New Hampshire
Rhode Island
The Norwich University double chairlift in the 1970s
Norwich University Ski Area
Northfield, Vermont
Status: Lost/Defunct
First Season:1936-37
Last Season:1991-92
Vertical Drop:902 feet
Standing Lifts:
Past Lifts:1 double, surface lifts
Left: The Norwich University double chairlift in the 1970s
Recent News:
Located on the southwestern side of Paine Mountain, the Norwich University ski area served students and regional skiers for over half a century.

Norwich University and Northfield

Norwich University was founded in 1819 as the The American Literary, Scientific, and Military Academy. After multiple relocations (including Middletown, Connecticut, and Norwich, Vermont), the school finally settled in Northfield, Vermont in 1866.

Lift served skiing in Northfield likely dates back to 1936, when the Northfield Ski Club installed an electric rope tow on South Main Street near Norwich University. Three years later, William Lybrand purchased the rope tow for the university.

Lybrand donated additional funds in 1954 to develop additional alpine skiing terrain. In his honor, the ski area was named Lybrand Ski Area.

Big changes took place in 1961, when an expansion took place on land transferred to the university by George Goodrich. A new hut was added that season, and the ski area subsequently renamed Goodrich Ski Area.

A new 1,500 foot long Poma lift was installed from the base of the ski area for the 1962-63 season. A rope tow was then either relocated to above the Poma lift or else to a novice slope nearby.

Major Expansion

The largest expansion took place for the 1970-71 season, when a new Hall double chairlift was installed, providing continuous lift service for the 900 vertical foot ski area. The expanded area was billed as perhaps the largest on-campus ski area in the country, a feature that attracted many new students to the university in subsequent years. Also at this time, the area was opened to the general public.

While it was a decent sized ski area, it failed to gain much large scale use. After half a decade of being open to the public, still less than 5 percent of skiers came from out of state. In addition, its status as a non-snowmaking mountain meant that lean years on the 1970s and 1980s were especially painful. Not wanting to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in a snowmaking system, the university looked into leasing the operation.


The former base area (2015)
The former base area (2015)

Following the 1991-92 season, the university closed the ski area. Circa 1993, the double chairlift was sold to Pats Peak in New Hampshire, where it was eventually installed as the Vortex Double.

In 2010, Norwich alum Larry Costa donated $1.4 million to the school in the memory of classmate Sgt. 1st Class John Shaw to develop the Norwich University SFC John Shaw Outdoor Center. The first phase of the project included a network of multi-use trails in the vicinity of the old ski area for marching, hiking, mountain biking, sledding, snowshoeing, and nordic skiing. A small terrain park may be constructed in a future phase.

Image Gallery
Norwich University Ski Area Aerial Imagery, 1996 vs. 2012
View All Images in Norwich University Ski Area Image Gallery

Click on lift name for information and photos
Standing Lifts

Past Lifts
The bottom terminal circa the 1970s
Chairlift - Double - Fixed

1980-81 Norwich University Ski Area Trail Map
1980-81 Norwich University Ski Area Trail Map
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Year by Year History
Adult Weekend Full Day Lift Ticket; Adult Full Price Unlimited Season Pass
1980s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1985-86$11.001985-86 Ticket Price Graph1985-86 Season Pass Price Graph1985-86 Skier Visit Graph
1980-81$11.001980-81 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$9.001978-79 Ticket Price Graph1978-79 Season Pass Price Graph1978-79 Skier Visit Graph
1976-77$8.001976-77 Ticket Price Graph$80.001976-77 Season Pass Price Graph10.0 days1976-77 Skier Visit Graph
1975-76$7.001975-76 Ticket Price Graph1975-76 Season Pass Price Graph1975-76 Skier Visit Graph
1974-75$7.001974-75 Ticket Price Graph1974-75 Season Pass Price Graph1974-75 Skier Visit Graph
1973-74$7.001973-74 Ticket Price Graph1973-74 Season Pass Price Graph1973-74 Skier Visit Graph

Visitor Memories
"I Skied Cross country for Harwood Union High School in the 1970’s and Norwich ski area was the home hill for Northfield High School. Skied there many times as the cross country course was on the top of the mountain. Lots of memories there, I remember racing there once and it was so cold we couldn’t keep our hands warm."
Brian Woodard, Mar. 23, 2024
"I grew up in Montpelier and was a member of the high school ski team. I recall having ski meets at the Norwich Ski area. We also used the ski jump for that part of the competition. If I remember correctly there were 2 jumps, the larger might have been a 40 or 45 meter. I skied at the area many times from around 1971 to mid 1980's. In college I worked for Vermont North Ski shop. They had a small store right at the base of NU Ski Area as well as 2 in Mad River Valley. I worked in the NU outlet just a few times. It was located very close to the lift (not sure now exactly where). Might have been part of the base lodge. Great memories of many afternoons on that hill."
Mike Bizzozero, Feb. 15, 2023
" My dad Robert, "Rainbow" Wright, Glen Ridge NJ originally, the St Lawrence University, a year in the 10th MT DIV Italy WWII, then back at Saint Lawrence class 1948, is the guy that set this project up for Norwich back after he had a "stroke" in late 1952 while working at Paul's Smiths College as the English instructor. He had to take a year off to recover, then '53-'54, coaching skiing at Norwich and getting this Norwich ski area going was one of his list of ski area projects back then. "
Gavin Wright, Jul. 28, 2022
"I ski-raced and jumped here a couple of times in the 1960s as a member of the MÄ°T ski team. It was always a bittersweet memory, because in the downhill race I had the fastest time through the woods, but lost control in the open area near the end and crashed. That memory has wiped out any recollection of how I did in the slalom or on the jump. I do remember it was the one of the few competition ski jumps we went to that had a ski lift. "
Rik Anderson, Oct. 26, 2021
"first place my 3 yo daughter skied in 1991. Excellent trails and facility, nothing but a plain shame this facility was abandoned. Short sighted nickel and diming gave up an irreplaceable invaluable community resource."
tom scribner, Feb. 28, 2021
"I jumped there for New England College in the early 1970s. You could ride the poma lift up to take a jump. "
Rick Hale, Feb. 11, 2021
"It's too bad this was given up on. Went mountain biking here 2 years ago, the trail system is nice. This place would be great for students and locals in the area.Not sure where they would get a water supply for snowmaking? I'm sure with the right people on charge this could be very possible. "
Stephen Bellows, Nov. 29, 2020
"Lets try to reopen the ski area. Get the engineering dept to design a railroad type lift to the top of Paine mountain. Add solar lights and wind driven snow making. Make it student run. Have it open thursday - Sunday nights to encourage healthy life style and give the students a major reason to stay on campus on weekends. Make it free skiing and snowboarding to every children under 14 years old. Many of the Alumni attended Norwich because of the ski area. It could be a new large influx of cash from the Alumni who currently don't give to the Alumni fund. "
Paul Allison, Dec. 17, 2019
"After growing up with the ski area almost in my back yard, I went to Norwich for my undergraduate degree and was fortunate enough to be the Ski Patrol Leader there for 5 seasons during the "hay days" 1972-1977. I will always remember it as a very special time in a special place and frequently recount any number of stories and great times shared by all. Shout out to all my former ski patrol friends!"
Frederick Knudsen, Mar. 7, 2019
"I believe the area included (or at least was adjacent to) a jump that was used for intercollegiate competition, as I recall jumping there in 1966 or 1967."
George Tuthill, Apr. 6, 2015
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External Links
  • Norwich University Ski Area - New England Lost Ski Areas Project
  • Norwich University - official site
  • Last updated: November 6, 2016

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