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New Hampshire’s ‘Whale’ Sinks Again: Can Community Save It?
They tried, said the owners of Whaleback Mountain in Enfield, N.H., but they couldn’t overcome the debt. Whaleback will close down again. The last time was 2001-2005. Can it be saved?
Evan Dybvig, Dylan Goodspeed, and Frank Sparrow bought Whaleback in 2005 in an attempt to make it a year-round attraction. There were many improvements, but the owners said they ran out of options. The news came as a real blow, particularly to kids from the nearby towns, like Lebanon, who participated in extensive after school programs.
“It is with deep regret that Frank, Dylan, and I, owners and managing members, inform you that we have no option but to close our business,” Dybvig wrote in a blog on the ski area website. “We sincerely hope that our departure is not the end of skiing at Whaleback.”
The Whale, as the ski area is locally known, has seen plenty of positive gains, according to Dybvig, including a Thursday night racing program for 47 teams.
“We have tried numerous avenues to recapitalize the business to put ourselves on surer footing without success,” he said.
The best option appears to be seeking a nonprofit to purchase the ski area and continue its operation. Dybvig said he would let people know when “this plan is ready to go live.”
Whaleback will remain open through Sunday for what may or may not be “last tracks.”
What It Means: Hopefully, another rerun of shutdowns for Whaleback will not mean a permanent addition to the big list of lost New England ski areas. There have been instances across the country when communities have stepped up to form nonprofit organizations or coalitions of nonprofits to continue skiing and riding. But, it’s a rough road ahead.
Photo: Whaleback Mountain JibPort