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The Mittersill double chairlift in the 1960s
Mittersill
Franconia, New Hampshire
Status: Merged
First Season:1941-42
Last Season:
Vertical Drop:1500 feet
Standing Lifts:
Past Lifts:1 double, surface lifts
Left: The Mittersill double chairlift in the 1960s
Recent NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News:
12/26/2016: Cannon Mittersill Project Problems Mount
6/19/2016: Mittersill T-Bar Installation in Progres...
9/3/2015: Cannon Mittersill Racing Area Awarded Fe...
8/23/2015: Cannon Mittersill Racing Area Snowmaking...
Located on the a subpeak of Cannon Mountain known as Mt. Jackson (also known as Mittersill Peak), Mittersill was once a groundbreaking ski area. Following its storied operational history, Mittersill sat idle for nearly 3 decades. It was incorporated into Cannon Mountain ski area in 2009.

Early Years

The roots of Mittersill date back to the winter of 1939-40, when Baron Hubert von Pantz began advertising an Austrian Tyrolean ski lodge and village called Franconia Mittersill. The development was deeply rooted in skiing and mountain sports, as it was located near the foot of the storied Richard Taft Trail, down the road from the Cannon Mountain aerial tramway.

Lift served skiing at Mittersill proper started in February of 1942, when the Baron opened 1,250 foot long rope tow on a newly cleared slope a quarter of a mile from the end of the Richard Taft Trail. Advertised as the highest elevation rope tow in the East, the Mittersill operation could be accessed via road from Franconia Notch or via a two-mile sleigh ride from Easton.

Mittersill Becomes a Major Ski Area

The 2,700 foot T-Bar in the 1960s
The 2,700 foot T-Bar in the 1960s

Following World War II, Mittersill began to hit its stride. A new T-Bar was installed for 1946-47, moving it to major ski area status. Meanwhile, a skating rink was opened, as well as a restaurant.

As the 1950s started, Mittersill was a happening place. A new road (cutting off the finish line of the Taft Trail), provided easier access to the resort, contributing in part to record crowds in times of good snow. In addition to skiing, skating, and dancing, interesting winter events were based out of the resort, such as tennis on the skating pond and auto racing on nearby Echo Lake. Such attractions were critical to the inn, as the winters of 1948-49, 1949-50, and 1950-51 had significant periods of minimal to no snowpack. In addition, the wind exposure of the area often blew the trails clear of snow. A November 1950 windstorm claimed the roof of the Mittersill hotel, reportedly sending it 100 feet above the trees.

General improvements were made circa 1955, including a new cocktail lounge, expanded dining room, new rooms, and improved ski trails. For 1956-57 season, a connecting trail was cut to Mittersill from the recently opened Peabody Slopes at Cannon.

After having no skiing for significant portions of winters in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Mittersill installed snowmaking for the 1957-58 season. The new installation allowed for a mid-December opening in 1957, despite minimal snowfall at that juncture.

At the dawn of the 1960s Mittersill underwent a significant expansion. Skiable acreage was boosted by 50% to 60 acres when the vertical drop of the area was increased, thanks to the installation of a second T-Bar. Using leased state and federal land, the $150,000 project was designed by local Sel Hannah.

Asking Its Competitor to Let It Expand

The famous ice bar
The famous ice bar

While Mittersill was poised for another expansion shortly thereafter, the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development, operators of Cannon Mountain, refused to grant permission. Meanwhile, Cannon was undergoing a significant expansion. In an exchange of words at a hearing in the spring of 1963, a frustrated Baron Hubert von Pantz declared, "if the state doesn't want to cooperate with private enterprise, then why not buy it out. I'm prepared to sell."

After some legal wrangling, Mittersill finally proceeded with its expansion in 1966. A 3,982 foot long Hall double chairlift was installed, increasing Mittersill's advertised vertical drop from 800 feet to 1,500 feet. Mittersill's snowmaking investment once again paid off, as it was able to operate that December while Cannon unsuccessfully attempted to seed clouds via airplane.

For 1967, a five story, $700,000 main building was constructed. The legendary Baron's Run was cut the following season. Also in 1968, Mittersill lost its corner on the man made snow market, as the state installed a $544,000 snowmaking system at Cannon.

The Baron Sells

Now that he was spending time redeveloping his Mittersill area in Austria, Baron Hubert von Pantz sold his stake in the New Hampshire Mittersill in the spring of 1972 to his stepson David McConnell. Heir to the Avon Products fortune, McConnell was also part-owner of the Boston Patriots football franchise.

While 1973-74 was a rough season across New England, Mittersill in particular was hit hard. Unable to open the chairlift much at all due to warm temperatures and minimal snowfall, employees resorted to hauling snow from the woods onto trails. Ski operations shut down during the first part of March.

As the 1970s progressed, Mittersill's inn was closed on an increasingly frequent basis, due in large part to high energy costs. Winter operations of the inn ceased in 1976, while the ski area was cut back to weekend and holiday operations. In 1978, McConnell and co-owner Robert Wettenhall decided to convert a wing of the inn into timeshares.

Closure

The old double chairlift at Mittersill (2008)
The old double chairlift at Mittersill (2008)

Ski area operations continued to diminish in the 1980s, thanks in part to multiple bad winters. The National Forest permit expired in 1984, thus ending the independent Mittersill ski operation.

Efforts to incorporate Mittersill into Cannon ramped up as the 1980s progressed. After acquiring some privately held land near the bottom of the area, the state pushed to either get a National Forest use permit or landswap for the rest of the Mittersill ski area land. Meanwhile, the Mittersill trail network was becoming a legendary sidecountry/backcountry destination.

The State Takes Over Mittersill as a Backcountry Area

After years of negotiating, Mittersill was incorporated into Cannon Mountain ski area in 2009 via a landswap with the National Forest, on the condition that the original trail footprint would be honored. On the eve of the landswap, Cannon Mountain General Manager John DeVivo was quoted in The Boston Globe as saying, "I can't overstress the fact that it's going to remain rough," and that "once we do clear-cutting or full-blown grooming, you can't go back."

Backcountry is Phased Out

Construction of the Valar T-Bar (2016)
Construction of the Valar T-Bar (2016)

The backcountry emphasis of Mittersill was then gradually phased out. A new $3 million double chairlift replaced the old Mittersill chairlift, opening on January 1, 2011. With this opening, all uphill traffic was formally banned year round, including backcountry skinning for 'earned turns.' Trail grooming at Mittersill then debuted on February 11, 2011.

As a consequence of the new lift and uphill traffic ban, Mittersill remained formally closed for all but 5.5 days of the 2011-2012 ski season. That off-season, the Mittersill Racing Expansion Proposal was quitely released. In exchange for privately funded assets, the project would convert Mittersill into a state funded, semi-private racing facility. The proposal significantly widens the Baron's Run, as well as creating a new, wider superslope that runs the length of the former (and to be replaced) longer T-Bar. In order to expand beyond the original footprint of the Mittersill trails, the state waived itself of Bicknell's Thrush habitat restrictions by placing nearby land in protection. Significant trail cutting and widening has taken place in 2014 and 2015.

NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News
Recent Articles
Cannon Mittersill Project Problems Mount - Dec. 26, 2016
Mittersill T-Bar Installation in Progress at Cannon Mountain - Jun. 19, 2016
Cannon Mittersill Racing Area Awarded Federal Funds - Sep. 3, 2015
Cannon Mittersill Racing Area Snowmaking Installation in Progress - Aug. 23, 2015
Cannon Mittersill Racing Area Clearing Continues - Jul. 13, 2015
Clearing Continues at Cannon Mountain and Waterville Valley - Jun. 13, 2015
Mittersill Racing Area Clearing to Resume Next Week - Apr. 7, 2015
Mittersill Racing Trail Clearing to Start Next Week - Aug. 23, 2014
New Hampshire to Fund Mittersill Improvements at Cannon with New Debt - Aug. 10, 2014
Mittersill NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News Page

CCC Trails
Trail NameStatus
Coppermine Ski TrailPartial
Meadow Brook Ski TrailPartial
Richard Taft TrailOpen
Tucker Brook TrailOpen

Image Gallery
1952-53 Eastern Ski Map1953-54 Eastern Ski Map1954-55 Eastern Ski Map1955-56 Eastern Ski Map1956-57 Eastern Ski Map
View All Images in Mittersill Image Gallery

Lifts
Click on lift name for information and photos
Standing Lifts
Installed

Past Lifts
Seasons
The 1500' T-Bar top shack in 2008
1500' T-Bar
Alpine Lift
T-Bar
1946-47
-
The 2700' T-Bar circa the 1960s
2700' T-Bar
Doppelmayr
T-Bar
1959-60
-
The old Mittersill Double Chair circa the 1960s
Double Chair
Hall
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1966-67
-
2009-10

Maps
1964-65 Mittersill Trail Map1967-68 Mittersill Trail Map1968-69 Cannon Mountain-Mittersill Trail Map1969-70 Mittersill trail map1970-71 Mittersill Trail Map1974-75 Mittersill Trail Map
View All Mittersill Trail Maps

Year by Year History
Adult Weekend Full Day Lift Ticket; Adult Full Price Unlimited Season Pass
1980s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1980-81$10.001980-81 Ticket Price Graph1980-81 Season Pass Price Graph1980-81 Skier Visit Graph
1970s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1976-77$8.001976-77 Ticket Price Graph1976-77 Season Pass Price Graph1976-77 Skier Visit Graph
1975-76$8.001975-76 Ticket Price Graph1975-76 Season Pass Price Graph1975-76 Skier Visit Graph
1974-75$8.001974-75 Ticket Price Graph1974-75 Season Pass Price Graph1974-75 Skier Visit Graph
1973-74$8.001973-74 Ticket Price Graph1973-74 Season Pass Price Graph1973-74 Skier Visit Graph
1970-71$6.001970-71 Ticket Price Graph1970-71 Season Pass Price Graph1970-71 Skier Visit Graph
1969-70$8.001969-70 Ticket Price Graph1969-70 Season Pass Price Graph1969-70 Skier Visit Graph
1960s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1968-69$7.001968-69 Ticket Price Graph1968-69 Season Pass Price Graph1968-69 Skier Visit Graph
1967-68$6.001967-68 Ticket Price Graph1967-68 Season Pass Price Graph1967-68 Skier Visit Graph
1964-65$5.501964-65 Ticket Price Graph1964-65 Season Pass Price Graph1964-65 Skier Visit Graph
1963-64$5.501963-64 Ticket Price Graph1963-64 Season Pass Price Graph1963-64 Skier Visit Graph
1959-60$5.001959-60 Ticket Price Graph1959-60 Season Pass Price Graph1959-60 Skier Visit Graph
1950s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1958-59$4.001958-59 Ticket Price Graph1958-59 Season Pass Price Graph1958-59 Skier Visit Graph
1950-511950-51 Ticket Price Graph1950-51 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 261950-51 Skier Visit Graph

Visitor Memories
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External Links
  • Cannon Mountain - official site
  • Lost Ski Areas of the White Mountains - Amazon.com
  • Mittersill Ski Area - New England Lost Ski Areas Project
  • Taxpayers for Cannon
  • Last updated: December 11, 2016

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