Last updated: January 18, 2019
A 3,556 foot peak located near the southern border of Vermont, Mount Snow is one of the best known ski mountains in the Northeast.|
Mount Pisgah Becomes Mount Snow
As the story goes, Walt Schoenknecht visited a snow covered Mt. Pisgah in Vermont on October 2, 1946 and decided he would one day build a world class ski area there. Walt then operated Brodie, MA that winter and then developed Mohawk, CT the following season.
The Mixing Bowl in 1956
In searching for a world class resort, Schoenknecht was looking for three characteristics. Firstly, it would need to be accessible. Secondly, it would need to have a long season. Thirdly, it needed to have varying terrain over multiple peaks or faces. Mt. Pisgah fit perfectly.
Circa May 1953, Schoenknecht purchased 500 acres of land on Mt. Pisgah from the family of Reuben Snow for $15,000. Snow's name would eventually be used as the name of the new ski area as well as the government recognized name for the mountain.
Initially a $4 million project, the ski area opened in late fall 1954 (actual dates of first operation vary depending upon the source) with two unique, chain-driven double chairlifts and a rope tow, serving five trails and two slopes. 1954-55 proved to be a 'sensational' year in terms of snowfall, thus helping push Mount Snow into a strong sophomore year expansion. As Schoenknecht later told Sports Illustrated, "a skier won't let you stand still...you must provide something new, something tremendously exciting every year to get him back."
For its second year, Mt. Snow added its longest chairlift yet, a 3,800 foot chain double chairlift. The new chairlift pushed Mt. Snow over the 1,700 foot mark in advertised vertical drop, making it one of the largest ski areas in the northeast. The snowfall was once again abundant, with the ski area reportedly staying open into May.
For the 1956-57 season, the South Bowl slope was opened and the beginner Mixing Bowl chain double chairlift was installed. Locally, the positive effects of suddenly having a large ski area were felt. Hourly wages in town reportedly increased by 25 to 50%. Gas stations saw 500% increases in gallons pumped. Property values soared.
The Mount Snow summit circa the late 1950s
Another bottom to top chain lift combination was installed in 1957 and 1958, as the Sap Bucket and South Bowl double chairlift lifts were constructed. Also during this time period, a "test trail," called the Jaws of Death, was cut. Three expert trails officially debuted in the new North Face complex for the 1959-60 season, though a long trek back to the main mountain was required for the next few years due to the lack of a lift. In addition, the famous Long John Trail was also built for the 1959-60 season.
Meanwhile, a new swimming pool debuted for the 1958-59 season, with water heated to 96 degrees during the winter.
Now billing itself as the World's Largest, Most Exciting Ski Resort, Mount Snow debuted its new Sun Dance base area for the 1960-61 season with a new double chairlift and lodge. After years of complaints about noise and dripping oil from the chain chairlifts, the Sun Dance and Beaver double chairlifts installed this year were of traditional design, built by Carlevaro & Savio.
The new Sun Dance base area (1960s)
Meanwhile, a private ski club named Carinthia opened south of the Sun Dance area during the 1960-61 season. Developed by Walter Stugger, Carinthia would remain a surface lift only area for near the first two decades of its existence.
Additional Carlevaro & Savio double chairlifts were installed at Mount Snow for 1961 and 1963, the latter of which finally provided lift service to the expert North Face area.
Considering his 10 year plan complete after only 8 years, Walt Schoenknecht pitched a new 20 year plan following the 1962-63 season. By the mid-1970s, he planned to have 21 double chairlifts, 6 gondolas, 4 tramways, and 6 trail complexes, with the capacity to handle 40,000 skiers per day. The overall estimated price tag for the development was $75-$85 million. As part of the conversation, he (jokingly or not) suggested using an atomic bomb to lower the base elevation of part of the mountain, in order to increase the vertical drop.
The Mount Snow summit circa the 1960s
Struggling with back problems, Schoenknecht loathed taking his skis off. As such, he devised a skis-on gondola for Mount Snow. His $900,000 G1 'Telecabine' two person gondola (also known as a bubble chairlift) debuted in March 1965. Also that spring, the Air Car opened, a short Carlevaro & Savio tramway connecting the Snow Lake Lodge to the ski area. In addition, 1964-65 saw the debut of the massive geyser in Snow Lake, which frozen into Fountain Mountain in the colder months. In subsequent seasons, last season skiing was featured on the man made feature.
A new 'luxury' ski area popped up down the road from Mount Snow in 1964-65. Complete with a wine and cheese shop, Haystack Mountain opened with ambitious long term plans. Though the upper mountain at Haystack opened the following season, much of the planned luxury remained on the drawing board.
The Mount Snow base area circa the 1960s
A fourth floor was added to the Mount Snow base lodge in 1967, while an exotic outdoor heated pool was constructed at Snow Lake Lodge.
Starting around 1968, work began on yet another trail complex, later known as Sunbrook.
Fountain Mountain circa the late 1960s
Early on Sunday morning, January 19, 1969, the Mount Snow summit lodge burned to the ground.
Mount Snow's second Telecabine gondola, the G2, was installed for the 1969-70 season, further increasing uphill capacity. In addition, the new Sunbrook complex made its debut later that season.
Mount Snow started to run into financial problems as a result of the capital expenditures and increased energy costs. In the middle of the 1970-71 season, a merger with Davos, Inc. was announced. Walt Schoenknecht stayed on board for a few years, but returned solely to Mohawk likely following the 1973-74 season.
Snow Lake and the Air Car circa the late 1960s or early 1970s
Energy issues and multiple bad winters forced Mount Snow into bankruptcy in 1975. First Wisconsin Mortgage Trust and North American Mortgage Investors ended up taking control of the ski area and worked to find a buyer. Mount Snow was eventually purchased by the Sherburne Corp. in 1977 for $4.5 million. The ski area was later rolled into S-K-I Ltd. (1984), American Ski Company (1996), and Peak Resorts (2007).
Shortly after acquiring the area, Sherburne invested in Mount Snow's first triple chairlift. The 7,370 foot long Yan was ironically advertised as providing "quick and easy" access to the summit, despite a long ride time. Expensive features deemed unnecessary to the ski operation were removed, such as the Air Car, Fountain Mountain, and the Japanese pools.
Expansion by Acquisition
The adjacent Carinthia ski area was absorbed into Mount Snow in 1986. Nearby Haystack Mountain ski area was added (though never connected) shortly thereafter and would remain aligned with Mount Snow until being sold in 2005.
The Yankee Clipper circa the early 1990s
Not wanting to be left behind the growth curve of its northern competitors, Mount Snow's first high speed quad chairlift was installed for the 1987-88 season. Installed by Yan, the Yankee Clipper was nicknamed the Yankee Slipper due to considerable technological problems encountered (including having to reportedly run the lift for an hour before opening each day in order to get chair spacing correct).
After years of struggling with the Yankee Clipper, Mount Snow eventually installed new high speed quad chairlifts in 1996 and 1997, while also having Poma rebuild the troubled Yan lift. Meanwhile, the last of Walt's chain chairlifts was removed in 1997.
While the overall footprint of the ski area has remained steady in recent years, critical upgrades have been rolled out for both the snowmaking and lift systems. Once again remaining cutting edge, Mount Snow installed New England's first high speed six pack bubble chairlift in 2011.
The Bluebird Express (2016)
In January 2014, it was announced that Mt. Snow had been approved for taking part in the EB-5 program.
Under the EB-5 program, a foreigner can invest $1 million in an approved United States business (which must then create jobs), in exchange for a green card. With Vermont labeled a Targeted Employment Area, the minimum investment is cut in half to $500,000, making participating rural businesses such as Mount Snow more attractive. Mt. Snow's initial EB-5 plans were to attract over $50 million in capital to fund snowmaking improvements and a new Carinthia base lodge.
While ground was broken on the new West Lake snowmaking reservoir in 2015, the project was delayed due to EB-5 issues. In 2017, the new reservoir went online while the new Carinthia base lodge opened in 2018.
||Average Percent of Terrain Open
|November||15% (1 report)|
|December||58% (12 reports)|
|January||63% (9 reports)|
|February||80% (10 reports)|
|March||81% (14 reports)|
|April||80% (2 reports)||
-- start conditions table -->
|Recent Conditions Reports|
|Mar. 23, 2019 by skiit|
Packed Powder, Loose Granular
|Mar. 17, 2019 by skiit|
Loose Granular, Frozen Granular
|Mar. 16, 2019 by skiit|
Frozen Granular, Frozen Granular
|Mar. 11, 2019 by skiit|
Wet Powder, Loose Granular
|Mar. 10, 2019 by skiit|
Packed Powder, Packed Powder
|Mount Snow on NewEnglandSkiConditions.com|
|State Permitting Hampers Vermont Projects - Aug. 20, 2018|
|Kelly Pawlak Departing Mount Snow to Become NSAA President - Oct. 11, 2017|
|Mount Snow Snowmaking, Trail, and Lodge Construction Continues - Sep. 26, 2017|
|EB-5 Funded Projects Gearing Up at Mount Snow - Jun. 16, 2017|
|Government Approves Peak Resorts I-526 Petition, Unlocking Escrow Account - Dec. 13, 2016|
|Peak Resorts Quarterly Report Reveals Growing Losses, Debt - Dec. 8, 2016|
|Peak Resorts Annual Report Reveals Dire Financial Situation - Jul. 17, 2016|
|Mount Snow Removes Ski Baba Chairlift - Jun. 7, 2016|
|Mount Snow EB-5 Program Approved - May. 25, 2016|
|John Christie Passes Away - May. 9, 2016|
|Mount Snow NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News Page|
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
|2018-19||$110.00||$1129.00||10.3 days||October 27|
|2017-18||$100.00||$999.00||10.0 days||November 11||April 22|
|2016-17||$95.00||$999.00||10.5 days||November 23||April 16|
|2015-16||$95.00||$1329.00||14.0 days||November 26||April 3|
|2014-15||$90.00||$1329.00||14.8 days||November 21||April 19||500,000|
|2013-14||$85.00||$1279.00||15.0 days||November 15||April 13||468,900|
|2012-13||$83.00||$1249.00||15.0 days||November 22||April 21|
|2011-12||$83.00||$1249.00||15.0 days||December 10||March 25|
|2010-11||$79.00||$1199.00||15.2 days||November 25||April 16||466,200|
|2009-10||$75.00||$1049.00||14.0 days||December 7||April 11||447,100|
||Season Pass Price
|2008-09||$75.00||$1049.00||14.0 days||November 22||April 19||418,313|
|2007-08||$72.00||$949.00||13.2 days||November 10||April 27||408,218|
|2006-07||$72.00||$1458.00||20.3 days||April 15||347,469|
|2005-06||$69.00||$1300.00||18.8 days||November 24||430,000|
|2003-04||$64.00||$1349.00||21.1 days||April 11||490,000|
||Season Pass Price
|1998-99||$52.00||$1229.00||23.6 days||November 7||513,000|
|1997-98||$49.00||$1149.00||23.4 days||November 14||602,000|
|1995-96||October 31||May 1||510,533|
||Season Pass Price
||Season Pass Price
|1976-77||$12.00||$325.00||27.1 days||November 29||209,000|
||Season Pass Price
|1961-62||December 17||April 25|
||Season Pass Price
|1957-58||December 4||April 23|
1997-2005 skier visit figures include Haystack
|"My wife Margaret and I came down from Canada in 1954. I was the first general manager and ski school director. The next several days were spent exploring the mountain. There were no wide ski trails cut, only narrow ones of short length. We had many men with chain saws and seven bull dosers making trails. Walt described the assembly line manufacturing overhead conveyor system using :I: bar monorail that he wanted me to use for the ski lifts. They were slow but capacity was high. Biggest problem was that they mixed fallen snow on the rail system with rust and oil, and really made a mess of clothing. I made canopies out of aluminum covering the skiers in their chair seats. Problem solved. That problem got us international coverage. We were referred to as Mount Griss. I built the lifts so that they followed ground contour which would make the riders more comfortable as they would be much closer to the surface. There were times the first year of operation that the snow would get so deep that I had to design a snow plow drag, mounted behind the chairs at fairly long intervals so the skis would not dig into the snow while going up the lift. The summer visitors really loved being close to the ground. After running Mt. Snow for several years, we built a year round inn, called On The Rocks Lodge and Harvey Clifford took over my position. We enjoyed many wonderful years in the Mt. Snow area. One son, Chris, still lives in the area. We have many, many fond memories of Mt. Snow. "|
|Orla Larsen, Jan. 21, 2019|
|"Mt Snow was my babysitter in early 70's. I preferred indoor skating and outdoor swimming to skiing at the time. Season passes for local families were $35 for first child, $25 for second and $15 for third, I believe. Plus, Wilmington school kids skied free (with lessons and equipment) on Friday afternoons. Thank you for that, by the way! Throughout high school I worked for Nancy Alfaro with my chums at the Punkin' Patch nursery. Great memories at Mt Snow! I remember Walt. I remember fountain mountain, the fountain under base lodge stairs, mirrored upper deck at pool, best hamburgers EVER, fireworks, cute instructors, and much more. Without Mt Snow life in the area would have been different! Ps, I skied down Slalom Glades only þonce!"|
|Susan Davis, Nov. 13, 2018|
|"Rob, Thank you and your family for many great memories. I grew up skiing at Mount Snow and took my daughters to Mohawk to learn to ski."|
|Dave Patenaude, Aug. 13, 2018|
|"I grew up as Walt Schoenknecht's youngest son. My family is still active in the ski business. My sister Carol Lugar is an owner of Mohawk Mt.Ski Area in Connecticut. My niece, Cassie is an employee of Mohawk and instrumental in the day to day operation of the area. Keep SKIING! all for now.....Rob Schoenknecht...."|
|Rob Schoenknecht, May. 20, 2018|
|"What a great mountain, with its superb cruisers and real steep stuff. I went to Hoosac School and once a winter we had a surprise Snow Day where the whole school would go to Mt Snow. One year we arrived after a huge dump and pretty much had the North Face to ourselves. "|
|Stuart Cole, Jan. 17, 2018|
|"I skied MT Snow the first season they opened and remember having our 1950 Studebaker pulled out of the mud more than once. Remember the outdoor pool fountain mt yellow as it was. The old clunker lifts ruined your clothes before mid mt. with oil dripping and other stuff Walt was a inavator like no other and a pleasure to talk with enjoyed over 50 years skiing there"|
|Edward Galvin, May. 13, 2016|
|"I have worked at Mount Snow for the past 3 years. I love it. I also learned to ski here when I was 3 years old. I have been ripping up Mount Snow ever since. "|
|Madison Scott, Mar. 15, 2015|
|"My family visited Mt. Snow yearly for Christmas break in the 70s. One year we piled up with other kids and got about 14 of us into the Air Car from Snow Lake Lodge."|
|John Kohl, Mar. 1, 2014|
|"My father John (Pat) Patenaude worked as a chef at Snow MT. Inn, Snow Lake Lodge for many years and in 1968 managed the Snow Barn Cafeteria with my mother. We lived in the apartment downstairs. I have wonderful memories of those days. Jame's did you by chance know my dad? Many of the ski bums stayed in the staff quarters at the Snow Barn. I can recall championship ping pong matches in the loft!"|
|Dave Patenaude, Jan. 21, 2014|
|"My first few years as a ski bum (1961) I worked at the Snow Mt Inn (waiter), was a life guard at the pool (outside) and worked ski repairs at the base.Mt Snow was by far the best place to ski bum. We had great times during the weekly standard races.Great music in Wilmington. My last year was working as a waiter at Snow Lake, then with family headed out only to come back in 1990 as a patroler. Great times great mountain, greater people."|
|james (Pepe) gariepy, Dec. 17, 2013|
Mount Snow - official site