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Suicide Six Ski Area to Change Its Name

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
Suicide Six is a small -- but historic -- ski area here in Vermont. It started in 1936 and featured the first rope tow in the United States. When I was a kid, I thought it must be a really gnarly mountain, simply because of its name.

The resort recently announced that it'll be rebranding later this summer following concerns about the insensitive nature of the word 'suicide.'

I can't say that's a bad idea. Suicide is a real mental health issue, and I'm sure the name is hurtful to a lot of people.
 

SarahXC

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
From a news release I saw: “Suicide Six first opened to the public in 1935 with its first rope tow on Hill No. 6. Installed by Wallace “Bunny” Bertram, a former Dartmouth College ski instructor, he often joked that skiing down the steep pitch of Hill No. 6 would be suicide, and in jest, the name stuck.”
 

ilovepugs

Angel Diva
I saw some blowback to this name change on another forum and I don’t get it. Kindness is free and it’s not like they’re trying to paper over some historic atrocity. In general I don’t understand why an attempt to be thoughtful and courteous is so challenging for people to accept.
 

Christy

Angel Diva
I saw some blowback to this name change on another forum and I don’t get it. Kindness is free and it’s not like they’re trying to paper over some historic atrocity. In general I don’t understand why an attempt to be thoughtful and courteous is so challenging for people to accept.

Plus it's a for-profit business that can change their name at any time for any reason if they think it's better for the business. If I can handle having season tickets with a beloved sports franchise at a place called T-Mobile Park, people should be able to handle this.
 

SallyCat

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I've been genuinely surprised at the negative reaction to the change on the part of quite a lot of locals. I mean...it's a really cringy name at best. And a private business perennially struggling to keep its lights on can ill-afford to repel people with its name.

Also, the numerous comments that "the name change is erasing history" have me pretty concerned about what the general public thinks history is and does. I mean, if you want to talk about erasure in American history I am HERE FOR IT but a small business changing a patently problematic name is gonna be waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down on the agenda! :smile:
 

Après Skier

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Suicide Six was a confusing name for what is essentially a beginner friendly hill. I wonder how many families avoided the ski area due to its name. What mother would send their child to “Suicide Sailing Academy” for sailing lessons?

There would certainly be value in linking the ski area’s identity to its beginner friendly terrain and classic New England charm.
 

SallyCat

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Suicide Six was a confusing name for what is essentially a beginner friendly hill. I wonder how many families avoided the ski area due to its name. What mother would send their child to “Suicide Sailing Academy” for sailing lessons?
A friend just told me a story about working at Woodstock (VT) elementary school years ago, when the kids had early dismissal on Friday to go skiing at Suicide Six. Apparently one afternoon the office assistant got on the intercom and said "THE SUICIDE BUS LEAVES IN FIVE MINUTES!"
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
So they've announced a new name: Saskadena Six. Here's what they're saying about it:

WHY "SASKADENA"

In the Abenaki language, “saskadena” (sahs-kah-deena) means “standing mountain.” It was chosen by the resort team to honor the original inhabitants of the land and the mountain’s multi-generational legacy and values of community, inclusion, adventure, discovery, and fun. The name sends a powerful message of connection both to the deeper history of the mountain with the Abenaki nation and to the present-day community at large.

The "Six" of our name comes from the very beginning in 1936 when Wallace "Bunny" Bertram picked the hill labeled "number 6" on a local map that highlighted potential mountains that could be the location for his rope tow-served ski area.
 

SallyCat

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
It stands out as surprising that the name was "chosen by the resort team." Vermont has a Native American commission and a small Abenaki population. Seems a bit tone-deaf not to include Native American voices in the process. (Maybe they did, and the piece just didn't mention it?)
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
It stands out as surprising that the name was "chosen by the resort team." Vermont has a Native American commission and a small Abenaki population. Seems a bit tone-deaf not to include Native American voices in the process. (Maybe they did, and the piece just didn't mention it?)

Here ya go. I just left this out with my cut and paste:

“As a place-based people, the Nulhegan Abenaki tribe appreciates the opportunity to work with the Woodstock resort team to rename this place and recognize its historic context as part of the land. This ‘standing mountain’ has been used by thousands of Abenaki ancestors for over 11,000 years and hopefully many more in the future. By acknowledging the original language of this place, the name Saskadena Six will honor the ancient legacy of the Abenaki alongside that of the generations who have loved it over the past 90 years and into the future.”

“This is more than renaming this place, this is recognizing the original stewardship of this land and providing cultural education to those who visit this standing mountain. I truly value the partnership that connects our past, present, and future stewardship in protecting this special place.”

- Chief Don Stevens, Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk-Abenaki Nation
 

echo_NY

Angel Diva
that is just a great story, thanks for sharing.
now for the pronunciation, thanks for adding the tidbit but i'm still confused. at first guess I would say "sahs-kah-DEE-nah" but if anyone knows where the emphasis goes, can they post it here?

other possibilities:
- "sahs-kah-dee-NAH"
- "SAHS-kah-dee-nah"
- "sahs-KAH-dee-nah"
 

Après Skier

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
that is just a great story, thanks for sharing.
now for the pronunciation, thanks for adding the tidbit but i'm still confused. at first guess I would say "sahs-kah-DEE-nah" but if anyone knows where the emphasis goes, can they post it here?

other possibilities:
- "sahs-kah-dee-NAH"
- "SAHS-kah-dee-nah"
- "sahs-KAH-dee-nah"
I was confused as well. S6 included an audio clip on their website.
 

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