‘Lost’ US resort may reopen

11th June 2011, by Chris Gill

Maple Valley Vermont - [(c) Nelsap]

Maple Valley Vermont - [(c) Nelsap]

They are calling it the ‘lost’ ski resort, but can a tiny area in Vermont make a comeback? Well, the owner of Maple Valley Ski Resort would like to think so – he’s applied for a conditional use permit to reopen the slopes.

Maple Valley Ski Resort has been closed for a decade, its three lifts and 380 acres of family-friendly trails eerily silent on the slopes of Sugar Mountain (400m) in North America’s east coast state of Vermont (home also to Stowe ski area). It’s about 100km from Boston.

The resort is owned by Nicholas Mercede, who ‘won’ Maple Valley in an auction in 1997. It continued operations until 2001, but was then closed after several poor seasons. Mercede is behind the latest application to revive the area for local families and visitors touring the region – both for winter sports and summer activities.

The mountain isn’t high by any means, but gets sufficient snowfall. The antique chairlifts would need an overhaul, having hung ‘frozen’ in time for so long. But these small ski areas offer visitors lower prices, quieter and less commercialised slopes and a welcoming atmosphere that many larger resorts seem to have lost.

For British skiers and boarders wanting to sample US terrain, the east coast is a shorter flight and generally cheaper than heading elsewhere in the country – it’s less reliably snow-sure than, say, Colorado but had a pretty good season this year.

For Maple Valley, it would be the resurrection of one of the 100 or so defunct ski areas in Vermont. Hard to believe, but those mountains conceal quite a history of North American skiing.

And for all you ski area geeks, there is a fascinating website that documents information about Vermont and other states / countries with small ski areas that have closed – or been closed and since reopened.

Check out: www.nelsap.org

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