Have you ever wondered what happened to that old ski hill that you had once frequented as a kid growing up? The times you had driven past a mountain and noticed slight traces in the trees, wondering if it had been a ski area at one time? Good chances are there may have been lifts spinning, tons of cars parked in the lot by the chalet all a buzz with activity, and crowds of people bustling about during a beautiful sunny day on a weekend in the winter.
The Lost Ski Area as big or small as they were, had their own little piece of the ski boom back in the day, during the height in popularity of the sport of alpine skiing. Some areas have survived the times, while others weren’t so lucky, only to have closed for good. Some leaving behind remnants, or if you will, “treasures” to be found. Others leaving behind nothing but memories, and stories with elders who are unfortunately passing on with those stories untold, and memories not being shared. Some Lost Ski Areas may have minimal information, and photos due to the difficulty in researching them, however, their memories are still worth preserving alongside the larger hills. On occasion, there have been a few projects to develop a mountain for skiing that never saw the light of day for one reason or another.
The most common criteria to be considered as a Lost Ski Area is that the hill would have had some type of uphill means of conveyance like rope-tow, j-bar, t-bar, Pomalift, chairlift, or gondola. The best example of a Lost Ski Area with a gondola would be Mount Whittier in Ossipee, New Hampshire.
One piece of advice if you are interested in exploring a Lost Ski Area? Make sure it is on public land! If there are private property signs posted, good chances there is a reason for that. There are hills that are part of a public park for hiking or biking, or part of a nature reserve. Some have residential developments that have been built upon them wiping out any hopes of finding any leftovers, or even their actual true locations. Then there are others where the chalet has been converted into a private residence, and the land around is now someone’s front or backyard, where strangers are not so welcomed to browse about. Please admire the private areas from a distance.
If you happen to meet the owners by chance, please ask for permission to explore. Always respect their privacy, and their decision should they deny you access to the possible treasures that could be found in the woods. There’s nothing more surprising than meeting up with an upset property owner on their land that you have trespassed upon, trying to convince them not to call the authorities to escort you off, and citing you with trespassing. Be aware, explore with care!