Last updated: June 16, 2020
Located across from the present day Waterville Valley ski area, Snow's Mountain was the original lift served ski area in Waterville Valley.
Waterville Inn Years
The Waterville Inn was established by Nathaniel Greeley as Greeley's Mountain House in 1868. A summer destination for much of its existence, the inn was winterized in the mid-1930s following the construction of the Mt. Tecumseh CCC Ski Trail.
The Snow's Mountain and the Waterville Inn circa the late 1950s or early 1960s
In 1940, the Waterville Valley Association granted a lease of the inn to Lauris G. Treadway, who operated Treadway Inns down the east coast. The L.G. Treadway company transferred recent Middlebury College graduate Edward Romeo (who had been working at its Middlebury Inn) to Waterville to operate the inn. At the urging of the Hochebirge Ski Club, the Waterville Valley Association constructed a rope tow behind the inn in 1941, entering into a lease with Francois Bertrand to operate it.
Though the ski area operated following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Ed Romeo enlisted as an officer in the Navy that spring, serving aboard a minesweeper in the Pacific theater for four years. Treadway discontinued their operating agreement, resulting in the inn reverting to the management of the Waterville Valley Association during the war years.
Following the war, L. G. Treadway resumed operational control of the inn for the summer of 1946. One employee hired by the company was a twenty-six year old World War II Marine combat veteran named Ralph Bean. A native of Lowell, Massachusetts, Bean had skied at Waterville while a student at Governor Dummer Academy.
1946 also saw the installation of a power line into Waterville Valley. Meanwhile, with winter operations resuming following the war, Francois Bertrand reopened the rope tow for the winter of 1946-47.
L. G. Treadway ceded control of the inn following the summer of 1947. According to Grace Bean's The Town at the End of the Road, Ralph Bean, Jack LeBaron, Sam Yeiter, and Bob Yeiter leased the inn that winter and operated the ski area, as Bertrand had departed for Belgium. The Black and Blue Trail Smashers (BBTS) ski club helped support the venture by renting a block of rooms that winter.
The winter offerings at Waterville Valley were robust, including the 1,553 vertical foot Mt. Tecumseh Trail (site of many prominent ski races), two slopes served by a 1,500 foot rope tow that operated daily, Ralph Bean's ski school, nordic ski trails, and a skating rink with lights.
In the spring of 1948, Ralph Bean and his uncle Howard Chase purchased the 509 acre resort from the Waterville Valley Association for $35,000. After taking over as owner of the resort, Bean brought in Kenwood Ski Slope owner Raymond Brox of Dracut to handle the ski area operation; the two had been introduced by fellow Lowell native and BBTS founder Harry Pollard. Bean and Brox later formed Waterville Lift Corporation as the ski area expanded.
In December 1948, a snow cat was shipped up to Waterville Valley under the ownership of the Distributed Sno Cat Corp. The machine provided shuttle service from the highway to the base of the Mt. Tecumseh ski trail. Photos of the snow cat were widely circulated in 1952, when it was draped with an Ike banner for the Republican Presidential primary.
A beginner rope tow was likely added circa the 1950-51 season, as the ski area continued to grow in popularity.
The Town of Waterville Valley made national headlines in 1952, when it hosted the first-in-the-nation Presidential primary. The 12:01 AM election was reportedly conceived by future Eisenhower Chief of Staff and future Loon Mountain founder Sherman Adams as a way to get an Ike victory in the papers ahead of most other polling places opening. The Associated Press delighted in referring to Ralph Bean as "owner of the inn, town clerk, police chief, fire chief, and road agent. About the only town job Bean doesn't hold is tax collector. His wife has that job."
The 1952 Eisenhower campaign at Waterville Valley
With a total population of 10 in 1952, all 7 of the primary votes went to Dwight Eisenhower, kicking off his ascent to the White House.
Later that year, Waterville acquired a six-year-old T-Bar from Winter Park, Colorado. Ray Brox transported the lift to New Hampshire and assembled it on an expanded Snow's Mountain, replacing one of the rope tows. With the new lift, the vertical drop of the ski area increased to some 400 feet.
A new motor was installed in the T-Bar for the 1954-55 season.
An upper mountain T-Bar was installed for the 1959-60 season, reportedly constructed by Ray Brox. The new lift increased the area's vertical drop by over 200 feet and accessed a steeper upper portion of the Big Dipper slope and a new trail called Milky Way.
Though Waterville Valley ski area had grown, it still paled in comparison to larger chairlift and gondola developments emerging across New England. As the 1960s unfolded, Waterville Valley was in danger of being wiped off the map. The last annual Tecumseh race was held in 1962, as lift served ski areas dethroned hike up, ski down trails. By the middle of the decade, Waterville Valley had only 22 residents remaining. Meanwhile, Interstate 93 was expanding north to the White Mountains.
Circa 1964, Ralph Bean was telling people that he was ready to sell the Waterville Inn, its small ski area, and about 400 acres of privately held land. Looking to develop a ski area somewhere in the northeast, Olympic skier Tom Corcoran began working with Sel Hannah's Sno Engineering, which also happened to be working with Bean. After being flown around Waterville Valley by Sno Engineering's Ted Farwell, Corcoran found his mountain. When a prospective sale to a group from Rhode Island fell through, Bean struck a deal with Corcoran, forming a new firm to handle the development called the Waterville Company, of which Bean was a part owner. Corcoran also allegedly sought the help of a friend, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, to help procure financing and permits.
The estimated $2.5 million Waterville Valley development opened for the 1966-67 season as one of the largest ski areas in New England. The former Waterville Inn ski area was renamed Snow's Mountain and used as an overflow facility, becoming a weekend operation..
In the midst of a snowstorm on the night of February 23, 1967, the Waterville Inn burned to the ground. While none of the 150 skiers staying there were injured, all lost their belongings were put up for the night in the new Waterville Valley ski area base lodge. The Waterville Inn was not rebuilt.
Snow's Mountain made regional headlines during the winter of 1967-68, when a novel idea was promoted in which the entire ski area could be privately rented for $600 per day.
In subsequent years, Waterville Valley grew to become one of the most popular areas in the region. For the 1970-71 season, the main T-Bar slope at Snow's Mountain was lighted for night skiing.
The Waterville Inn ski area during the late 1950s or early 1960s
Due to some tough snow years in the early 1970s as well as aging lifts, Snow's Mountain likely did not operate for the 1972-73 or 1973-74 seasons, as the T-Bars were reportedly "judged obsolete by the Waterville Company."
Snow's Mountain Chairlift
After up to two years of closure, Snow's Mountain reopened for the 1974-75 season with a new Stadeli double chairlift. The investment was seen as a way of providing an area for overflow traffic on busy days at Waterville, as well as offering night skiing.
Larger plans called for snowmaking, more lifts, more trails, a larger vertical drop, and a lift connection to downtown. The grandiose scheme was not meant to be and instead Snow's Mountain remained a small, part time ski area.
With snowboarding quickly becoming a big sport, Waterville Valley responded by building a half pipe on Snow's Mountain in the 1980s.
On October 31, 1994, Waterville Valley and Snow's Mountain were purchased by S-K-I Ltd.
Snow's Mountain was designated a snowboard-only area for the 1995-96 season, which ended up likely being the final season of alpine snowsports at the facility for some time. After a very short tenure as part of American Skiing Company, Waterville Valley and Snow's Mountain were sold to Booth Creek Ski Holdings, Inc. on November 27, 1996. In the subsequent decade and a half, the chairlift continued to operate for mountain biking and scenic rides. Meanwhile, houses were constructed on the lower portion of two ski trails.
On October 8, 2010, Booth Creek sold Waterville Valley and Snow's Mountain to a group of investors including former Governor John Sununu and future Governor Chris Sununu.
Future Governor Chris Sununu riding the Snow's Mountain chairlift in 2015
In 2011, Waterville Valley Academy constructed Phil's Hill Bagjump Training Center at the foot of Snow's Mountain, providing year round ski jump training.
After a few years of ownership, Waterville Valley CEO Chris Sununu became interested in providing Waterville Valley regulars with the chance to ski Snow's Mountain again. After a two decade alpine skiing absence, Snow's Mountain was opened to Waterville Valley season pass holders on February 28, 2015 for one day. Two years later, Snow's Mountain again opened to season pass holders for a day of skiing.
Apart from the special alpine ski days, the Snow's Mountain chairlift primarily operates for mountain biking and scenic rides.
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
|Season Pass Price
|Season Pass Price
|Season Pass Price
|Season Pass Price
|"Learned to ski with two families during the mid 50's when I was in elementary school. Happy times at the Waterville Inn, with square dancing, "sugar (boiled maple syrup) on snow," a balance board, and loads of honest healthy fun.
Thanks for the memories!
|Anne Stuart, Nov. 21, 2021
|"I worked in the Afterthought grill attached on the north side of the Inn, and was spending the night in the Inn because of the snowstorm, the night of the night of the fire.
I got off work early, and went into my room for a minute, and as soon as I re-opened my door the hall had a bad smoke smell, and in no time at all, all of the employees available were trying to evacuate the in room by room.
Being18 at the time some thought I was a prankster, but the Inn was evacuated and within a few hours the Inn was gone.
I remember going back with a friend in the morning, and looked over what seemed unbelievable.
Also remember going back in because one lady said her dog was on the second floor, I found him in the ladies room, in the smoke under a sink, and went back down the fire escape to one elated owner.
Had fun working in the afterthought, good memories."
|Ted Perry, Mar. 9, 2021
|"The retractable t-bar had a nasty slingshot lift you right off the ground at the last incline the wood t smashed my preteen friend in the face luckily didn't take out any teeth. Kind of like the fast rope tows that would almost pull you out of your skis when you first caught hold."
|thomas scribner, Feb. 24, 2021
|"In the late 60's the Plymouth State ski team went up there at night to participate in an Industrial league ski race series representing Guinines (sp?) Dugout Ski Shop in Plymouth. We were ringers as we didn't work at the shop! I was the captain."
|Robert Widger, Jun. 17, 2020
|"Mom's sister was Grace Bean, of Waterville Valley.
It is suggested by the family that Ray Brox designed and put up the chairlift."
|Tee Adams, Dec. 28, 2016
Snow's Mountain - New England Lost Ski Areas Project