Ascutney Mountain Resort
|Location||Brownsville, Vermont, US|
|Nearest city||Windsor, Vermont, US|
|Top elevation||2520 ft (768 m)|
|Base elevation||720 ft (219 m)|
|Skiable area||200 acres (.81 km²)|
|Longest run||2.5 mi (4 km)|
|Lift system||5 chairs, 1 surface lifts|
|Snowfall||16.7 ft (5.1 m)|
|Web site||Ascutney Mountain|
Ascutney Mountain was a ski area located on the western side of Mount Ascutney in Brownsville, Vermont. It opened in the winter of 1946 under the ownership of Catharine Cushman. Most recently, it was owned from 1993 until summer 2010 by Steven and Susan Plausteiner.
The Mt. Ascutney Ski Club cut the first trail at Ascutney in 1938. Skiers initially had to hike up the mountain to be able to ski down the trail, now known as Screaming Eagle. In 1946, Catharine Cushman, with the help of others, began to develop real estate on the mountain, in essence opening Ascutney as a ski area. It wasn't until the second year, 1947, that two rope tows were installed to take skiers up the mountain. The first groomer was bought in 1947, while snowmaking was installed ten years later, when the ski area was owned by John Howland. Kurt Albert is the only man to ski 24 straight hours at Ascutney to raise money for charity in 2001.
More recently, when Summit Ventures owned Ascutney, they invested $80 million into operating the resort, but had to file for bankruptcy in 1990. After three years of closure, Steven and Susan Plausteiner from New York City, bought Ascutney for over one million dollars. Improvements under the Plausteiners include snowmaking coverage being expanded to 95% of the skiable area and installation of a high-speed detachable quad chairlift in 2000 from the bottom of the mountain to a new, higher peak.
In the early summer of 2010, rumors spread of Ascutney's imminent closure. As the summer months went on, changes to the website concerning season passes, and the upcoming 2010-2011 season were never updated. Rumors spread of severe debt and financial troubles on the part of the current owners, the Plausteiners. As of October 2010, the State of Vermont has admitted that Ascutney Mountain had not yet filed for lift inspections, with the inspection deadline on November 1, 2010. Currently, the mountain is in foreclosure, and the lifts will not be spinning come winter time. Despite the closure of the ski operations, the resort at the base of the mountain, Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Ascutney Mountain Resort, continues to operate. Holiday Inn Club Vacations has no ownership ties to the ski operation. Until ski operations return to Ascutney Mountain, guests of Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Ascutney Mountain Resort are encouraged to visit nearby ski areas such as Mount Sunapee in Newbury, New Hampshire, Arrowhead in Claremont, New Hampshire, and Okemo Mountain in Ludlow, Vermont. The high speed quad, known as the "North Peak Express," was sold to Crotched Mountain with plans to install it in the Spring of 2012.
Rumors of possible reopening
According to the employees of the resort hotel, owned and operated by Holiday Inn since 2008, the owners of the ski area decided not to declare bankruptcy, as such would require the owners to sell off their assets. Instead, the town of Brownsville was working with the hotel's parent company to repair and modernize the septic systems of both the hotel and the ski area. It's was rumored that there were seven possible individual or collaborative investors that want to bring the ski area back to functionality before it falls into a significant state of disrepair.
Final closure and deconstruction
Plans to reopen the ski resort all failed to materialize by 2014. Following a protracted legal battle, MFW, the principal lien holder on the property, assumed ownership as the only bidder at an auction of the resort’s assets in November, 2013. The high speed detachable quad lift had been removed and moved to Crotched Mountain in Bennington, N.H. in 2012. In June 2014, removal of all of the remaining lifts and snow making equipment began. The largest remaining lift was to be moved to Pat's Peak in Henniker, NH. The ski lodge had fallen into disrepair and was scheduled for demolition.
Mountain statistics at 2010 closure
- Vertical drop: 1,800 ft
- Skiable area: 200 acres (0.81 km²)
- Glades: 50 acres (0.20 km²)
- 57 trails
- 14 novice - 24.5%
- 22 intermediate - 38.5%
- 21 advanced and expert - 37%
- Longest trail - 2.5 miles (4 km)
- 6 total
- 1 high-speed detachable quad chair
- 3 triple chairs
- 1 double chair
- 1 surface lift
- "Local economy hit hard by Mt. Ascutney closure". WCAX-TV. November 4, 2010. Retrieved November 25, 2010.
- "Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Ascutney Mountain Resort". Orange Lake Resorts. December 2, 2010. Archived from the original on 28 December 2010. Retrieved December 2, 2010.
- Mount Ascutney - New England Lost Ski Areas Project
- Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Ascutney Mountain Resort
- Ascutney Mountain History - NewEnglandSkiHistory.com
- Re-Open the Ascutney Ski Mountain in Brownsville, Vermont - SaveAscutney.com[dead link]
- Sale ends ski era at Ascutney