New Hampshire
Rhode Island
The double chair (2006)
Otis Ridge
Otis, Massachusetts
Status: Open
First Season:1946-47
Vertical Drop:400 feet
Standing Lifts:1 double, surface lifts
Past Lifts:Surface lifts
Left: The double chair (2006)
Recent News:
11/8/2017: Massachusetts 2017-18 Lift Ticket Prices...
11/21/2016: Massachusetts 2016-17 Lift Ticket Prices... Profile
Located in southwestern Massachusetts, Otis Ridge has a long history in developing young ski racers.

The Judsons Start a Ski Area

David and Hooker Judson
David and Hooker Judson

The lineage of Otis Ridge dates back to the Great Depression era, when writers David Judson and Mary Hooker Woodward married in 1936. After a skiing honeymoon in South America, the Judsons settled in Old Lyme, Connecticut and ran the The Connecticut Shore. Just prior to World War II, the couple relocated to Otis, Massachusetts.

Following their service in the 10th Mountain Division in Italy, David Judson and Bartow Holbrooke returned to Otis and started construction of a ski area on November 15, 1946. The goal of their enterprise was to provide skiing without crowded lifts or trails.

Clearing Otis Ridge in the 1940s
Clearing Otis Ridge in the 1940s

With the start of the ski season delayed due to a lack of snow, Otis Ridge formally opened on January 5, 1947 to Hartford Ski Club members skiing the expert Ridge Run trail, served by tiered rope tows. Though conditions were initially poor, decent snowfall finally arrived in March, allowing Otis Ridge to operate at least through the end of the month.

The sophomore season likely started around New Year's Day and saw the addition of the novice Meadow slope and rope tow.

For the 1948-49 season, Otis Ridge operated on weekends with three trails and the Meadow slope. Ellsworth "El" Newberry served as ski school director, while Lester Woolley headed the ski patrol. The season kicked into gear over Christmas weekend on the Meadow slope with a crowd of 150, as the main mountain had inadequate snow. The season continued into March, often on less than a foot of base, but likely came to a close before the start of spring. The Berkshire Eagle later referred to the season as being in a state of "perpetual thaw."

The original Otis Ridge Ski Camp area (1949)
The original Otis Ridge Ski Camp area (1949)

Meanwhile, the 1948-49 season also saw the start of the Otis Ridge Ski Camp. The camp was initially operated by George and Carolyn Dillman at their Hackmatack Farm, a summer camp located off Miner Road, a few miles south of Otis Ridge. The camp was outfitted with its own rope tow and slope and had ski instruction offered by Harry Gilmore. Gilmore moved the camp to the Maplewood to the north of Otis Ridge for the 1949-50 season.

1950s Struggles with Snow

The 1949-50 season likely got underway on the Meadow Slope on December 10. El Newberry continued as ski school director. Though the season likely saw extended portions of poor or no skiing, Otis Ridge made regional headlines in April when David Judson staged what he called the world's first trout slalom. Reopening following a fluke mid-April 10" snow storm, kids skied down a slalom course, then raced to catch the first trout, using their ski poles. Seven-year-old Carolyn Erbe completed the course and caught a fish in 25 minutes, winning a fishing basket for first place.

Otis Ridge operated on weekends and holidays during the 1950-51 season, which may have started in late December. It is not known if the rope tows actually operated before rain arrived just after New Year's. Operations briefly resumed by mid-January on a two-inch base with three inches of powder on top. The poor season may have come to a close in mid-February.

Despite the poor winters, Otis Ridge pushed forward. The Otis Ridge Ski Club was formed in the fall of 1951 and soon sanctioned by the United States Eastern Amateur Ski Association. To host races, a new slalom slope was cut adjacent to the rope tow line by David Judson and Max Henry.

The 1951-52 season likely kicked off in mid-December with limited skiing in the Meadow area following a snow storm. Another storm boosted conditions following Christmas, however the New Year's holiday was wiped out by rain. Nevertheless, business through mid-January was "better than the last few," according to the Berkshire Eagle. One early January weekend saw a day with 350 skiers and a full Otis Hotel nearby. Another washout soon followed, putting a damper on the rest of the month and into February. Natural snow returned in time for Otis Ridge's inaugural Southern New England Interclub Slalom Race (later known as the Berkshire Slalom) in mid-February. A 28-gate course was set on the new slalom slope, drawing 41 racers from Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont. A lack of snow limited racers to one run each instead of the planned two runs, and was reportedly 25% shorter in length than originally planned. Multiple rain events in March melted out the season around the end of calendar winter.

Ice chipping at Otis Ridge
Ice chipping at Otis Ridge

Bernie Neveu took an active role in the ski area for the 1952-53 season, leveraging his United States Eastern Amateur Ski Association instructor certification to help the ski camp. The season kicked off in early January, but was again plagued by many rain events. The Berkshire Eagle noted, "Often we hear the comment that things just ain't like they used to be. This may be so, but it offers no consolation to the guy trying to earn a buck with a ski tow." The 1953 Berkshire Slalom in mid-February attracted more than twice as many competitors as the inaugural race and resulted in a capacity crowd at the area, despite subpar conditions. Days later, Otis Ridge likely closed for the season due to lack of snow.

The 1953-54 season likely didn't start until the second weekend in January. Though Otis Ridge was able to hold its third annual Berkshire Slalom, the season was likely washed out in mid-February.

The struggles continued in 1954-55, as Otis Ridge likely didn't open until the end of January, and then only on 1 to 3 inches of snow. The lack of snow continued in February, leading to the cancellation of the Berkshire Slalom. Timely snowfall resulted in crowds of 200 skiers per day over Washington's Birthday weekend. Rain and warm weather returned soon thereafter, inspiring David Judson to chip 45 tons of ice to keep the ski school slope open. The season came to an end in mid-March.

The trend of January openings likely continued with the 1955-56 season.

The Poma circa the 1950s
The Poma circa the 1950s

Otis Ridge became a "major area" by contemporary standards in 1956-57, when it installed its first non-rope-tow surface lift. Advertised as the first lift of its kind in Southern New England, the top to bottom Poma lift was installed near where the present day chairlift is located. At the time, Otis Ridge hailed it as "the safest, most comfortable, easiest riding lift available today."

Otis Ridge worked to appeal more to beginners and intermediates for the 1958-59 season. In addition to reworking the Dutchman Trail and enlarging the ski school slope, it installed a new J-Bar next to the former and a new rope tow on the latter. The J-Bar was likely built in conjunction with a similar lift at Dutch Hill.

A Larchmont snowmaking system was installed for the 1960-61 season.

Otis Ridge in the 1960s
Otis Ridge in the 1960s

The late 1940s rope tow adjacent to Ridge Run was replaced in 1962-63 with a T-Bar, leaving Otis with a variety of surface lift types (rope tows, J-Bar, T-Bar, and Poma lift).

Following the 1964-65 season, Ski School Director Frank Weston departed for Brodie. Jim Day took over the Otis Ridge ski school for the 1965-66 season.

The Poma circa the 1960s
The Poma circa the 1960s

Jim Ryan was named Ski School Director for the 1967-68 season.

The Grouse House was built circa 1968, allowing for multi-day skiers to rent a bunk at a reasonable cost.

Otis Ridge circa the late 1960s or early 1970s
Otis Ridge circa the late 1960s or early 1970s

Trees were cut for the 1971-72 season, as the Bushwhacker trail was cut from the top of the T-Bar to the Meadow complex and the Acorn trail was widened.

New Ownership

Otis Ridge circa the 1980s
Otis Ridge circa the 1980s

As was the case throughout most of New England, rough winters in the 1970s and early 1980s hit Otis Ridge hard. Foreclosure hit during the winter of 1981-82, resulting in the ski area ending up in the hands of R.S.M. Management, Inc.

A refurbished double chairlift was installed for the 1982-83 season, replacing the aging Poma lift.

In May of 1987, R.S.M. Management, Inc. sold Otis Ridge to Otis Associates, Inc. for $470,000.

In 1992, manager Alden "Al" Hewett was fired from his job as New Hartford police officer, following accusations of sexual abuse of a male minor in the 1980s. Members of the community came to his defense. Hewett remained at Otis Ridge. Nearly a decade and a half later, new charges of sexual abuse emerged. In April of 2008, Al Hewett (who sometimes used the name Al Hewitt) was convicted of raping a boy in Otis during the 1990s. Hewett was sentenced to 15 to 20 years in jail. Part owner Jamie Carr took over as General Manager of the ski area.

Butternut to the Rescue

The Dutchman trail in 2016
The Dutchman trail in 2016

On January 6, 2011, Ski Butternut General Manager Jeff Murdock formed Stoney Management LLC. In March, Otis Ridge took out a second mortgage for $350,000 with Stoney Management. Facing foreclosure, Otis Associates agreed to transfer the ski area to Murdock's Otis Ridge Properties, LLC on December 31, 2016 for $195,000. Months later, Murdock also acquired nearby Ski Blandford, rescuing it from closure.

Otis Ridge remains in operation with some of the lowest prices for chairlift-served skiing in New England. Reports
Month Average Percent of Terrain Open
December83%    (2 reports)83 Open
February80%    (2 reports)80 Open
Recent Conditions Reports
Dec. 26, 2019 by rocket21
Loose Granular, Loose Granular
Dec. 26, 2019 by brianna
Loose Granular, Loose Granular
Feb. 18, 2016 by newenglandskier13
Loose Granular, Variable Conditions
Feb. 12, 2016 by rocket21
Packed Powder, Packed Powder
Otis Ridge on News
Recent Articles
Massachusetts 2017-18 Lift Ticket Prices Up 2% - Nov. 8, 2017
Massachusetts 2016-17 Lift Ticket Prices Up 3% - Nov. 21, 2016
Otis Ridge News Page

Image Gallery
1953-54 Eastern Ski Map1956-57 Eastern Ski Map1957-58 Eastern Ski Map1959-60 Eastern Ski Map1960-61 Eastern Ski Map1962-63 Eastern Ski Map
View All Images in Otis Ridge Image Gallery

Click on lift name for information and photos
Standing Lifts
The Double Chair in 2002
Double Chair
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
The bottom terminal (2016)

Past Lifts
The lift line (1969)
The base terminal circa the 1950s

2023-24 Otis Ridge Trail Map
1940s Otis Ridge Trail Map1957-58 Otis Ridge Trail Map1962-63 Otis Ridge Trail Map1963-64 Otis Ridge Trail Map1964-65 Otis Ridge Trail Map1968-69 Otis Ridge Trail Map
View All Otis Ridge Trail Maps

Year by Year History
Adult Weekend Full Day Lift Ticket; Adult Full Price Unlimited Season Pass
2020s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
2023-24$55.002023-24 Ticket Price Graph$319.002023-24 Season Pass Price Graph5.8 daysDecember 9March 102023-24 Skier Visit Graph
2022-23$50.002022-23 Ticket Price Graph$289.002022-23 Season Pass Price Graph5.8 daysDecember 17March 262022-23 Skier Visit Graph
2021-22$45.002021-22 Ticket Price Graph$249.002021-22 Season Pass Price Graph5.5 daysDecember 18March 202021-22 Skier Visit Graph
2020-21$40.002020-21 Ticket Price Graph$230.002020-21 Season Pass Price Graph5.8 daysDecember 19March 212020-21 Skier Visit Graph
2019-20$40.002019-20 Ticket Price Graph$220.002019-20 Season Pass Price Graph5.5 daysDecember 7March 152019-20 Skier Visit Graph
2010s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
2018-19$40.002018-19 Ticket Price Graph$220.002018-19 Season Pass Price Graph5.5 daysDecember 8March 242018-19 Skier Visit Graph
2017-18$40.002017-18 Ticket Price Graph$220.002017-18 Season Pass Price Graph5.5 daysDecember 9March 252017-18 Skier Visit Graph
2016-17$40.002016-17 Ticket Price Graph$220.002016-17 Season Pass Price Graph5.5 daysDecember 17March 252016-17 Skier Visit Graph
2015-16$40.002015-16 Ticket Price Graph$220.002015-16 Season Pass Price Graph5.5 daysDecember 12March 132015-16 Skier Visit Graph
2014-15$35.002014-15 Ticket Price Graph$220.002014-15 Season Pass Price Graph6.3 daysDecember 13March 292014-15 Skier Visit Graph
2013-14$35.002013-14 Ticket Price Graph$220.002013-14 Season Pass Price Graph6.3 daysDecember 14March 222013-14 Skier Visit Graph
2012-13$30.002012-13 Ticket Price Graph$200.002012-13 Season Pass Price Graph6.7 daysDecember 15March 172012-13 Skier Visit Graph
2011-12$30.002011-12 Ticket Price Graph$200.002011-12 Season Pass Price Graph6.7 daysDecember 17March 112011-12 Skier Visit Graph
2010-11$30.002010-11 Ticket Price Graph$220.002010-11 Season Pass Price Graph7.3 daysDecember 182010-11 Skier Visit Graph
2009-10$30.002009-10 Ticket Price Graph$220.002009-10 Season Pass Price Graph7.3 daysMarch 202009-10 Skier Visit Graph
2000s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
2008-09$30.002008-09 Ticket Price Graph$220.002008-09 Season Pass Price Graph7.3 days2008-09 Skier Visit Graph
2007-08$30.002007-08 Ticket Price Graph$200.002007-08 Season Pass Price Graph6.7 days2007-08 Skier Visit Graph
2006-07$30.002006-07 Ticket Price Graph$200.002006-07 Season Pass Price Graph6.7 days2006-07 Skier Visit Graph
2005-06$30.002005-06 Ticket Price Graph$200.002005-06 Season Pass Price Graph6.7 days2005-06 Skier Visit Graph
2004-05$29.002004-05 Ticket Price Graph$200.002004-05 Season Pass Price Graph6.9 days2004-05 Skier Visit Graph
2003-04$25.002003-04 Ticket Price Graph$200.002003-04 Season Pass Price Graph8.0 days2003-04 Skier Visit Graph
2002-03$25.002002-03 Ticket Price Graph$200.002002-03 Season Pass Price Graph8.0 days2002-03 Skier Visit Graph
2001-02$24.002001-02 Ticket Price Graph$200.002001-02 Season Pass Price Graph8.3 daysDecember 262001-02 Skier Visit Graph
2000-01$22.002000-01 Ticket Price Graph$200.002000-01 Season Pass Price Graph9.1 days2000-01 Skier Visit Graph
1999-00$20.001999-00 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
1998-99$20.001998-99 Ticket Price Graph1998-99 Season Pass Price Graph1998-99 Skier Visit Graph
1996-97$20.001996-97 Ticket Price Graph1996-97 Season Pass Price Graph1996-97 Skier Visit Graph
1995-96$22.001995-96 Ticket Price Graph1995-96 Season Pass Price Graph1995-96 Skier Visit Graph
1994-951994-95 Ticket Price Graph1994-95 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 171994-95 Skier Visit Graph
1993-941993-94 Ticket Price Graph1993-94 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 181993-94 Skier Visit Graph
1992-93$22.001992-93 Ticket Price Graph1992-93 Season Pass Price Graph1992-93 Skier Visit Graph
1991-92$22.001991-92 Ticket Price Graph1991-92 Season Pass Price Graph1991-92 Skier Visit Graph
1990-91$29.001990-91 Ticket Price Graph1990-91 Season Pass Price Graph1990-91 Skier Visit Graph
1989-90$20.001989-90 Ticket Price Graph$220.001989-90 Season Pass Price Graph11.0 days1989-90 Skier Visit Graph
1980s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1988-89$20.001988-89 Ticket Price Graph1988-89 Season Pass Price Graph1988-89 Skier Visit Graph
1987-88$18.001987-88 Ticket Price Graph1987-88 Season Pass Price Graph1987-88 Skier Visit Graph
1985-86$15.001985-86 Ticket Price Graph1985-86 Season Pass Price Graph1985-86 Skier Visit Graph
1984-85$13.001984-85 Ticket Price Graph1984-85 Season Pass Price Graph1984-85 Skier Visit Graph
1983-84$13.001983-84 Ticket Price Graph1983-84 Season Pass Price Graph1983-84 Skier Visit Graph
1982-83$12.001982-83 Ticket Price Graph1982-83 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 5March 251982-83 Skier Visit Graph
1981-82$12.001981-82 Ticket Price Graph1981-82 Season Pass Price GraphMarch 281981-82 Skier Visit Graph
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
1978-79$8.501978-79 Ticket Price Graph$95.001978-79 Season Pass Price Graph11.2 daysMarch 241978-79 Skier Visit Graph
1976-77$7.501976-77 Ticket Price Graph1976-77 Season Pass Price Graph1976-77 Skier Visit Graph
1975-76$6.501975-76 Ticket Price Graph1975-76 Season Pass Price Graph1975-76 Skier Visit Graph
1974-75$6.501974-75 Ticket Price Graph$90.001974-75 Season Pass Price Graph13.8 days1974-75 Skier Visit Graph
1973-74$6.501973-74 Ticket Price Graph1973-74 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 161973-74 Skier Visit Graph
1972-73$6.501972-73 Ticket Price Graph$90.001972-73 Season Pass Price Graph13.8 days1972-73 Skier Visit Graph
1971-72$6.001971-72 Ticket Price Graph$75.001971-72 Season Pass Price Graph12.5 daysNovember 271971-72 Skier Visit Graph
1970-71$6.001970-71 Ticket Price Graph1970-71 Season Pass Price GraphApril 111970-71 Skier Visit Graph
1969-70$6.001969-70 Ticket Price Graph$75.001969-70 Season Pass Price Graph12.5 daysApril 61969-70 Skier Visit Graph
1960s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1968-69$5.001968-69 Ticket Price Graph1968-69 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 131968-69 Skier Visit Graph
1967-68$4.501967-68 Ticket Price Graph1967-68 Season Pass Price Graph1967-68 Skier Visit Graph
1966-67$4.501966-67 Ticket Price Graph1966-67 Season Pass Price Graph1966-67 Skier Visit Graph
1965-66$4.001965-66 Ticket Price Graph1965-66 Season Pass Price Graph1965-66 Skier Visit Graph
1964-65$4.001964-65 Ticket Price Graph$55.001964-65 Season Pass Price Graph13.8 days1964-65 Skier Visit Graph
1963-64$4.001963-64 Ticket Price Graph$40.001963-64 Season Pass Price Graph10.0 days1963-64 Skier Visit Graph
1962-63$4.001962-63 Ticket Price Graph1962-63 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 221962-63 Skier Visit Graph
1961-62$4.001961-62 Ticket Price Graph1961-62 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 22April 11961-62 Skier Visit Graph
1960-61$4.001960-61 Ticket Price Graph1960-61 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 171960-61 Skier Visit Graph
1959-60$3.501959-60 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
1957-581957-58 Ticket Price Graph1957-58 Season Pass Price GraphApril 131957-58 Skier Visit Graph
1953-541953-54 Ticket Price Graph1953-54 Season Pass Price GraphJanuary 9February 141953-54 Skier Visit Graph
1952-531952-53 Ticket Price Graph1952-53 Season Pass Price GraphJanuary 41952-53 Skier Visit Graph
1951-521951-52 Ticket Price Graph1951-52 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 151951-52 Skier Visit Graph
1949-501949-50 Ticket Price Graph1949-50 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 10April 151949-50 Skier Visit Graph
1940s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1948-491948-49 Ticket Price Graph1948-49 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 251948-49 Skier Visit Graph
1946-471946-47 Ticket Price Graph1946-47 Season Pass Price GraphJanuary 51946-47 Skier Visit Graph

Visitor Memories
"Thank goodness they persevered through those early years. If you ever want to experience skiing the way it was, including the lodge, or if you are younger, wonder about what those stories were about, this the place. With, modern grooming, excellent snowmaking, and very adequate lift conveyance. Great learning areas for beginners as well."
Rick Payer, Jul. 27, 2022
"Remember well the Grouse House after a great ski day or evening! Also, took a skiing course from Northwestern Connecticut Community College many years ago. Loved it, learned a lot, great fun! So happy to see a small friendly ski area still thriving and doing well! "
Valeria Morck, Jan. 30, 2021
"Otis Ridge. "This use to be my playground". My folks, Anne and Bill Roach, were counselors/instructors at Camp. I was allowed to come when I turned 5 yrs and I never looked back. It was a dream life growing up at Camp. There were a bunch of us counselor kids: the Brooks, Vincent, Nevue, Putnam, Greenleaf. Every single weekend and holiday in the winter, we must have terrorized everyone. But wonderful memories and what a wonderful upbringing. I think just about all of us became incredible skiers, most of us went on to become certified instructors ourselves. As I look back now, I can honestly say my years at Otis was the best time of my life. Thank you Dave and Hooker, where ever you are!"
Andy McMahan (Roach), Dec. 16, 2017
"I will always have fond memories of Otis, as it is where I started my career in the ski business. I started out as a part-time cross-country instructor and helped out occasionally on the alpine side. The next year I also worked part-time but mostly taught alpine lessons. I worked fulltime the next two years, during which I received my PSIA alpine certification. Those years were a lot of fun, and I did nearly every job on the mountain. I, along with a great and motivated ski school staff, had the pleasure of teaching Jamie Carr how to ski. She started from a never-ever, sometimes taking two lessons a day. There were also many nights in the Grouse House for apre' ski, some that were then and more so now, a blur. It was a great start to the ski business and, even after 40 years, I can still say that I'm still looking for a 'real' job."
John Cossaboom, Nov. 14, 2013
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External Links
  • Otis Ridge - official site
  • Last updated: April 30, 2024

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