Halloween is almost here. And though it may seem like nothing could be farther from skiing, that’s not necessarily the case. There are some pretty heart-stopping, knee-knocking lifts out there (see my post about Eleven of the World’s Scariest Ski Lifts). And a lot of skiing can scare the crap out of you. But believe it or not, there’s a fair amount of stuff in ski country that can give you goosebumps, too. Abandoned ski areas, haunted ski hotels — you don’t have to go far to find things that go bump in the night.
So if you’re ready to be creeped out — if you’re really, really brave — read on ahead. You’ll find a few of the many places that can get your teeth chattering, even if you’re by a warm fire.
Mount Washington Hotel, Bretton Woods, NH: This grand hotel, which anchors the Bretton Woods ski area, is thought to be haunted by Carolyn Stickney, the wife of the man who built it in the early 1900’s. She reportedly writes on the walls and turns lights on and off at random times. Guests and even ghost hunters have spotted a woman matching her description in her former private room, #314, as well as descending the stairs at dinnertime and standing on the balcony.
The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, CO: A lot of us know this as the hotel that inspired the movie classic, The Shining. Only about an hour from Eldora Mountain Resort, the hotel is reportedly haunted by founders F.O. and Flora Stanley, as well as the property’s former head housekeeper, Elizabeth Wilson. After being injured in a 1911 explosion, Wilson now apparently checks in on guests in room 217. There’s also the run of the mill haunted hotel happenings: flickering lights, items moving or disappearing, the sounds of footsteps in empty halls. Rumors that the hotel was haunted even prompted a visit from the show Ghost Hunters, where they explored paranormal instances where people were seen hiding in hallways and ghostly children were heard playing.
Breckenridge, CO: Today Breckenridge is a busy, vibrant ski town, but some of the spirits from its mining past are still hanging around. For example, there’s the Brown Hotel, reportedly haunted by Miss Whitney, a woman shot in one of the rooms upstairs. And the Briggle House, supposedly haunted by Katie Briggle, wife of the one-time mayor of Breckenridge. A number of companies offer ghost tours to some of the town’s more haunted spots.
Aspen, CO: Plenty of ghosts here, too; enough to merit a ghost tour by Aspen Walking Tours. For example, the Hotel Jerome is supposedly haunted by a young boy who drowned in the hotel swimming pool in the 1950’s, as well as a maid who’ll rip the sheets off the bed and rearrange things in the rooms. There’s also the Hotel Colorado, in Glenwood Springs, where a female ghost has allegedly roamed the halls since the US Navy used it as a convalescent hospital from 1945 to 1946.
Stowe, Vermont: This idyllic Vermont town is know for two things: its New England charm and the incredible Stowe Mountain Resort. But there’s a dark side, too. The Green Mountain Inn is reputed to be haunted by Boots Berry, who was born in room 302. Berry died after falling off the roof and can be heard tap dancing up there when there’s a winter storm. At the Brass Lantern Inn, word has it that one of the rooms is occupied, even when no one is spending the night. A number of visitors, as well as the Inn’s staff, have heard the voices of enthusiastic spirits talking about a dance they attended. Then there’s Emily’s Bridge, a haunted covered bridge named for a young woman who hung herself from its rafters years ago, and who can’t seem to go away.
Herbert Grand Hotel, Kingfield, Maine: At this 1918 hotel near Sugarloaf, a little girl is known to sit on the beds of guest rooms, and a man walks his ghost dog down the halls of the hotel. Room 318 is also known to get visits from the other side, along with the dining room.
The Equinox Hotel, Manchester, Vermont: Mary Todd Lincoln (yes, Abe’s wife) and her children used to stay here, and it’s rumored that’s she’s still around. Guests have claimed that items in their rooms have moved when they left, and that they’ve been woken in the middle of the night by lights inexplicably coming on. The Equinox is located near Stratton Resort,
The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Banff, Alberta, Canada: This landmark hotel has claimed several ghosts over the years, including a vanishing bellman from the 1960’s and a bride who tripped on the train of her gown and fell down the stairs.
Abandoned Ski Areas: There are hundreds of abandoned ski areas thro9ughout the US. I don’t know if any are considered haunted, but I’ve walked around a few, and yes, they can feel pretty spooky — you can almost feel the spirits of skiers shushing down the slopes. I found the following video on an abandoned area pretty entertaining. You might, too.