Mount Tom Ski Area
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|Mount Tom Ski Area|
|Location||Holyoke, Massachusetts, US|
|Lift system||4 Double Chairlifts, 2 T-bars, 1 J-Bar, 1 Rope Tow|
Mount Tom Ski Area was a ski resort in Holyoke, Massachusetts, in the Mount Tom Range in the western part of Massachusetts about 10 miles north of Springfield. It opened in 1962 and closed in 1998. Since its closing, all chair-lifts and snow making equipment had been either sold off or scrapped. Now, a few stray snow cannons remain along the mountain, and snowmaking pipe sits on the side of the former trails to rust away. Mt Tom was located off Rt. 5 on the North side of Holyoke Massachusetts and was just up the road from Mountain Park, a local amusement park. Both Mountain Park and Mt. Tom were owned by the O'Connell Construction Company. It was rumored that Mt. Tom was created so that the Construction company could keep seasonal workers working during the winter and keep them available for the summer construction season. During 2016, the main lodge (the last building secured from vandals) was broken into and the security systems were destroyed. Vandalism inside the lodge and surrounding buildings increased. As of now, all buildings on the mountain are not use-able and would require a complete rebuild, with the exception of the main lodge. A recent forest fire in late April 2014 burned roughly 27 acres of the ski area. None of the ski areas buildings caught fire. The fire mostly burned trees and loose brush that had grown in on the slopes. In late 2016, vandals and arsonists set fire to one of the smaller, old ski shacks, burning it to the ground. In 2017, a proposal from a local-area resident was brought to the Holyoke town boards attention to attempt to re-open the ski area. Many questions and concerns were raised, and that has hindered any further action. As of now, the proposal has been unsuccessful.
The Mt. Tom Ski School was staffed by Austrians primarily imported directly from Innsbruck to teach skiing in the US. One of its prominent Ski School Directors was Adi Scheidle who along with his brother Heinz Scheidle employed quite a few of the local skiers as Instructors. During the early years of Mt. Tom Adi spent a lot of time selling local schools and other groups on organized lessons at Mt. Tom. He was very successful and generated a lot of ski lesson business for Mt. Tom as well as increasing the local skier base.
Adi was so successful at sales that he was promoted to Director of Skiing. Heinz Scheidle was promoted to ski school director and Ed Ryan, one of the American Instructors was promoted to Asst. Ski School Director.
Mt. Tom was a leader in snow making in the United States. It made snow almost from its start with hand crafted snow machines. The snow machines were put together with several pieces of galvanized pipe and were little more that one piece of pipe connected to an air source with another pipe connected directly onto the side of the air pipe that fed water into the air stream.
In addition, the ski area constructed pipes set permanently on the side of many of the trails that fed water and air up the slopes so that the maximum amount of snow making could take place.
Mt. Tom had extensive lighting allowing night skiing. The slopes were extremely well lit, and could be seen from many miles away to the east of the mountain. Large wooden Telephone poles were installed on the sides of the slopes with baseball stadium type lighting creating an almost daylight type of lighting with few shadows.
Local High School Race League
The local high school had a race league at Mt. Tom and raced several times a season against each other. Holyoke High, Holyoke Catholic and South Hadley High School were regular participant in the league.