Last updated: September 21, 2021
Located on the northern face of 2,066 foot Crotched Mountain, Crotched Mountain ski area is amongst Southern New Hampshire's largest.|
The roots of lift served skiing on Crotched Mountain date back to 1964, when the original Crotched Mountain ski area opened on the northeastern shoulder of the mountain. The original 1964 Crotched Mountain ski trails and lifts are no longer in use.
On December 3, 1968, Robert and Eunice Blanchard sold nearly 400 acres of property in Bennington, New Hampshire to United Building Maintenance Corp. Based in East Boston, Massachusetts, the janitorial company was owned by Richard P. Verro.
The Onset base area circa the early 1970s
On July 3, 1969, Verro transferred the property from United Building Maintenance Corp. to his new Onset Corporation. The ski area and corporation were named after one of Verro's most successful race horses, Onset. In August, Onset Corporation leased its food and beverage operations to Drive-In Concessions of Mass. for a five-year term.
With a new ski area being constructed, a Village at Onset subdivision was presented to the town, drawn up by Civil Engineer Thomas Moran. Consisting of 47 one-acre lots, the development properties were advertised in the Boston Globe in October as being at "the nation's newest major ski area at a reasonable price." Multiple lots were sold later that year. Later that fall, Verro entered into a financing agreement with Hall Ski-Lift Company for two new double chairlifts and a T-Bar. Meanwhile, Jack Thomas was named ski school director.
The equinity of Onset extended to the trail names, which included "Triple Crown," "Photo Finish," and "Fillies Folly." The ski area's logo depicted a horse riding a bubble chair. In terms of terrain, the $1.4 million development initially featured 10 trails, all dependent upon natural snow. The lift network consisted of a bubble double chairlift (in the vicinity of the present-day Valley Quad), a regular double chairlift (present-day West Double), and a T-Bar (west of the present-day West Double). In terms of vertical drop, Onset was smaller than Crotched Mountain and Pats Peak, as its lifts did not extend to the present-day ski area summit.
The $1.4 million development opened on December 14, 1969. Live music was advertised in the base lodge's Futurity Lounge. Future plans to expand the area to 600 acres were publicized.
Unfortunately for Onset, the onset of good winter weather never really happened. The ski area struggled mightily during its freshman season, closing for a quarter of February, as well as resorting to farming snow from the woods to keep its T-Bar operating. That month, Verro's United Building Maintenance Corp. issued a $236,000 mortgage to Onset Corporation.
Following the 1969-70 season, the IRS placed a lien on the property. Though the lien was released later that year, Onset's financial woes were not over.
Following the sophomore 1970-71 season, the Manchester Bank issued a $150,000 mortgage to Onset Corporation.
Onset made national headlines during the 1971-72 season, when it became the second ski area in the East (after Haystack) to offer a specialized handicapped learn to ski program.
Onset circa the early 1970s
In September 1972, the Manchester Bank issued a $44,000 mortgage to Onset Corporation. Snowmaking may have been installed for the 1972-73 season.
In July 1973, the Manchester Bank issued a $58,000 mortgage to Onset Corporation. In September, Onset Corporation issued a $13,300 mortgage to Land Auction Bureau, Inc. of Maine on the undeveloped village lots. Days later, the IRS placed another lien on the property, citing unpaid taxes from 1969 and 1971. In January 1974, a $32,000 second mortgage was issued by Granite State Savings Bank on the village lots.
Following the disastrous 1973-74 winter, the Manchester Bank issued a $180,000 mortgage to Onset Corporation.
Circa the 1974-75 season, Crotched Mountain proposed constructing a link between the two ski areas. Though this did not come to fruition at the time, reciprocal skiing was established for the 1975-76 season under the slogan of "Ski Back to Back on One Mountain." Meanwhile, Onset began marketing a lifetime season pass offering.
Following the 1976-77 season, the State of New Hampshire issued a demand for unpaid Meals and Rooms taxes. At this point, the officers of Onset Corporation were listed as Richard Verro and Jeremy Wright. Early in the summer of 1977, Onset was offered at a foreclosure auction.
Bobcat, Merger, and the Largest Ski Area in Southern New Hampshire
Receiving $400,000 offer, Manchester Bank transferred Onset to the newly-formed Set-On Corp. in July 1977. The bank issued a $350,000 mortgage to the new ownership group, led by Robert Nowak. A Marine Vietnam veteran, Nowak had previously worked for Mobil Oil. Manchester Bank issued an additional $135,000 mortgage one month later. The ownership group changed the name of Onset to Bobcat Ski Area, hosting an open house in mid-October 1977. Maple Valley founder Terry Tyler served as general manager that winter.
Following the 1978-79 season, Bobcat was offered at a foreclosure auction. A group of investors including Waterville Valley's Tom Corcoran purchased Onset/Bobcat for $222,000 on September 14, 1979. Corcoran and Crotched's Tim Gannett then formed a management company to operate both areas as one. The areas were likely joined by two novice connecting trails for the 1980-81 season, giving Crotched the marketing tagline of being Southern New Hampshire's largest ski area. Onset/Bobcat became known as Crotched West.
Snowmaking was added on three more trails for the 1981-82 season, financed by the sale of lifetime passes. Further significant investment was made in Hedco and Snow Machines Inc. snowmaking equipment in 1983. Unfortunately, back taxes and debt were starting to accumulate. Gannett pushed forward with plans for a $5 million condominium development in 1984. To diversify offerings, Crotched co-marketed cross country skiing with Tory Pines starting in 1984-85.
Tom Corcoran and Waterville Valley left the ownership group in the mid 1980s and were replaced by local attorney Gordon Snyder in 1987. Gannett and Synder's Trailside Development Inc. was run as the ownership company, placing Ski Crotched Inc. in charge of management.
A new CTEC Quad chairlift was installed at Crotched West for the 1987-88 season. The lift was the second quad ever constructed in Southern New Hampshire.
Increased debt, the real estate slump, workmanship complaints from condo owners, and a poor 1988-89 season forced Trailside Development Inc. and Ski Crotched Inc. to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October of 1989. $13.9 million in debt was listed, as compared to only $7.5 million in assets.
Former owner Jack Sullivan and other local investors pulled together a quarter of a million dollars to open Crotched for the 1989-90 season.
A tentative deal to sell the ski area was announced in early 1990. At that time, the prospective buyer was expected to install two new chairlifts, cut 13 new trails, and build a new base lodge between Crotched East and West. The deal fell through however, resulting in the closure of Crotched East and Crotched West in 1990.
The original Crotched West lodge (2002)
While this was the end of the story for the original Crotched Mountain (Crotched East), it was only the beginning for Crotched West. Crotched West sat idle for over a decade, losing its quad chairlift to Jiminy Peak shortly after its closure.
Peak Resorts Reopens Crotched
At the turn of the millennium, Midwestern ski operator Peak Resorts started looking into either acquiring an operational mid-sized area or reopening a defunct area in New England. Though Temple Mountain was heavily considered, Peak Resorts opted to invest in defunct Crotched Mountain. According to Peak Resorts' Margrit Wurmli-Kagi, "It's the kind of small area that we specialize in, but it skis like a larger mountain. It has some nice glades and some nice steeps, but also some outlying areas that are perfect for the beginners."
The second summit quad (2007)
In September 2002, Peak Resorts formed S N H Development, Inc. as a New Hampshire corporation to begin rebuilding the former western side of the ski area. In terms of vertical feet, the prospective ski area was three times larger than any of Peak Resorts' current portfolio. After a 50 year lease of the property was procured in May 2003, a massive reconstruction project subsequently took place, including reclearing the trails, constructing a new snowmaking system, building a new base lodge, and installing rebuilt lifts from Ski Cherokee, Virginia. A reported ten million dollars later, Crotched Mountain reopened as essentially a new ski area on December 20, 2003. Though most of the terrain followed the former western footprint, the trails were given a new science fiction naming scheme.
While the reopened ski area initially did not climb to the top of the former quad chairlift, additional trails were reclaimed in subsequent years. In February of 2012, it was announced that Crotched would be acquiring Ascutney's detachable quad, reopening the upper mountain area. The lift, dubbed the Crotched Rocket, opened on December 1, 2012.
On July 22, 2019, Vail Resorts announced it would be acquiring Peak Resorts, pulling Crotched into the world's largest ski company.
Former Bobcat Ski Area owner Robert Nowak passed away on June 21, 2020 at the age of 76.
||Average Percent of Terrain Open
|December||59% (16 reports)|
|January||86% (28 reports)|
|February||97% (16 reports)|
|March||93% (22 reports)|
|April||90% (1 report)||
-- start conditions table -->
|Recent Conditions Reports|
|Mar. 25, 2021 by nhalex|
Spring Snow, Bare Spots
|Mar. 20, 2021 by kbgkgould|
Spring Snow, Spring Snow
|Mar. 19, 2021 by nhalex|
Frozen Granular, Bare Spots
|Mar. 17, 2021 by nhalex|
Spring Snow, Bare Spots
|Feb. 12, 2021 by nhalex|
Loose Granular, Loose Granular
|Crotched Mountain on NewEnglandSkiConditions.com|
Click on lift name for information and photos
Year by Year History
Adult Weekend Full Day Lift Ticket; Adult Full Price Unlimited Season Pass
||Season Pass Price
|2022-23||$89.00||$557.00||6.3 days||December 10|
|2021-22||$78.00||$499.00||6.4 days||December 26||March 27|
|2020-21||$75.00||$639.00||8.5 days||December 12||March 28|
|2019-20||$71.00||$739.00||10.4 days||December 6||March 14|
||Season Pass Price
|2018-19||$69.00||$1129.00||16.4 days||December 8||March 30|
|2017-18||$69.00||$899.00||13.0 days||December 15||April 1|
|2016-17||$64.00||$899.00||14.0 days||December 10||April 9|
|2015-16||$64.00||$589.00||9.2 days||December 29||March 20|
|2014-15||$62.00||$569.00||9.2 days||November 28||April 5|
|2013-14||$62.00||$549.00||8.9 days||November 30||March 30||94,600|
|2012-13||$59.00||$649.00||11.0 days||December 1||April 7|
|2011-12||$54.00||$599.00||11.1 days||December 17||March 18||100,000|
|2010-11||$54.00||$599.00||11.1 days||December 4||April 3||104,200|
|2009-10||$51.00||$608.00||11.9 days||December 11||March 28||100,200|
||Season Pass Price
|2008-09||$51.00||$608.00||11.9 days||November 22||March 29|
|2007-08||$48.00||$499.00||10.4 days||November 30||April 6|
|2006-07||$47.00||$469.00||10.0 days||December 8||April 7|
|2005-06||$44.00||$469.00||10.7 days||November 20||April 2||88,000|
|2004-05||$39.00||$449.00||11.5 days||December 4||80,000|
|2003-04||$45.00||$449.00||10.0 days||December 20||60,000|
||Season Pass Price
||Season Pass Price
|1984-85||$18.00||$275.00||15.3 days||December 8|
||Season Pass Price
|1978-79||$11.00||December 2||March 11|
|1977-78||$10.00||$100.00||10.0 days||December 10|
|1975-76||$9.00||$160.00||17.8 days||November 28|
|"Worked there as a Ski Patroller in the early 70’s. Met some great friends to this day. I remember no snow making to the first day of snow making. Going from Onset to BobCat to Crotched Mt West to the present Day."|
|David Salvas , Jan. 15, 2023|
|"Worked many years there great time fun east and west email any photos would love to see them living up north now miss you all thanks john ski school!!!"|
|John morello, Jun. 29, 2017|
|"I spent many after grade-school afternoons skiing the original Crotched East side slopes in the mid to late 60's. I recall skiing, sometimes on thin cover, back and forth on the cross trails between Crotched East and Onset.
In 1977 we organized and competed in a Hang Gliding meet at Bobcat ski area. After the ski area closed we used to drive/hike up and fly from the rock outcrop on the northeast summit. One day Jeff Burnett flew all the way to Action, Mass.
Once the west side reopened in 2003 I was a frequent skier for 10 years until I moved to Vermont. Crotched is a gem and so easy to get to for all the locals that enjoy it from the surrounding towns and beyond. They do a first class job of snowmaking and grooming.
Keep up the great work!
|Bill McKellar, Jun. 6, 2017|
|"I learned to ski there in 1980 , this brings back a lot of memories "|
|Lyle Schultz , May. 22, 2017|
|"I learned to ski at Crotched Mountain on Easy Street and would spend a great deal of time on Willetts Run. I Used the cross trails quite a few times. I loved that there were two sides of the mountain. They skied so differently. I still like the wide open Rocket Trail, But Willetts will always hold a special place in my heart."|
|Paul Skoog, Dec. 5, 2016|
|"I grew up in North Eastern Mass. I first skiid Crotched in 8th grade (1975) at the invitation of the high school coach who was taking the team up for some early season skiing. After 41 years, I still remember that day vividly. I wouldn't return until I was a Junior in high school and was invited to train there on weekends under racing coach Ted Sutton. Another very positive experience. The final wonderful memory I have is winning a USSA sanctioned race there as a freshman in college at nearby New England College in Henniker. I recall the trophy being a pewter beer mug with a glass bottom. Perfect for dorm life at NEC! Love that mountain...."|
|Rick DeLisle, May. 21, 2016|
|"i was 5 when i started skiing at onset in 69,I remember the verro family were owners.I lived in francestown,had season passes.stopped skiing there after becoming bobcat.the bubble was awesome."|
|robert tavares, Oct. 18, 2015|
|"I learned to ski on the original Crotched Mountain in the mid-70s off the old rope tow on the bottomr section of Easy Street. Worked my way up to T-bar and chair, and eventually down Blitz.Was a season ticket holder in the late 70s for Onset/Bobcat. Vividly remember that bubble chair!I think last time I was there was just after the merger. I do recall taking the cross-trail from east to west."|
|Mike C, Feb. 11, 2014|
Crotched Mountain - official site
Crotched Mountain - FranklinSites.com Hiking Guide
Crotched Mountain Rebirth - New England Lost Ski Areas Project
Crotched Mountain - New England Lost Ski Areas Project
Onset/Bobcat - New England Lost Ski Areas Project