1960's-At least 1983
History By The Year Memories
|Big Rock Candy Mountain was a classic small ski area that served skiers in the Capital District of New York. It operated with a T-bar, Poma, and rope tow lift. The ski area had a base elevation of 440 feet, a summit elevation of 680 feet, for a vertical of 240 feet. The mountain had a steeper upper part, and an easier lower part. The area operated from the 1960's to at least 1983.||
||Here's an aerial shot of the area as it appeared in the late 1990's. A T-bar served the left slope, and a rope tow/poma lift served the slope on the right. Notice that a few trails are visible through the woods. We will be getting current pictures of the area in the near future.|
|And here's the same view just a few years later, in the early 2000's, or very late 1990's likely in April/May. Notice the housing being constructed on the old ski slopes, though some do remain.||
wrote to us and sent us the following two pictures of the area just
before/as the houses were built.
"I had one of the first houses on Big Rock Candy Mountain in Spiegletown - it was to the left of the main slope and to the right of the turn-around on the left hand side of the picture (black and white aerial). I think the color picture was actually taken in the late 90's as there was a house built further up on the slope that is not in the color aerial (about even with mine, but I sat up on a hill). When I first moved in, the T-bar base was still standing, as was the top, there were some T-bar's still attached to the cable, and the motor and everything was still there. All the electrical wires were cut though. "
To the left is a shot of one the T-bars that was still standing at the time of Dave's residence.
|"In the picture to the
right you can see the power pole(s) that were used for night skiing and
to turn the bull wheel, the snow making pond was to the right of the
lift, and the old pump for snowmaking was still there, (as were numerous
appliances and bull frogs in the pond)."
"The old base lodge had mysteriously burnt down and was demolished to build the road for the new development in there. I had thoughts at one time of resurrecting the t-bar and making it a snow-board/free-ride park, but obviously that never happened. We did have some fun with a snowmobile and sleds in the snow, but I never got the timing right to hike and ski it, and have moved on since then."
By The Year (Official Listings)
|1970-1971||2 cable lifts, 1 rope tow||4 slopes, 3 trails||Night skiing, snowmaking, rentals, $4.50 weekend rates||Ski New York|
Segal: I was a student at RPI in the late 60's and Big Rock Candy
Mountain was very close to Troy, NY. They
had a deal on night skiing from 6PM to 11PM for $4; 7PM to 11PM for $3; 8PM to
11PM for $2; and 9PM to 11PM for $1.
As a constantly broke student, I frequently found myself taking a
break from my studies to do the $1 session.
However, as cheap as it was, there were few takers and I suspect that is
why Big Rock Candy is no more.
Tony Schilling: There was a small ski area that operated for several years in the Speigletown, NY area. The ski area was called Rock Candy Mountain. In fact the area now has roads named that way ... Ribbon Candy Lane, etc. I seemed to recall the area operating for a few years back in the early 70's. In fact, I vividly recall driving over there one Thanksgiving morning after we had experienced a very heavy snowfall the evening before. I recall this because when I arrived there, about 8:00 am, the parking lot was not even plowed nor was the area open. Apparently, being so small and probably because it was Thanksgiving, they did not have sufficient staff to plow and open.
D. Brezner: I skied this
little place for several years as a boy, from around 1969 - 1973 and had some
very enjoyable times. I learned to ski there with the "snow
plow" method. Our family even had a season's pass one year and
went there frequently. I was very familiar with all the trails (there were
only about 6 or so) and most of the off-trail runs. They were easily
accessible and more fun than the regular trails. I would be very
interested to see what's left of the place after all this time. I recall
they had a T-Bar, a rope tow which was rather deadly (very fast and could easily
wrap around a sweater and pull one into the machinery at the end of the tow if
you didn't let go in time) and a poma surface lift. There was one main
hill that the T-bar serviced and a smaller, but wider hill with a rope-tow and a
poma. It was pretty well maintained, but not a whole lot of
elevation . I recall talk about how the ski-lodge made a
quarter-million dollars in one season by selling food and drink- far more than
the revenue made from selling lift tickets - I think they were about $10 or $12
for adult all-day pass and about half of that for children. That seemed
like a lot of money back then. Compare that with today's prices!
There was plenty of talk about installing a chair lift. I never did see it, but I heard a rumor that that the owners did manage to put one in before it closed. It may still be there.
A funny and odd story
is that once I asked a ski-instructor there for information on how to do
parallel turns, and they said they weren't really sure how to teach it - and can
I show you again how to do a stem-christie turn? (Tells you
something about the level of instructors.) I finally figured
out much later that the outside ski flexes out just enough to create the curve
and one must position and weight/unweight the body correctly.
Very interesting to hear that the hill is now a residential area! When I skied there there were only a couple of old farms and virtually no residences around that area. The current homeowners must really enjoy have ski trails in their backyards. I hope someone hooks up a surface lift so the skiers in the neighborhood can enjoy some runs before or after work!
Paul Fedorchak: Great to see some information on Big Rock Candy Mtn in Speigletown, NY. I skied there many times between 1969 and 1971, mostly during high school weeknights when we'd talk one set of parents into driving us up (from Watervliet, NY) and another set into picking us up.
I now live in NH, but drive to Troy, NY about 4 times a year to visit family. Every time I make that trip I drive past a road that I know leads to "The Rock," as we used to call it, and I tell myself I'm going to drive up there and take some current photos someday. By the way, the info provided by Schilling and Brezner is exactly what I remember.
I also recall that we used to ski back and forth across the T bar tracks, which was probably not the best idea. Once we were skiing there during a freezing rainstorm. Some early soft power (about 6 to 7 inches) become quickly covered with breakable crust, and everyone was breaking through and falling all over the place. After deeming the conditions dangerously "un-skiable," the manager gave us rain checks by scratching "RAIN CHECK!!" and the date on that night's ticket with a cheap black pen, and everyone there (seemed like we were all kids) sat in the lodge gorging on burgers and fries while waiting for our parents to pick us up - in the same freezing rainstorm.
I don't recall if this is mentioned on the site, but the area was owned by and named for a Dr. Rockwell. He held a ski auction once where he sat in the attic of some old barnlike building at the area and passed ski stuff down a hole to an auctioneer - skis, poles, boots, bindings, etc., you name it. He kept sending down very long skis - 210 cm - and people kept screaming for normal sized skis, but they never appeared. I ended up being the winning bid on a pair of those 210's (Kneissl Red Stars, I think). When I returned a few days later to pick up my newly mounted skis, Doc Rockwell was laughing and boasting to some friend in the ski shop about how, during the auction, when people yelled for shorter skis he'd say "OK, OK... then send down another pair of 210's!! And some poor devil would bid on them!! " When he stopped his story to ask me how he could help, I got to tell him that I was one of those poor devils and that I was there to pick up my new 210's. After wiping the look of embarrassment off his face, he changed his tune and started telling me how great they'd be for speed skiing and giant slalom, etc. They were the worst skis I ever owned.
Bill Gifford: I skied Big Rock Candy Mt as late as 1981 and I am pretty sure it was still open in 1983 when I left New York State for good. I grew up in that area. Did not ski that hill much back then. But, when they did have snow, it was a cheap place to ski.If you have more information on this area just let us know.
Last updated: Dec 2, 2007
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