was killed in a skiing accident at Stowe in February 2021.
In the spring of 2021, Leah Chanelle, who had a $675,000 judgement lien on the property related to a January 1, 2013 tubing lift accident, assigned her interest to Tapawingo Tubing, LLC. Tapawingo Tubing, LLC is operated by Quassy Amusement Park owner Eric Anderson. Tapawingo Tubing, LLC foreclosed on the property on October 8, 2021. Stevens Engineering has been hired as the new ownership looks to reopen the tubing park as soon as the 2022-23 ski season. Ownership hopes to reopen the ski area after the tubing operation is restored.
Ski Blandford, Massachusetts
After decades of continuous operation, Ski Blandford was shuttered for the 2017-18 season. Though the ownership of Ski Butternut was able to restore and reopen the area for two seasons, Blandford closed in March 2020. As of summer 2021, the Western Massachusetts ski area remains idle. There are no known plans to reopen the ski area.
Big Squaw, Maine
Big Squaw is on the bubble at the moment, as the Moosehead Lake Ski Resort sale remains pending. Though the non-profit group that has operated the lower mountain since February 2012 is continuing to perform routine maintenance on the chairlift, the 2021-22 season is in question. Season passes are not being sold and an opening day has not been set.
Located in an office park near Nashua, Gateway Hills was the first net-new public ski area developed in New England in years. With a vertical drop of 40 feet and a lone magic carpet, the tiny ski area operated without snowmaking. After two short seasons of operation, the area did not operate in 2018-19, 2019-20, or 2020-21. Though a portion of the slope was redeveloped for residential use, the conveyor lift and remainder of the slope still remain. According to a spokesperson at Gateway Hills, the ski area could reopen if there is adequate natural snowfall.
Granite Gorge, New Hampshire
Reopened in 2003 on the site of the former Pinnacle ski area east of Keene, Granite Gorge perhaps peaked in 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. 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 winter of 2020-21. Its web site has subsequently gone down and its e-mail address is no longer functional.
Tenney Mountain, New Hampshire
Like many other ski areas, Tenney Mountain's 2019-20 season was cut short in March with COVID-19 shut downs. In December 2020, Tenney announced it had suspended operations citing "concern for the health and safety of all, and with the consideration that we are a small privately-owned business with limited resources." The slopes remained open for backcountry skiing, with periodic grooming. At present, Tenney plans to remain closed for the 2021-22 season while once again allowing backcountry access.
Farr's Hill, Vermont
Last in operation in the mid-1960s, winter operations have been gradually returning to Farr's Hill in Randolph since 2018-19. A fan gun and snow cat were acquired and put in use prior to COVID-19 shut downs. More recently, a Hall T-Bar was acquired from Oak Mountain. Though there was hope it could be installed in 2021, engineering and supply chain issues have pushed the project to 2022.