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Non-profit ski areas, have you skied at one?

marzNC

Angel Diva
#1
One category of ski area that intrigues me are the American non-profits. Bridger Bowl in MT is probably the largest. There aren’t many, but more than you might expect. Cochran’s Ski Area in VT is perhaps the most well known. Recently there was an article in High Country News about a few non-profits out west that included what’s been happening at Ashland. I have good friends who are actively supporting Mt. Ashland in southern OR. The other place in the article is Antelope Ski Area in WY.

Have you skied at a non-profit? If so, did the vibe feel different than a for-profit ski area of comparable size? If you lived near a non-profit, would you support it by skiing there for a day or two, or making a small donation to a capital campaign?
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#2
In the Skiing Magazine article in a recent thread about skiing back east after moving out west, one of the places described is Whaleback. Sounds like a tiny ski area just off I-89 that people driving from Boston pass as they head to Killington. The Olympic mogul skier who owned Whaleback form 2004-2013 couldn't make it work as a business. But he's still actively involved trying to help the non-profit Upper Valley Snow Sports Foundation keep the place alive. Hope it works.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#3
Cochran's Ski Area was the first to go the non-profit route. The history of Cochran's started in 1961 and the family are still actively involved. Quite a few of the Cochran clan have competed in the Olympics. Sounds like a great place for a family with young kids to enjoy time on the slopes for relatively little money.

 
#4
My home mountain is a non profit. It's run by a board which has a concession in a state park. Of course it's a different vibe. It's very family friendly and non-foo foo in all regards. We support in that my hubby has been on the all volunteer ski patrol (no paid staff, it would bankrupt the mountain to pay for patrol services) for almost 25 years.

https://www.mtspokane.com/non-profit-organization
 
#5
I have a little non-profit volunteer-run hill in my town. They pay a few high school kids to run the t-bar and a couple of instructors and the rest is volunteer. It's great for families to be able to go without it costing an arm and a leg, and I like to go for night skiing (which they have 4 nights/week).
The vibe is awesome, very local and laid back.
The main thing I notice is that you have to keep an eye on their Facebook page because if they don't have enough volunteers for a day or evening they won't open.

https://wapitiskiclub.com/
 
#7
I think this is a really cool thing. I wish I knew of one in my region so I could go support it once in a while. I loved the video for Cochran's ski area; it made me want to ski there.
 

Jenny

Angel Diva
#8
Searchmont is non-profit. I love it up there, but I'm always happy to see that they manage to open another year, because it seems so very shaky each year whether they'll be able to or not. Last year they never had their quad lift running, because it needed repair and I wouldn't be surprised if it's because they couldn't afford it, but I don't know that for sure.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#9
Searchmont is non-profit. I love it up there, but I'm always happy to see that they manage to open another year, because it seems so very shaky each year whether they'll be able to or not. Last year they never had their quad lift running, because it needed repair and I wouldn't be surprised if it's because they couldn't afford it, but I don't know that for sure.
Do many Americans cross the border regularly to ski at Searchmont in Ontario? Seems like a place with a sense of humor. Here's the description from the Searchmont trail map and stats webpage:

Vertical: 750 feet / 228 metres
That’s about a 7 minute lift ride. High enough to get in a good run, not so high that you get a nosebleed.

Slopes: 18 trails – 8 of which are a KM or longer
Enough variety to keep you busy, not so much that you lose your kids. By the way, 1km equals 0.621371 miles (your legs will burn if you make at least a hundred turns without stopping).

Carvable Area: 100 amazing acres of natural, rolling terrain
It’s why we’re considered the best in the MidWest. We have un-carvable terrain as well….

Terrain Park: Multiple Areas / Table Tops / Grind Rails / Ramps / Barrels
Dedicated snow for busting out, cruising, & catching air.

Terrain Difficulty: 20% Advanced; 60% Intermediate; 20% Beginner
Bush trail & glades for the adventurous.

Snowfall: 132″ (336 cm) annual average of real snow over the last 10 years
127″ (323 cm) annual average of real snow over the last 36 years for those of you that collect statistics. 90% terrain coverage with snow-making. In other words, we usually have earlier & more real snow to carve up than most other places in the province.
 

Jenny

Angel Diva
#10
Whenever we've been up there there's always been quite a few other Michiganders. I think we've always run into other people from GR. Also volklgirl and her squad. Lots of locals too,of course, but also Canadians from further away than that, too.

For all their talk of snowmaking, however, they' ex had problems with coverage the last couple of years, too, I think. At any rate, enough so that between the shut down quad and the snow report, we haven't driven the extra couple of hours to get there. I miss it. We have some friends who haven't ever been there so we're really hoping this year looks good.

After posting the above, I went looking for news on whether they're opening. Their FB page mentions repairs to their poma, double, and triple chairs. Someone asked about the quad, too, but they replied the focus was on the others first. They're also filling in some ditches - need to figure out where those are, so we know if they're affecting the hills at all. If I'm lucky they'll smooth out the big ledge that launched me into the air for the biggest fall I've ever had. Many, many wonderfully colored bruises on a variety of body parts. I hate getting air.
 
#11
The amount of effort that has to go into fundraising for major upgrades or renovations is pretty daunting. Mt. Ashland is in the middle of a campaign to raise $650,000.

Although it's not a non-profit (I think), discovered that Hickory Ski near Gore has an Alpine Club that is selling memberships with the goal of supporting the ski area while providing members with lodging in either cabins or a shared ski lodge. No idea what the membership fees are though.
 
#12
There are a couple of non-profit, community/volunteer-staffed and funded small ski areas in my immediate region. One has a t-bar, the other has 2 rope tows (!).

I’m not certain of the profit status of a larger ski area (1200 vertical) slightly farther away - but it was in serious danger of closing, season before last, when town funding of it was rejected by voters. I believe it now runs largely on donations and ticket sales - enough to keep it open, likely no profit at all.

All 3 are weekend-only, or Fri-Sun during season, plus vacation weeks. All offer night skiing. I have skied all 3 – but admit to no longer being up to rope tow transport. The last mentioned is a lovely skiing experience, only 20 miles from my home, only 20 miles east of Sunday River - so it’s a great, busy-holiday-day alternative. We enjoy night skiing, part of our long history, so we try to get to at least one of these places a couple of evenings a year, such as when our passes are blacked out at the bigger resorts (14 days per season).

These so-called “feeder hills” remain a critically important component of getting people into this sport - and retaining them, especially given the cost of large-resort season passes in the east.
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
#13
Yes - feeders and breeders. We breed skiers and snowboarders at Batawa Ski Hill and send them on the big stuff. Batawa was taken over by a not for profit organization that is run by Sonja Bata (remember Bata Shoe?). Her husband started the ski hill in 1954....Instead of being run like a club, it's being run like a business. Some people aren't happy, but it would have been gone if she hadn't stepped in. Snow making and other improvements are helping with a 180' bump. And the chalet is being used year round as there is a phone number to call that gets answered. So they are making money all year round.
 

Mary Tee

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#14
I found this thread really interesting, and found one article that stated there were more than 50 NFP areas in the US and another that said there were only about 30. I googled not for profit ski areas and added what I found to what had been mentioned in this thread and this is what I came up with. Can anyone add to the list or make corrections if I have locations wrong or included something that is not NFP? Wouldn't it be great if we each donated something to one, and skied at least one, if at all feasible, due to distance it may not be. I skied Ascutney when I was in college (a million years ago) and have some very fond memories and would love to go back this winter if it is open again. Oops, it just occurred to me that I left off the Canadian ones, so if the Canadian Divas would add them???

Bogus Basin Boise, Idaho
Soldier Mountain Fairfield, Idaho
Look Out Pass Mullan, Idaho
Squaw Mountain Greenville Maine
Mount Holiday Traverse City Michigan
Bridger Bowl Bozeman Montana
Turner Mountain Libby Montana
Whaleback Enfield New Hampshire
Mt. Eustis Littleton New Hampshire
Pajarito Los Alamos New Mexico
Beartown Beekmantown New York
Mt. Ashland Ashland Oregon
Tussey Mountain Boalsburg Pennsylvania
Ascutney Moutain Brownsville Vermont
Cochran Ski Area Richmond Vermont
Loup Loup Okanogan Washington
Mt. Spokae Spokane Washington
Sleeping Giant Cody Wyoming
Antelope Butte Sheridan Wyoming
 
#15
Very nice to have a list, especially for those of us who like to have fun looking around the Internet for details. Thanks, @Mary Tee . Here's the list arranged more or less geographically.

Squaw Mountain, Greenville Maine
Whaleback, Enfield New Hampshire
Mt. Eustis, Littleton New Hampshire
Beartown, Beekmantown New York
Tussey Mountain, Boalsburg Pennsylvania
Ascutney Mountain, Brownsville Vermont
Cochran Ski Area, Richmond Vermont

Mount Holiday, Traverse City Michigan

Pajarito, Los Alamos New Mexico

Bogus Basin, Boise, Idaho
Soldier Mountain, Fairfield, Idaho
Look Out Pass, Mullan, Idaho
Bridger Bowl, Bozeman Montana
Turner Mountain, Libby Montana
Sleeping Giant, Cody Wyoming
Antelope Butte, Sheridan Wyoming

Mt. Ashland, Ashland Oregon
Loup Loup, Okanogan Washington
Mt. Spokane, Spokane Washington
 
#16
Some small ski areas in the U.S. are run as a for-profit (hopefully making a profit) business but are also associated with a charitable foundation. The Stark Mountain Foundation takes donations to support Mad River Glen in VT. Fixing up and preserving the MRG single chair is one of the projects made possible by the foundation. My understanding is that replacing the single chair with a double-chair would've been less costly.
 

Mary Tee

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#18
mmm, not sure about Lookout Pass, that's the first I heard it was a non profit...but I could be wrong.
I wasn't sure about that either...it came up when I googled NFP, but I didn't think so either
 
#19
The list provided above isn't quite complete.
Quoting myself here:
I’m not certain of the profit status of a larger ski area (1200 vertical) slightly farther away - but it was in serious danger of closing, season before last, when town funding of it was rejected by voters. I believe it now runs largely on donations and ticket sales - enough to keep it open, likely no profit at all.
"Black Mountain Ski Resort is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization and as such all donations are tax deductible."
https://www.facebook.com/skiblackmountain/notes
Really nice place.
 
#20
mmm, not sure about Lookout Pass, that's the first I heard it was a non profit...but I could be wrong.
I wasn't sure about that either...it came up when I googled NFP, but I didn't think so either
The Wiki page makes it clearer . . . Lookout Pass was non-profit but was sold in 1992 and isn't any more. Sounds fun. Not many ski areas that are in two states, especially smaller ones.

The community ski hill, run by the nonprofit Idaho Ski Club, was sold in 1992 to Lookout Recreation, Inc., a company formed by two 27-year-old former college roommates, Don Walde of Wallace and Jim Fowler.[10] After seven years, it was sold in 1999 to Lookout Associates, headed by Phil Edholm, and plans for expansion soon followed.[11][12] A new portion of the ski area opened on December 26, 2003, on the Montana side of the border (which is irregular in this area, following mountains, and is actually due south, see topo map).[13] The new Timber Wolf double chair and five new runs increased the vertical drop (by lowering the base to 4500 ft), and the longest new run 1.2 miles (1.9 km) in length. Two of the new runs are rated advanced and three are rated intermediate, with views of the St. Regisand Copper Basins. Additional expansion in 2006 with a chairlift on the Idaho "North Side" opened additional intermediate and expert terrain.
 

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