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Eaton Mountain
Eaton Mountain Ski Area
Skowhegan, Maine
Status: Lost/Defunct
First Season:1962-63
Last Season:2018-19
Vertical Drop:120 feet
Standing Lifts:Surface lifts
Past Lifts:1 double, surface lifts
Left: Eaton Mountain
Recent NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News:
11/15/2021: Ski Areas on the Bubble
8/21/2020: Eaton Mountain Reopening Planned
10/22/2019: Eaton Mountain to Suspend Operations
2/9/2017: Eaton Mountain to Reopen, Saddleback to...
SkiNewEngland.net Profile
Located east of Skowhegan, 715 foot Eaton Mountain has been home to skiing off and on for decades.

Early Years

Organized skiing on Eaton Mountain likely dates back to the winter of 1936-37, when the Skowhegan Outing Club was formed with Dr. Alvah Appleby serving as president and Edward Merrill as "second director." The club's first big skiing outing was held in February 1937 on Eaton Mountain via a trail accessed from the Captain Neil Olsen farm. Olsen had granted the club permission to use his land and remove fences for skiing. The location was described in the Waterville Morning Sentinel as "an ideal slope for skiing and tobogganing, about a mile in length. Near the foot of the mountain are two small ponds, excellent for skating. According to information given Mr. Merrill by an out of town expert, these facilities could be developed into one of the outstanding winter sports headquarters in the state. There are ample facilities for a ski tow 3,000 feet in length, two ski trails a mile long and two long winding toboggan slides."

Wallace Lovell, affiliated with the Maine Development Commission, visited the area at the end of February, skiing the "mile-long ski trail in one minute and 45 seconds." Lovell noted his positive opinion of the location and that Eaton Mountain would be an ideal skiing destination if a ski tow were installed.

For the winter of 1937-38, the lineup at Eaton Mountain was described as the East Trail, West Trail, and South Slope. One trail was described as being 20 to 30 feet wide and having a 400 foot vertical drop.

It appears the Skowhegan Outing Club and skiing on Eaton Mountain may have faded away after the 1938-39 season.

Rope Tow Service

Construction of Eaton Mountain (fall 1961)
Construction of Eaton Mountain (fall 1961)

In October 1961, Paul Sylvain and his sons Paul and Lawrence acquired a 100 acre plot of land from Evie Davis and announced they were constructing a ski area on Eaton Mountain. Working for their father's construction business, the 22- and 25-year-old brothers had minimal skiing experience, but were looking for "something to do in the winter."

Plans for the 1961-62 season included a T-Bar serving an intermediate trail, plus a novice slope and a lodge. The brothers stated that "It's a good hill and somebody has to do it." Though the planned trails and lift line were subsequently cleared, the brothers announced the opening would be postponed due to wet weather and late November snowfall.

Additional construction took place in 1962, resulting in a total of three trails, served by a 1,200 foot rope tow. The area likely debuted on January 12, 1963.

Trail widening took place for the 1963-64 season, while plans for night skiing were also announced.

The area was listed for sale in 1964, but remained operational. A 2,400 foot rope tow was installed for the 1964-65 season, while one of the trails was improved. A lack of natural snow likely prevented the season from starting until mid-January. Following the 1964-65 season, Lawrence Sylvain acquired his father's and brother's share of the property.

Expansion to the Top

Expanding Eaton Mountain in 1966
Expanding Eaton Mountain in 1966

New ownership was set in motion in December 1965, as the town of Skowhegan pursued an option to buy the ski area.

In February 1966, the Somerset Recreational Development Corporation was formed, with Skowhegan High School ski coach Francis Knute Paul serving as its president. Plans were announced to purchase the ski area from Lawrence Sylvain, acquire upper mountain land for expansion, cut more trails, and install more lifts. The group started selling stock that month, with Knute Paul telling the Bangor Daily News that "We felt reasonably certain that if we do not buy this area and keep it open for public use that the area will be brought [sic] by private interests and the area will lose its only public skiing facility." Stock sales soon exceeded an early spring $20,000 goal.

The Somerset Recreational Development Corporation acquired the ski area from Lawrence Sylvain on May 27, 1966. The company also acquired an upper mountain tract from Harry Jewell the same day. In July, Somerset Recreational Development Corporation transferred the land to the non-profit Somerset Recreational Development Company. Subsequently, the corporation agreed to lease the ski area from the company for fifteen years. Knute Paul was named manager.

Trail clearing was completed ahead of schedule in early August. With $30,000 in stock purchased by 200 county residents, the Somerset Recreational Development Corporation decided in September to accelerate its plans and announced the installation of a double chairlift. Plans were subsequently released for the installation of lights to reportedly offer the largest night skiing facility in the state. A rope tow and two ski jumps rounded out the planned facilities.

Preparation for tower footings was taking place in mid-November for the "first of its kind" chairlift that was "completely designed, fabricated, manufactured and constructed by Maine firms." Cianbro Manufacturing fabricated the lift, while affiliate Cianchette Brothers Construction Company handled the installation. Meanwhile, the foundation was poured for a 70 by 40 foot base lodge.

Though chairlift construction was still in progress, natural snow likely enabled a December 31st opening with rope tow service. The chairlift debuted in February.

A trail map painted on the lodge wall (2015)
A trail map painted on the lodge wall (2015)

Circa 1973, there was talk about Saddleback taking over and improving Eaton, however this likely did not advance beyond initial negotiations. Instead, George Lebrecque purchased the area that fall. Due to a foreclosure, the ski area did not open for the 1975-76 season. Two additional owners came aboard, allowing Lebrecque to reopen the area the following season. Lebrecque would assume sole ownership again in 1980.

Taking advantage of a Development Opportunity Fund Grant, a new snowmaking system was installed for the 1984-85 season.

Perhaps to hedge against issues with the double chairlift, a T-Bar was obtained from Sugarloaf circa the 1980s. Installation was not completed.

The ski area's main lodge and maintenance garage burned in January 2005. Regional areas helped provide equipment to keep the area operational.

Closure

The ski area closed after the 2007-08 season.

In the fall of 2008, David and Donna Beers purchased Eaton Mountain. While they had hoped to continue ski operations, the area's lifts and infrastructure was in a state of disrepair, resulting in no winter operations for multiple years.

After significant work, they were able to open a snow tubing area in 2010 with hopes to resume ski operations soon thereafter. A major setback occurred in December 2011 when David Beers was seriously injured while working on a snowcat. As a result of the accident, the area cancelled 2011-12 winter operations.

After a long recovery, Beers was able to reopen the tubing facility for the 2012-13 season. Meanwhile, efforts to resume ski operations continued.

Skiing Resumes

The lower mountain (2015)
The lower mountain (2015)

Two handle tows were purchased and installed to serve limited skiing operations for 2014-15. Eaton reopened for skiing on January 10, 2015 with the two tows serving a terrain park and novice terrain.

Closed Again

After the rough winter of 2015-16, Eaton Mountain suspended ski operations, but continued tubing for 2016-17. Future plans for the ski area called for a lift to the top of the mountain, serving the network of idle trails that were still maintained. However, all operations were suspended prior to the 2019-20 season. It is not known if or when Eaton Mountain will reopen.



NewEnglandSkiConditions.com Reports
Month Average Percent of Terrain Open
March100%    (1 report)100 Open
Recent Conditions Reports
Mar. 21, 2015 by rocket21
Packed Powder, Loose Granular
Eaton Mountain Ski Area on NewEnglandSkiConditions.com

NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News
Recent Articles
Ski Areas on the Bubble - Nov. 15, 2021
Eaton Mountain Reopening Planned - Aug. 21, 2020
Eaton Mountain to Suspend Operations - Oct. 22, 2019
Eaton Mountain to Reopen, Saddleback to Remain Closed - Feb. 9, 2017
EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Eaton Mountain Owner David Beers - Jan. 2, 2017
Eaton Mountain Reopens for Ski Operations - Jan. 10, 2015
Eaton Mountain to Reopen for Ski Operations - Nov. 22, 2014
Eaton Mountain Ski Area NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News Page

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

Past Lifts
Seasons
The bottom terminal (2012)
Double Chair
Cianbro
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1966-67
-
The bottom terminal (2012)
T-Bar
Stadeli
T-Bar

-

Maps
2018-19 Eaton Trail Map
2005-06 Eaton Mountain Trail Map2014-15 Eaton Mountain Trail Map2015-16 Eaton Mountain Trail Map2017-18 Eaton Trail Map2018-19 Eaton Trail Map
View All Eaton Mountain Ski Area Trail Maps

Year by Year History
Adult Weekend Full Day Lift Ticket; Adult Full Price Unlimited Season Pass
2010s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
2018-19$15.002018-19 Ticket Price Graph2018-19 Season Pass Price GraphJanuary 52018-19 Skier Visit Graph
2017-18$12.002017-18 Ticket Price Graph$100.002017-18 Season Pass Price Graph8.3 daysJanuary 27March 252017-18 Skier Visit Graph
2016-17$15.002016-17 Ticket Price Graph2016-17 Season Pass Price GraphFebruary 11March 252016-17 Skier Visit Graph
2015-16$15.002015-16 Ticket Price Graph$125.002015-16 Season Pass Price Graph8.3 daysJanuary 30February 152015-16 Skier Visit Graph
2014-15$15.002014-15 Ticket Price Graph$150.002014-15 Season Pass Price Graph10.0 daysJanuary 10March 292014-15 Skier Visit Graph
2000s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
2006-07$23.002006-07 Ticket Price Graph$310.002006-07 Season Pass Price Graph13.5 days2006-07 Skier Visit Graph
2005-06$23.002005-06 Ticket Price Graph$310.002005-06 Season Pass Price Graph13.5 days2005-06 Skier Visit Graph
2004-05$22.002004-05 Ticket Price Graph$310.002004-05 Season Pass Price Graph14.1 days2004-05 Skier Visit Graph
2003-04$22.002003-04 Ticket Price Graph$310.002003-04 Season Pass Price Graph14.1 days2003-04 Skier Visit Graph
2002-03$22.002002-03 Ticket Price Graph$310.002002-03 Season Pass Price Graph14.1 days2002-03 Skier Visit Graph
2001-02$20.002001-02 Ticket Price Graph$310.002001-02 Season Pass Price Graph15.5 days2001-02 Skier Visit Graph
2000-01$19.002000-01 Ticket Price Graph$300.002000-01 Season Pass Price Graph15.8 days2000-01 Skier Visit Graph
1999-00$18.001999-00 Ticket Price Graph1999-00 Season Pass Price Graph1999-00 Skier Visit Graph
1990s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1996-971996-97 Ticket Price Graph1996-97 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 29April 61996-97 Skier Visit Graph
1993-941993-94 Ticket Price Graph1993-94 Season Pass Price GraphApril 31993-94 Skier Visit Graph
1980s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1987-881987-88 Ticket Price Graph1987-88 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 191987-88 Skier Visit Graph
1985-86$12.001985-86 Ticket Price Graph1985-86 Season Pass Price Graph1985-86 Skier Visit Graph
1970s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1976-77$5.751976-77 Ticket Price Graph1976-77 Season Pass Price Graph1976-77 Skier Visit Graph
1974-75$5.501974-75 Ticket Price Graph1974-75 Season Pass Price Graph1974-75 Skier Visit Graph
1973-74$4.001973-74 Ticket Price Graph1973-74 Season Pass Price Graph1973-74 Skier Visit Graph
1972-73$4.501972-73 Ticket Price Graph1972-73 Season Pass Price Graph1972-73 Skier Visit Graph
1971-72$3.501971-72 Ticket Price Graph1971-72 Season Pass Price Graph1971-72 Skier Visit Graph
1970-71$3.501970-71 Ticket Price Graph1970-71 Season Pass Price Graph1970-71 Skier Visit Graph
1969-701969-70 Ticket Price Graph1969-70 Season Pass Price GraphJanuary 311969-70 Skier Visit Graph
1960s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1968-69$3.501968-69 Ticket Price Graph1968-69 Season Pass Price Graph1968-69 Skier Visit Graph
1967-68$3.001967-68 Ticket Price Graph1967-68 Season Pass Price Graph1967-68 Skier Visit Graph
1966-67$3.001966-67 Ticket Price Graph1966-67 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 311966-67 Skier Visit Graph
1962-631962-63 Ticket Price Graph1962-63 Season Pass Price GraphJanuary 121962-63 Skier Visit Graph

Visitor Memories
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External Links
  • Eaton Mountain Ski Area - official site
  • Eaton Mountain - SmallSkiAreas.com
  • Last updated: August 16, 2022

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