Brodie
New Ashford, MA
1940s-2002

History ~ LayoutBy The Year ~ Historical Images ~ Memories ~ Recent Photos

Thanks to Jeremy Clark who helped write up some of this page on Brodie.

History

The Base Lodge in the 1960sBrodie, located on US 7, was one of the leading ski areas in all of New England for many years. Owned by the Kelly family, the ski area boasted world renowed snowmaking and night skiing for much of its early history. Beyond its early snowmaking and night skiing accomplishments, Brodie was particularly well known for its heavy Irish themes - including coloring its snow green each St. Patricks Day.

Beyond alpine skiing, Brodie offered muliple kilometers of cross country ski trails. In the late 1990s, snow tubing was also added. In the off season, Brodie had a popular campground.

At some point in the 1940s, Brodie was a rope tow only operation. It is unclear when this closed.

Jim Kelly started the more well-known Brodie ski area in 1964-65. The initial start up consisted of of an 850' vertical Stadeli double chair (Gramp's Chair) and a small Stadeli T-Bar. A Poma T-Bar was added in 1967, connecting Gramp's Chair to the summit.

A top to bottom Borvig double chair (Dot's Lift) was added in 1968, crossing over a pond shortly after the base terminal. Another Borvig double chair, Matt's Chair, was installed in 1970, serving the novice Harp's Hump area. Andy's Lift, a Stadeli double chair, was added in 1977. This would be the last chairlift installed at Brodie.

The Base Lodge in the 1960s As the capital investment at Brodie started to taper off, nearby Jiminy Peak was quickly picking up steam - adding a summit triple chairlift in the early 80s. By the time the mid 1990s rolled around, Brodie was quickly becoming left behind in the region - Berkshire East, Butternut, and Jiminy all had triple and/or quad chairlifts, which Brodie only had a fleet of older, cramped double chairlifts. While other areas were adding new trails, Brodie simply renamed some of their trails in order to boost their count from 33 to 40.

Brian Fairbanks, General Manager and part owner of Jiminy Peak, would often somewhat-jokingly offer to buy Brodie from owner Jim Kelly. In 1999, Kelly stunned Fairbank by taking him up on his offer. By the time the 1999-2000 season started, Brodie was the sister ski area of Jiminy Peak.

There was a lot of work to be done. The new owners quickly started to put together expansion and improvement plans, focusing initially on snowmaking. A few SMI fan guns were purchased and a new upper mountain snowmaking pond was constructed. Despite this, the owners were unable to attract the amount of skiers necessary to justify the operation. Faced with sizable maintenance needed on the aging facilities, they tried one last effort to keep the mountain going - by announcing the installation of a new high-speed detachable chairlift if 3,000 season passes were sold.

Sales numbers were not met and the ownership decided to close up shop in 2002. Skiers were encouraged to go to Jiminy Peak.

On June 12, 2002 the following press release was issued (thanks to Bruce Delany for sending it in).

"Brodie Mountain to Suspend Ski and Snowboard Operations Hancock, MA (Wednesday, June 12, 2002) - Brian H. Fairbank, President, CEO and owner, announced today that Brodie Mountain will not operate as a ski area for the coming winter season. Instead, the snowtubing operation at the resort will be expanded and additional winter activities, including snowshoeing, will be added. The lodging operations at Brodie will continueon a year-round basis, as before.

"Arriving at this point has been a difficult and complex process," Fairbank commented. "However, with hopes for a development partner failing to materialize in May, early season ticket sales at Brodie falling 50% from last year at this time, and the state grant for a new road continuing in limbo it has become obvious that closing the ski portion of the Brodie Mountain operations is the wise and prudent decision to make."

During the past three winters, Brodie's facilities have required extensive repairs and maintenance, which have created tremendous unforeseen expenses each year. Compliance issues with local and state agencies, which arose as a result of the change in ownership, proved very costly as well.

Fairbank continued, "When my partner and I purchased Brodie Mountain in December 1999, we created it as an independent corporation that had to survive on its own financially. We plan to do everything possible to have this resort property be an asset to Berkshire County tourism for the long haul and are going to continue in our effort to see that through."

The resort plans to expand the snow tubing operation at the resort for this coming winter to include Matt's Chairlift, which will be used for two new, longer snowtubing runs along with the existing handle tow. James Vandyke will continue as the Vice-President/COO of Brodie Mountain. He and his management team will continue to manage the day-to-day operations as well as the maintenance of the facility, which includes routine upkeep and repairs to the ski lifts, snowmaking and grooming equipment so that Brodie will be able operate as a ski resort again in the future. Vandyke will also take the lead in the continued planning and permitting process.

All Brodie Mountain season passholders and employees are being contacted by mail with details about the decision."

Later on in 2002, this was posted on Skibrodie.com:

Why Brodie Mountain is suspending ski operations and expanding tubing for 2002/2003:

In our continuing evaluation of short- and long-term strategies at Brodie Mountain, we have had to do an analysis of what role Brodie Mountain should play this coming winter and for the future. While Brodie will always have a place in the resort community of Northern Berkshire County, its viability as a ski area can not currently be sustained given the competitive nature of the ski industry, the challenges of the weather (especially in recent years) and the lack of capital investment in the resort for many years.  Brodie has an opportunity to provide an amenity not currently available in our region, especially given its prime location on a major thoroughfare, Route 7. We see Brodie Mountain's role focusing on providing non-ski winter recreation for the time being. To that end, we plan to expand the snow tubing operation at the resort for this coming winter to include Matt's Chairlift, which will be used for two new, longer snowtubing runs along with the existing handle tow. We are also adding snow shoeing and are considering other winter activities. The lodging operations at Brodie Mountain will continue on a year-round basis. We will continue to evaluate different options for services at Brodie Mountain as we look at changing recreation trends and demands.

We fully intend to pursue development at Brodie Mountain in the future. Even with tremendous support from the Town of New Ashford and the State, the permitting process has taken longer than expected. The Brodie revitalization plan cannot get underway until at least the summer of 2003. The needed state grant for the construction of a public road through the resort has been delayed for numerous reasons and the timing for approval of various permits just will not make it for this year's construction season. The hoped-for development partner this past spring did not materialize.  James Vandyke will continue as the Vice-President/COO of Brodie Mountain. He and his management team will continue to manage the day-to-day operations as well as the maintenance of the facility, which includes routine upkeep and repairs to the ski lifts, snowmaking and grooming equipment so that Brodie will be able operate as a ski resort again in the future. Vandyke will also take the lead in the continued planning and permitting process.

During the past three winters, Brodie's facilities have required extensive repairs and maintenance, which have created tremendous unforeseen expenses each year. Compliance issues with local and state agencies, which arose as a result of the change in ownership, proved very costly as well. Brodie Mountain season ticket sales this spring have been considerably less than we anticipated. The most fiscally responsible decision that could be made was to put the ski operations at Brodie in hiatus for the coming season. This reduces the risk of continued negative cash flows and preserves the potential for development in Brodie's future. When Brodie was purchased in
November 1999, it was created as a stand-alone corporation that had to function as an independent entity responsible for itself fiscally; it is not a subsidiary of Jiminy Peak.

Thank you for your support of Brodie Mountain these past few years. We are looking forward to a future where Brodie can continue to grow and provide year-round entertainment for families in the Berkshires while remaining viable as a company. We hope that you are able to join us to snowtube or snowshoe this winter at Brodie Mountain and ski or snowboard at Jiminy Peak.

The tubing operation continued at Brodie while a new ownership group was brought in. A magic carpet lift was added for tubing.

March 25, 2007 was the last day of tubing. Jiminy Peak is no longer connected to the tubing operation, which was dismantled in 2007. Gramp's Chair has been dismantled. The Brodie sign on Route 7 now reads "Snowy Owl." It is unknown if there will ever again be lift-served skiing at Brodie. According to Glenn Maloney, Andy's chair may remain, in case the new owners wish to offer skiing.

Today, many skiers who enjoyed Brodie still wish they were open - and perhaps someday Snowy Owl can bring the area back, at least in some form. Like with most areas, there is a lot of passion with the closing of this area, but we have tried to show all sides with this article.

For myself (Jeremy Davis), I skied here in January of 01, on a Jiminy/Brodie combo ticket. Despite a lot of natural snow, not much of the mountain was open. The lifts seemed to be running slow. Still, I enjoy the area.

Layout

The main mountain was served by three chairlifts, though only one went to the summit area. A shorter double chairlift as well as a pair of rope tows served novice terrain at the base. The advertised vertical drop was 1,250 feet, making it one of the largest New England ski areas ever to close. The below trail map in 1968 shows the layout of the mountain, with 2 chairs, 2 T-bars, 3 rope tows, and plenty of night skiing - and in fact, was the largest night skiing area at that time!

By The Year

Year Lifts Trails Other Info Source
1964-65 2 6 Jim Kelly's Brodie opens  
1965-66 2   Snowmaking and night skiing added  
1968 4 12 Boasts the world's largest night skiing facility  
1970-71 7   7 miles of trails Eastern Ski Map
1971-72 7   7 miles of trails Eastern Ski Map
1977-78 7   19 miles of trails Eastern Ski Map
1999-2000 6 40 Jiminy Peak owners buy Brodie  
2001-2002 6 40 Last season of ski operations  
2007 Some lifts are now removed. Trails still mowed. Part of the Snowy Owl development.

Historical Images

Brodie's first, and last patches were sent to us by Woodward Bousquet.

Memories

Kristian Omland (2001): Actually, I think I can add another area to your list right away. Williams College (where I went to school) had a ski area at Berlin Mountain, a few miles south of Petersburg Pass. It is probably in the town of Williamstown, but I'm not positive about that. There was a racing trail that was a classic narrow winding trail above and a wide slalom slope below. A tow pulled skiers as high as the top of the slalom hill; there was also a ski jump. I don't know when it opened, but it was abandoned ca. 1970. The tow was moved to Brodie Mountain, where we (i.e., the ski team) still used it as our private training lift in 1991 -- I think now they train exclusively at Jiminy Peak.

Dan Xeller, former instructor: (2003) - My first memories of Brodie Mountain began when I was 10 years old and my parents joined our local ski group (Delmar, NY) that met there. This was back in 1990 and my whole family (mom, dad, sister) joined the likes of co-workers and friends and family at the mountain for skiing lessons. Our group nights were Saturdays for 10 weeks but we would also go on Friday nights if we were good. My first impression of Brodie was the lodge and how cavernous it was. Huge, dark wooden pillars and beams complimented by giant tables of the same material spread around an enormous stone fireplace. This is what ski lodges should be modeled after. This lodge emanated a welcoming feeling and whether coming in from the cold or just relaxing with a book on the huge couch in front of the fire, comfort was it's sole purpose. Our ski lessons were always fun after the embarrassment of having to go down the bunny hill in front of everyone for group placement had passed. I actually learned to ski quite well in the 4 years of lessons. Embarrassment was only limited to the lessons and was completely absent once St. Patrick's Day (or the Irish Olympics) rolled around. This 10 days of madness and mayhem was we waited for every year as kids and eventually, as adults. Cafeteria tray races, green snow, green beer, 3 legged races, leprechauns (more on this later), bagpipes and happiness made our March at the mountain. The one event that we could not miss was the Slush Jump in which you went as fast as you could looking as ridiculous as possible down Harp's Hump and off a huge jump into a pond of freezing water and slush. What did you get for your spoils? A T-shirt that said "I survived St. Patrick's at Brodie Mountain". I am the proud owner of one after a pitiful hop off the jump that I'm still hounded bout to this day.


Dan next to the trail map, 2003.

The year before I entered high school all my ski buddies (with the exception of you, Andy!) bought snowboards and switched to the "dark" side. I saw how much fun they were having so the next season (1994-1995) I got one myself and started lessons with DJ Seagraves and my friends. I was frustrated because I couldn't get the hang of it right off the bat and my father stepped in and during one particularly painful ride down Patty's Promenade, he taught me and I figured it out. The next weekend, DJ had all of us jumping off a school bus that was positioned between Harp's Hump and Irish Stew (see bus photo). We continued our lessons for the rest of the season just having fun riding with DJ and our new Massachusetts friends. The next season we ditched the lessons but still all rode together and did all the crazy things that pubescent teenagers do. What a time to grow up! After those two seasons of snowboarding, my next goal was to become an instructor at the mountain. In the season of 1996, that goal came to fruition.

 
I had an absolute blast as a snowboard instructor. My buddy Andy signed on as a ski instructor and we got free season passes as a result and worked insane hours at the mountain to feed our passion. Teaching others came natural to us and we soon worked our way up the pay ladder. The season of 1997-1998, Andy and I got certified through PSIA and gained some respect through our peers. By this time we had made a ton of friends and called Brodie "home" due to the fact that we spent every free minute there.  At the end of the 99-00 season is when I heard Brodie was being sold to Jiminy Peak and that they would merge. I knew that Jiminy would shut down Brodie operations within the next five years. It was a feeling I had inside. I returned in the 00-01 season to a new boss and new rules. Brodie didn't seem as family oriented as it used to be and it became quite stuffy. The casual atmosphere we once knew seemed to be lingering and turnout was at a low. Brian Fairbank promised us nothing was wrong but when I had to board a bus to go to Jiminy Peak one day to listen about the new management and take an employment test, I knew trouble was brewing. Constant clashes between my new boss and problems with my employees led me to sell my coat and walk away from Brodie. They didn't need 5 years to shut down, as the area closed in 2"
 
"I visited Brodie in December of 2003 with my buddy Andy and my other friend Kane. It would've been our 13th season at Brodie. I had gotten a new 4x4 so we hopped in and climbed up the service road, past the campsite and parked in front of Mt. Greylock. We found a trail in the woods and put on our skiis (Andy) and snowboards (Kane and I) and rode it until we couldn't get through the forest anymore. Piling into the truck and making our way back down, we passed and old trail ( I think it was Firetower Road) and we pulled off and drove up in the snow a couple hundred feet. Same story only this time, two could go at a time because one of us had to drive down to pick everyone up and repeat. The trail spit us out right at the campsite and was a thrill for all. That same day I also noticed the enormous trout (?) that live underneath Dot's lift. There was evidence that people had fished here and I always wondered if there was fish to be caught on the mountain. We took a few photos sitting on Dot's Lift* and sadly, made our way back to Albany after taking a few turns during our 13th season."
 
*Don't walk out on the platform under this lift. It is old and you can hear the boards buckling when weight is applied to them.

(Right-Dot's lift in 2003 on Dan's trip)

 

 

Just some quick thoughts/memories:    I got to meet the mayor of County Wexford, Ireland one year and have a photo taken with him. We was visiting Brodie as a friend of the Kelly's (the owners and also close with the Kennedy's). He and I walked up Harp's Hump for the photo and I was dressed as a Leprechaun. It was exciting because he was mayor of the County that my great grandfather was from.  I also met Montel Williams at Brodie.

 


Dan's nametag.

 
The Blarney room is still the coolest bar/restaurant I have ever been to. We used to go up there and watch all the beginners from NYC go flying down Harp's. You got a great view from the huge windows and one day a few people who had (presumably) never seen skis before went down the mountain and hit the ski racks at the bottom at full speed. Skis flew everywhere and fortunately they were ok.

Special Thanks (please include): John Koch, DJ Seagraves, Fran, Tom Miller, Andy, The Kelly's, Mike Dimmick and of course my parents, who carted me back and forth.

Jennifer Coan-Mahmood (March 2005):

Brodie was a mountain I (and I’m sure many others) was terribly sad to see close. It was purchased a few years back by the owner of Jiminy Peak. However, from what I've heard, trying to get improvements through uncooperative town land use boards and the skyrocketing coast of what would need to be some pretty extensive lift and lodging renovations have eliminated any hope for reviving this gem of a ski area.

Brodie was a well know and loved family ski area in the Berkshires. With their famous long cruising runs, big lodge, St. Patty’s day celebrations and puddle jump, etc. It was really THE place to ski when I was a kid.

Tom Mitchell (September 2005):

Brodie was one of my favorite ski areas. My friends and I went there quite often, since it was a little cheaper and less crowded than Jiminy, Hunter, Windham.
 
It was a fun spot, especially on St. Paddy's Day, when they painted the snow green (with food color I guess). I remember hearing rumblings back then that Jiminy Peak was going to buy out Brodie. We were horrified, because we didn't like the 'attitudes' at Jiminy, and knew their intent was to close down the competion. Shame on them for closing a great location!

Jenn Manley (Early March, 2007): My name is Jenn Manley and I've been skiing since I was 2 years old.  I grew up skiing at Brodie Mountain, which, as you know, has since been purchased by Jiminy Peak and closed down.  Brodie was a great mountain to learn to ski, and I have many fond memories of it...especially the big St. Patrick's Day celebrations they used to have.  Being young and watching tons of people ski down in the torch light parade was always so exciting, and I loved how they dyed the snow green in places to celebrate the holiday.  A couple years before it was shut down, I had started skiing at Jiminy Peak, which is now the mountain I ski at the most, but I was still sad to see the mountain where I grew up close for good.  Brodie is now renamed Snowy Owl, and they have snow tubing on one of the beginners trails.

Glenn Maloney: (Late March, 2007, former mountain manager)

Brodie Mountain is done!!!  The property was sold to SilverLeaf.. a Southern time share developer.  They have plans to build 250+ time share units on the Brodie [Snowy Owl] property.  The spec unit was started 2 years ago and never finished.  The lifts started coming down last summer.. and may all be gone by this summer.  I am not sure if one chair [Andy's chair] will remain.  They have stated they wish to operate skiing and tubing for their guests.  The purchase agreement prohibits public skiing there ever again. [private club is ok].
 
Sounds like the lodge and famous Blarney room will be torn down.  There will be no signs left of the former Kelly's Irish Alps.

Do you have any memories of Brodie? If so, please contact us!

Recent Photos

Gramps Chair (1964 Stadeli)
Gramps Double Chairlift at Brodie
The bottom terminal (2002)
Gramps Double Chairlift at Brodie
The bottom terminal (2002)
Gramps Double Chairlift at Brodie
The bottom terminal (2002)
Gramps Double Chairlift at Brodie
The bottom terminal (2005)
Gramps Double Chairlift at Brodie
A tower (2005)
Gramps Double Chairlift at Brodie
The top terminal (2005)

Summit T-Bar (1967 Poma)
Summit T-Bar at Brodie
A bullwheel (2005)
Summit T-Bar at Brodie
The line (2005)
 

Dot's Lift (1968 Borvig)
Dot's Lift at Brodie
The bottom terminal (2002)
Dot's Lift at Brodie
The bottom terminal (2002)
Dot's Lift at Brodie
The line (2002)
Dot's Lift at Brodie
The upper line (2005)
Dot's Lift at Brodie
The top terminal (2005)
 

Matt's Chair (1970 Borvig)
Matt's Chair at Brodie
The bottom terminal (2002)
   

Andy's Lift (1977 Stadeli)
Andy's Lift at Brodie
The bottom terminal (2002)
Andy's Lift at Brodie
The bottom terminal (2002)
Andy's Lift at Brodie
The bottom terminal (2002)
Andy's Lift at Brodie
The top terminal (2005)
Andy's Lift at Brodie
The line (2005)
 

Campground


Dan Xeller took this photo in 2003.

If you have more information on this area, please let us know.

Last updated: Jan 1, 2008

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