Suicide Six

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Suicide Six
Nearest city Pomfret, Vermont
Coordinates 43°39′50″N 72°32′40″W / 43.66389°N 72.54444°W / 43.66389; -72.54444Coordinates: 43°39′50″N 72°32′40″W / 43.66389°N 72.54444°W / 43.66389; -72.54444
Vertical 650 feet (200 m)
Top elevation 1,200 feet (370 m)
Base elevation 550 feet (170 m)
Skiable area 100 acres (40 ha)
Runs 23
Longest run 5,280 feet (1,600 m)
Lift system 2 double chairs, 1 J-bar
Lift capacity 3,000 passengers/hr
Snowfall 110 inches (280 cm)
Snowmaking 100%
Night skiing no

Suicide Six is the name of a ski resort in South Pomfret, Vermont. It has some claim to historical fame as a very early ski resort. In January 1934, an improvised rope tow, said to be the first ski lift in the Eastern United States, was installed on a hill located on Clinton Gilbert's farm. The rope tow was originally powered with a Ford Model T engine. By the following month, Wallace "Bunny" Bertram (a former ski coach at Dartmouth College who had helped build the original rope lift) took over the operation, and installed a more reliable electric motor. A few years later he moved his operation to a steeper hill nearby, shown on the map as "Hill 6".[1] Bertram once joked that to ski down the nearby Hill No. 6 would be suicide. Two years later the resort was opened using this name and photos of Bertram can be seen in the resort museum in the base lodge. Devotees of ski mountaineering and backcountry skiing mark this as the beginning of the divergence of resort skiing and traditional backcountry skiing.[citation needed]

Suicide Six was the location of the first National Snow Surfing Championships in 1982, considered an important event in the development of snowboarding as a sport.[2][3]

Bunny Bertram sold Suicide Six to Laurance Rockefeller in 1961, and it became the ski resort for Rockefeller's nearby Woodstock Inn.[4][5] In a 2004 article, the Boston Globe described Suicide Six as "steeped in history", and now a "low key" location for "a taste of rural skiing".[6] As of late 2011, when Suicide Six marked its 75th anniversary, the facility included 23 runs and continued to operate as the ski area of the Woodstock Inn.[7]

Suicide Six is host to the longest running ski race in North America, The Fisk Trophy Race. It was first held in 1937 and is a rite of passage for serious eastern ski racers. Notable past winners include Bode Miller, Chip Knight, Jimmy Cochran, and many other Olympians, US Ski Team members, and NCAA Champions.[8]


  1. ^ James Tabor, "Bunny's Boost: Woodstock and Suicide Six, Vt., the birthplace of America's first ski lift, offer sweet skiing, feel-good charm, and a history lesson." Ski Magazine, March 1992. Copy available at Google Books.
  2. ^ Paul J. MacArthur, "The Top Ten Important Moments in Snowboarding History", Smithsonian, February 5, 2010.
  3. ^ Stephen Jermanok, "Snowboarders Agree: Suicide Six Is To Die For", Boston Globe, February 3, 2002.  – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  4. ^ Betty Lowery, "Timeless Woodstock Is Vintage Vermont", Orlando Sentinel, March 20, 1988.
  5. ^ Jonathan Robinson, "Ski History - Part 4: Rockefeller Buys Mt. Tom, Suicide Six, Ushering In Resort Era", The Vermont Standard, June 15, 2010.
  6. ^ Marty Basch, "Suicide Six", Boston Globe, March 4, 2004.
  7. ^ Tony Chamberlin, "`Six' turning 75 ; A happy anniversary at Vermont ski area with unlikely name", Boston Globe, December 8, 2011.  – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  8. ^ "Ankeny wins 77th annual Fisk Trophy at Suicide Six". Ski Racing Magazine. Retrieved February 23, 2015. 

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