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Black Mountain as seen from Doublehead (2008)
Black Mountain Resort
Jackson, New Hampshire
Status: Open
First Season:1935-36
Vertical Drop:1100 feet
Standing Lifts:1 triple, 1 double, surface lifts
Past Lifts:Surface lifts
Left: Black Mountain as seen from Doublehead (2008)
Recent NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News:
10/18/2023: Black Mountain Reverses Decision; Will O...
10/11/2023: Black Mountain in New Hampshire to Close
1/18/2016: Black Mountain Unable to Open on Martin...
3/23/2015: Smaller New Hampshire Areas Plagued by E...
SkiNewEngland.net Profile
Located in Jackson, Black Mountain is the oldest lift served ski area in New Hampshire.

CCC Days

Modern skiing on Black Mountain dates back to at least 1934, when the Civilian Conservation Corps cut the Black Mountain Ski Trail on the middle peak of the ridge. The trail and its cabin remain in use today, unconnected to the lift served alpine ski area.

Moody's and Whitney's

Whitney's
Whitney's

From a lift served skiing perspective, Black Mountain likely first opened in either December 1935 or early 1936 as a small rope tow area designed to bring more people to Moody's Inn. According to future owner Betty Whitney, the lift, constructed by George Morton, had hanging ropes and vertical bullwheels.

Mechanical engineer H. Holland "Bill" Whitney and his wife Helen "Betty" Whitney entered into an agreement to purchase Moody's circa September 1936, leveraging an inheritance. The couple subsequently renamed the inn "Whitney's." According to a letter decades later, Betty Whitney reported that they bought the ski lift from George Morton for $230. Meanwhile, the Jackson Ski Association was formed to promote skiing in the town. Carroll Reed, head of Eastern Slope Ski School, served as an advisor to the organization. Reed hired Benno Rybizka from Hannes Schneider's ski school in Austria to be the Eastern Slope Ski School's head instructor, basing the operation in Jackson.

In early December, Betty Whitney was nearly killed in an automobile collision near Rochester, New Hampshire. Whitney reportedly suffered a fractured skull and permanent damage to her vision.

The earliest known reference to skiing on Whitney's during the rainy 1936-37 season was late January, when Rybizka conducted lessons in his "typical Tyrolean hat, all decked out with fascinating silver ornaments and tipped in cavalier fashion at a most becoming angle to shade that already well-tanned face of his," according to the Boston Globe. The ski tow was reported to be "a popular affair." The slope was also reportedly lighted for night skiing and became known by some as Whitneys' Side Hill.

The Whitneys likely formally acquired the property from Ed Moody in May 1937. The tract reportedly spanned 100 acres.

A 1938 Whitney's advertisement
A 1938 Whitney's advertisement

New dorm-style rooms were added to the operation for the 1937-38 season. It is not known when the ski season started (snow was reportedly lacking around Christmas), but the lift was advertised as in operation before the end of December.

At some point in the late 1930s, perhaps for the 1937-38 season, Whitney reengineered the tow by changing the bullwheels from a vertical to horizontal orientation, and replacing the hanging ropes with dozens of Sears Roebuck & Co. shovel handles for easier riding and more reliable operation. By the time the 1938-39 season rolled around, the Eastern Slope Ski School had a staff of 21 Austrian and American instructors and was operating at Whitney's, Cranmore, and Russell's. In February, Hannes Schneider arrived at Cranmore and became head of the Eastern Slope Ski School.

Franz Koessler was named director of the Jackson branch of the Eastern Slope Ski School for the 1939-40 season, with Arthur Doucette serving as one of his instructors. A native of Austria, Koessler was known to exclaim, "Jeepers creepers!" to struggling beginners.

Early grooming at Black
Early grooming at Black

A new expert trail was added for the 1940-41 season. The Portsmouth Herald described it as "especially fast and steep." The season likely kicked off in late November or early December. Conditions were reported as poor over the holiday period, though business was reported as strong. A "new tow" was reported as going into operation just before Christmas, though subsequent accounts only alluded to one lift at the area.

Improvements for the 1941-42 season included smoothing of the main slope and adding the "Sugar Orchard Schuss." Just weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Whitney's reported record business over Christmas weekend. Some even hit the slopes as a last furlough before shipping out to serve.

Bill Whitney shipped out to Europe to operate a servicemen's club for the Red Cross, leaving Betty to operate the inn and ski area for the 1942-43 season. According to Nicholas Howe, on February 22, 1943, only three cars showed up, causing Betty to shut down the business and join the Red Cross effort. The area likely did not operate during the winter of 1943-44.

While serving in the Army in 1944, Franz Koessler was killed in a training accident at Camp Croft in South Carolina. Honoring a request made by Koessler, Bill Whitney installed a memorial plaque on the slope in December 1946.

Whitney's was back in operation in December 1944, advertising "The best of Skiing as usual."

Following World War II, Whitney's enjoyed a 200-skier day just after Christmas 1945. Arthur Doucette was named Ski School Director, a position he would hold for the next quarter of a century.

Black Mountain

The Knoll T-Bar
The Knoll T-Bar

After World War II, Whitney's was in danger of being left behind by developments with much longer lifts than Whitney's relatively short surface lift. With the top to bottom Skimobile service in place at nearby Cranmore and a large development being planned down the road at Thorn Mountain, Bill Whitney began to plan a chairlift development in 1947. Brothers Halsey and Stanton Davis were brought in as partners on construction of the mile long lift. The project was either overhyped or scaled down, as the result was a new 3,500 foot long Constam T-Bar that could be converted to a scenic chairlift for off season use. The base terminal of the lift was reportedly located adjacent to an old schoolhouse. Nevertheless, the new lift vastly improved the offerings at the ski area for the 1948-49 season, climbing some 700 vertical feet up Black Mountain Knoll. New trails included the Whitney Trail, the Davis Trail, the Hardscrabble Trail, and the Maple Trail. To help rebrand the larger new area, Whitney's was renamed Black Mountain.

Spruce Run was added for the 1949-50 season, while Runaway was cut soon thereafter. The Speedwell Trail debuted in early 1953, as well as a new grooming contraption described by the Boston Globe as "a tractor with an endless belt of slats turning on its tractor treads." The handle lift was upgraded to a J-Bar circa 1954.

Meanwhile, Cranmore, Black Mountain, and Jackson Senator Winifred Wild unsuccessfully tried to stop the state funded Peabody base area development at Cannon Mountain, fearing the expansion would harm Eastern Slope Region business. Struggles did ensue, in large part due to winters with poor snowfall. Betty Whitney later reflected told the Mountain Ear, "during the late forties and early fifties, literally five years in 10 were poor snow years. Local businesses simply had to suffer through it." While Thorn Mountain likely folded following the 1956-57 season, Black Mountain decided to push forward and invest in snowmaking and a new restaurant for the 1957-58 season.

Multiple improvements were made for the 1959-60 season, including new night skiing lights on Whitneys' Hill, a skating rink, and a new base building near the T-Bar.

A 1,150 foot long Mueller T-Bar was added for the 1960-61 season, serving novice terrain.

The Chairlift Age

The Knoll T-Bar and Summit Double circa 1970
The Knoll T-Bar and Summit Double circa 1970

Once again finding itself dealing with new competition, including Attitash and Tyrol, Black Mountain made plans to expand the ski area. The Upper Mountain was opened for the 1965-66 season, served by Black's first chairlift. Increasing the vertical drop by 400 feet to 1,100 feet, the new chairlift was described by the Portsmouth Herald as "pretentious." The lift was dedicated by Governor John King on December 18, 1965, though it reportedly did not open to the public until later in the season.

Following a successful 1968-69 season in which business was up 30%, Bill and Betty Whitney retired to a home above Whitney's Slope, handing over the reins to former ski patrol director Don Murray and his wife Kathy. While Black was able to stay open through the tough years in the 1970s, there was not much growth. Sadly, shortly after celebrating his 40th wedding anniversary with Betty, Bill Whitney suffered a fatal heart attack while hiking a ski trail in October of 1976.

Financial Trouble

The Whitney Slope and J-Bar
The Whitney Slope and J-Bar

After a few tough seasons in the early 1980s (including a two-day 1979-80 season), a group of local businessmen took over Black Mountain and started a five year investment plan. For the 1982-83 season, the base lodge was expanded by 10,000 square feet.

Black Mountain Resort, Inc. sold the property to Black Mountain Development Corporation in September 1984. Led by Earle Wason, the new ownership hit the ground running, installing top to bottom snowmaking and a new triple chairlift. Circa 1985, retired General Electric employee Bill Lynn took over as General Manager and then president. Soon thereafter, George Fairbanks took over as president.

In July 1986, Ski Black, Inc. was formed, with both Lynn and Fairbanks as officers. The company leased the ski area from Black Mountain Development Corporation starting in July 1987, as the owners worked on real estate development. The ski area reported back to back record seasons in 1988-89 and 1989-90.

Paul Lodi succeeded Chip Taylor as General Manager of the ski area circa the 1990-91 season. Betty Whitney remained involved as a stockholder. The 1990-91 season also saw the construction of a glass walkway between the lodge and restrooms.

Fichera Takes Over

The J-Bar in 2014
The J-Bar in 2014

As the early 1990s progressed, loans began to pile up for Black Mountain Development Corp. On March 3, 1995, the company filed for bankruptcy. As part of the reorganization agreement, John Fichera and Northern Mountain Trust were selected to operate and acquire the ski area. In March of 1996, John and Andrew Fichera formed Alpine Resources Corporation as the owning organization of Black Mountain.

Snow tubing was offered starting with the 1995-96 season.

New glades were added for the 1997-98 season.

Betty Whitney passed away in February 2005 at the age of 102.

Upper Maple Slalom in 2020
Upper Maple Slalom in 2020

Despite waves of corporate sales at other ski areas in the region, Fichera has retained the independent feel at Black, keeping the ski area in operation whilst steadily improving snowmaking capabilities.

NewEnglandSkiConditions.com Reports
Month Average Percent of Terrain Open
December25%    (2 reports)25 Open
January25%    (4 reports)25 Open
February80%    (9 reports)80 Open
March82%    (12 reports)82 Open
Recent Conditions Reports
Feb. 10, 2024 by beccam
Spring Snow, Variable Conditions
Jan. 14, 2024 by rocket21
Loose Granular, Frozen Granular
Mar. 25, 2023 by nordicgal
Loose Granular, Frozen Granular
Mar. 12, 2023 by skiit
Loose Granular, Spring Snow
Mar. 5, 2023 by alpinevillagepres
Powder, Packed Powder
Black Mountain Resort on NewEnglandSkiConditions.com


NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News
Recent Articles
Black Mountain Reverses Decision; Will Operate This Winter - Oct. 18, 2023
Black Mountain in New Hampshire to Close - Oct. 11, 2023
Black Mountain Unable to Open on Martin Luther King Day - Jan. 18, 2016
Smaller New Hampshire Areas Plagued by Equipment Problems - Mar. 23, 2015
Black Mountain Resort NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News Page


CCC Trails
Trail Name
Status
Black Mountain TrailOpen


Expansion History
Project
Season
Upper Mountain
Open
1965-66
South Peak
Proposed


Image Gallery
1959 Appalachia1960 Appalachia1961 Appalachia1962 Appalachia1962 Appalachia1977 Ski NH Brochure
View All Images in Black Mountain Resort Image Gallery


Lifts
Click on lift name for information and photos
Standing Lifts
Installed
The East Bowl Triple in 2003
East Bowl Triple
Borvig
Chairlift - Triple - Fixed
1984-85
The Platter Pull in 2014
Platter Pull Lift
Mueller-Poma
Platter
1994-95
The Summit Double circa the 1970s
Summit Double
Mueller-Riblet
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1965-66
The J-Bar in 2004
Whitneys' J-Bar

J-Bar
1935-36

Past Lifts
Seasons
Looking uphill from the bottom terminal
Knoll T-Bar
Constam
T-Bar
1948-49
-
1983-84
Mueller T-Bar
Mueller
T-Bar
1960-61
-
1993-94


Maps
2023-24 Black Mountain Trail Map
A circa 1950s Black Mountain trail map1963-64 Black Mountain Trail Map1973-74 Black Mountain Trail Map1979-80 Black Mountain Trail Map2002-03 Black Mountain Trail Map2003-04 Black Mountain Trail Map
View All Black Mountain Resort 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$91.002023-24 Ticket Price Graph2023-24 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 232023-24 Skier Visit Graph
2022-23$85.002022-23 Ticket Price Graph$649.002022-23 Season Pass Price Graph7.6 daysDecember 27March 262022-23 Skier Visit Graph
2021-22$72.002021-22 Ticket Price Graph2021-22 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 26March 182021-22 Skier Visit Graph
2020-21$62.002020-21 Ticket Price Graph$599.002020-21 Season Pass Price Graph9.7 daysDecember 19March 202020-21 Skier Visit Graph
2019-20$62.002019-20 Ticket Price Graph$599.002019-20 Season Pass Price Graph9.7 daysDecember 20March 152019-20 Skier Visit Graph
2010s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
2018-19$59.002018-19 Ticket Price Graph$599.002018-19 Season Pass Price Graph10.2 daysNovember 30April 142018-19 Skier Visit Graph
2017-18$59.002017-18 Ticket Price Graph$599.002017-18 Season Pass Price Graph10.2 daysDecember 2March 312017-18 Skier Visit Graph
2016-17$55.002016-17 Ticket Price Graph$700.002016-17 Season Pass Price Graph12.7 daysDecember 3April 152016-17 Skier Visit Graph
2015-16$55.002015-16 Ticket Price Graph$700.002015-16 Season Pass Price Graph12.7 daysJanuary 1March 92015-16 Skier Visit Graph
2014-15$55.002014-15 Ticket Price Graph$700.002014-15 Season Pass Price Graph12.7 daysDecember 13March 282014-15 Skier Visit Graph
2013-14$49.002013-14 Ticket Price Graph$600.002013-14 Season Pass Price Graph12.2 daysDecember 16March 292013-14 Skier Visit Graph
2012-13$49.002012-13 Ticket Price Graph$575.002012-13 Season Pass Price Graph11.7 daysDecember 15March 242012-13 Skier Visit Graph
2011-12$45.002011-12 Ticket Price Graph$469.002011-12 Season Pass Price Graph10.4 daysMarch 1831,7002011-12 Skier Visit Graph
2010-11$45.002010-11 Ticket Price Graph$469.002010-11 Season Pass Price Graph10.4 days44,9002010-11 Skier Visit Graph
2009-10$39.002009-10 Ticket Price Graph$499.002009-10 Season Pass Price Graph12.8 daysDecember 18March 272009-10 Skier Visit Graph
2000s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
2008-09$39.002008-09 Ticket Price Graph2008-09 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 12March 282008-09 Skier Visit Graph
2007-08$39.002007-08 Ticket Price Graph$499.002007-08 Season Pass Price Graph12.8 daysDecember 14March 302007-08 Skier Visit Graph
2006-07$32.002006-07 Ticket Price Graph$499.002006-07 Season Pass Price Graph15.6 daysDecember 232006-07 Skier Visit Graph
2005-06$32.002005-06 Ticket Price Graph$499.002005-06 Season Pass Price Graph15.6 daysDecember 22March 1925,0002005-06 Skier Visit Graph
2004-05$32.002004-05 Ticket Price Graph$499.002004-05 Season Pass Price Graph15.6 daysDecember 17March 2725,0002004-05 Skier Visit Graph
2003-04$32.002003-04 Ticket Price Graph2003-04 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 122003-04 Skier Visit Graph
2002-03$32.002002-03 Ticket Price Graph$499.002002-03 Season Pass Price Graph15.6 daysDecember 142002-03 Skier Visit Graph
2001-02$32.002001-02 Ticket Price Graph2001-02 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 262001-02 Skier Visit Graph
2000-01$32.002000-01 Ticket Price Graph2000-01 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 162000-01 Skier Visit Graph
1999-00$32.001999-00 Ticket Price Graph1999-00 Season Pass Price GraphMarch 261999-00 Skier Visit Graph
1990s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1997-98$32.001997-98 Ticket Price Graph1997-98 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 121997-98 Skier Visit Graph
1996-97$32.001996-97 Ticket Price Graph1996-97 Season Pass Price GraphMarch 3030,0001996-97 Skier Visit Graph
1994-951994-95 Ticket Price Graph1994-95 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 161994-95 Skier Visit Graph
1992-93$29.501992-93 Ticket Price Graph1992-93 Season Pass Price Graph1992-93 Skier Visit Graph
1991-92$29.001991-92 Ticket Price Graph1991-92 Season Pass Price Graph1991-92 Skier Visit Graph
1990-91$28.001990-91 Ticket Price Graph1990-91 Season Pass Price GraphMarch 171990-91 Skier Visit Graph
1989-90$28.001989-90 Ticket Price Graph1989-90 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 241989-90 Skier Visit Graph
1980s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1988-89$25.001988-89 Ticket Price Graph1988-89 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 101988-89 Skier Visit Graph
1987-88$24.001987-88 Ticket Price Graph1987-88 Season Pass Price Graph1987-88 Skier Visit Graph
1986-87$20.001986-87 Ticket Price Graph1986-87 Season Pass Price Graph1986-87 Skier Visit Graph
1985-861985-86 Ticket Price Graph1985-86 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 141985-86 Skier Visit Graph
1984-85$18.001984-85 Ticket Price Graph$350.001984-85 Season Pass Price Graph19.4 days1984-85 Skier Visit Graph
1980-81$11.001980-81 Ticket Price Graph1980-81 Season Pass Price Graph1980-81 Skier Visit Graph
1979-80$10.001979-80 Ticket Price Graph1979-80 Season Pass Price Graph1979-80 Skier Visit Graph
1970s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1978-79$9.001978-79 Ticket Price Graph1978-79 Season Pass Price Graph1978-79 Skier Visit Graph
1977-78$8.001977-78 Ticket Price Graph1977-78 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 171977-78 Skier Visit Graph
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
1971-72$7.001971-72 Ticket Price Graph1971-72 Season Pass Price Graph1971-72 Skier Visit Graph
1970-71$7.001970-71 Ticket Price Graph1970-71 Season Pass Price Graph1970-71 Skier Visit Graph
1969-70$7.001969-70 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$6.001968-69 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$4.501964-65 Ticket Price Graph1964-65 Season Pass Price Graph1964-65 Skier Visit Graph
1963-64$4.501963-64 Ticket Price Graph1963-64 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 71963-64 Skier Visit Graph
1962-63$4.501962-63 Ticket Price Graph1962-63 Season Pass Price Graph1962-63 Skier Visit Graph
1961-621961-62 Ticket Price Graph1961-62 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 15April 21961-62 Skier Visit Graph
1959-60$4.001959-60 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
1957-581957-58 Ticket Price Graph1957-58 Season Pass Price GraphApril 61957-58 Skier Visit Graph
1955-561955-56 Ticket Price Graph1955-56 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 101955-56 Skier Visit Graph
1953-54$3.501953-54 Ticket Price Graph1953-54 Season Pass Price Graph1953-54 Skier Visit Graph
1952-53$3.501952-53 Ticket Price Graph1952-53 Season Pass Price Graph1952-53 Skier Visit Graph
1949-50$3.001949-50 Ticket Price Graph1949-50 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 101949-50 Skier Visit Graph
1940s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1946-471946-47 Ticket Price Graph1946-47 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 281946-47 Skier Visit Graph
1945-461945-46 Ticket Price Graph1945-46 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 71945-46 Skier Visit Graph
1942-431942-43 Ticket Price Graph1942-43 Season Pass Price GraphFebruary 221942-43 Skier Visit Graph


Visitor Memories
"nobody mentioned the Sugaring Off Race and events. ????? Lots of Fun. "
steve colby, Mar. 9, 2019
"My father was in charge of the training, certification and record keeping for the ski patrol as well as maintaining all the equipment for the ski patrol. I grew up spending time around Black Mtn as a kid until the fire of the summit double brought in the Fichera era. I spent time in the off season helping around the base lodge as well being used during ski patrol refresher training and lift evacuation drills. I can't tell you how many times I was strapped to a back board and flipped upside down or stood on my head because the adults thought it was funny. We still have an old center post chair from the double and I remember when the new chairs were installed. The old thiokol groomer caught fire and burned up and our new LMC groomer suffered a catastrophic failure. It was dragged off the mountain never to be seen again as LMC had gone out of business and there was nobody to honor the warranty. "
Jon Blake, Dec. 22, 2015
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External Links
  • Black Mountain Resort - official site
  • Black Mountain - FranklinSites.com Hiking Guide
  • Last updated: October 24, 2023

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