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The latest news, deals, and events from ski resorts throughout North America.

Town Ski Area Series Part 1: Why Your Local Ski Hill Matters

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It may seem the only movers and shakers in the ski resort industry these days are the mega resorts, with hundreds of ski trails, multi-million dollar base lodges and well-connected regional season pass partnership deals. With the bright optics of these flashy resorts, it's easy to forget the “mom and pop” style ski areas are just as critical for the ski industry’s future.

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Wyoming Local's Favorite Antelope Butte Reopening

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With the growth of skiing into the 20th century, small ski hills used to dot the land, providing great accessibility and affordability for beginners looking to access downhill winter sports. Today, these “town” ski areas are a rarity with only a smattering left nationwide.

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Wyoming's Antelope Butte Returns; Jackson Hole, Grand Targhee Celebrate History

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Wyoming, home to the Grand Teton Mountains and America's smallest population. Both these attributes bode well for skiers and snowboarders flocking to the state because after all who doesn’t love short lift lines, untouched powder and down-home service?

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Ski Area Revivals on Rise: Can’t Keep A Good Mountain Down

Ski Area Revivals on Rise: Can’t Keep A Good Mountain Down

Skiing at the Hermitage Club at Haystack Mountain. (Hermitage Club/Facebook)

From Maine to Utah, wherever aficionados love a mountain, ski area revivals are trending.


Many are returning as nonprofit community areas that teach all ages to ski or ride. As affordable “feeder areas” they are significant contributors to the sustainability of the ski industry and help support local economies.

Larger resorts have been and continue to be revived, too, which is good for vacation homeowners, the industry, and towns that have lost millions in revenues due to (former) closings.

Revivals as Nonprofits

Hidden Valley Ski Area is now the National Winter Activity Center, a place where you and I can’t ski — unless we volunteer.

National Winter Activity Center

The center is a nonprofit serving youth through partnerships with groups from within a 70-mile radius of the Vernon, N.J., ski hill — YMCAs, Boys and Girls clubs, school and church groups.

Chris Nyberg, a 40-year ski-industry veteran serves on the board and assists with planning. He notes that volunteers not only get youth outdoors in winter, they also help to improve their lives by addressing health, diet, and fitness.

Ski, snowboard, cross-country, and snowshoeing are offered through the Ted Ligety Learn-to-Ski and Nordic Rocks programs. Goals are to serve 6,000 youth annually via multiple lessons that provide for skill development from ‘never-ever’ through competition levels.

Fundraising, grants, and volunteers returned Vermont’s Ascutney Mountain to its roots, offering a warm-up yurt, rope tow runs, and night skiing for free (donations accepted). The nonprofit Ascutney Outdoors is working to replace the base lodge and hopes to eventually offer more downhill trails and lifts. Cross-country, snowshoeing, “fat-tire” mountain biking, and backcountry skiing are also offered.

The Friends of Squaw Mountain reopened Maine’s Big Squaw February 2013. Donations and volunteer labor made improvements possible, and the nonprofit area continues to operate as an affordable family mountain.

Saddleback Mountain Foundation is seeking to revive Maine's third largest resort as a nonprofit. It’s a work in progress.

Ditto for the Antelope Butte Foundation, now fundraising to reopen Wyoming’s Antelope Butte Mountain Recreation Area. Having purchased the area and secured permits, hopes are to open for next winter, offering 25 trails with three lifts.

From public to private and vice versa

Want 28 trails with a 1,300-foot vertical to yourself? Try Vermont’s Plymouth Notch, the former public Round Top which is now a private club.

Plymouth Notch lift

“We loved the area and didn’t want to see it close,” Dave Panagrossi said of the 2010 purchase that now offers “an alternative experience with a comfortable feeling in the clubhouse, uncrowded trails, and quality snow.”

Non-members may try the area by reservations only — lift ticket and lunch, $105. 

Begun as an exclusive private club (1941), Pennsylvania’s Laurel Mountain, became a state park in 1963. From a thriving public area it ran into difficult years and closed. After extensive upgrades, Laurel reopened December 2016 thanks to being operated by Seven Springs.

Coast to coast revivals work

Elk Meadows shut down (2002) and was almost resurrected as the private Mt. Holly Club. That failed so it was 2010 before the mountain reopened as Eagle Point, said spokesman Lane Tucker. Upgrades have made the Utah resort (5 lifts, 40 runs, 600 acres plus backcountry) a “best-kept secret”.

Want a private mountain that has come roaring back with a heated bubble six-pack, clubhouse with spa, golf course and other amenities? Check out the Hermitage Club at Haystack Mountain. Can’t afford $85,000 entry fee, $8,500 annual dues? Stay at a Hermitage property to access skiing for a day.

Mt. Shasta, California reopened 10 years ago and is among the successful revival stories that bode well for the rebirth of the Balsams Resort and other iconic mountains.

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Wyoming's Antelope Butte Sale Complete; Will Re-Open In December

Antelope Butte trail mapA nonprofit foundation has purchased the Antelope Butte ski and snowboard mountain in Wyoming and plans to reopen for business next season.

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