Gunset Ski Area
Richfield Springs, NY
Before 1963-At least 1982

History    By The Year   Memories    Pictures


Gunset was a typical but fun small New York Ski Area. It was founded at some point before 1963 (likely around 1960) and lasted into the early 1980's. It had a base elevation of 1560' and a summit elevation of 1740', giving a vertical of 280' (though later guidebooks gradually upped this number). The area was located 1 mile west of Richfield Springs on Route 20. The manager of the area in the early 1960's was Lewis Whipple.

It originally had a poma lift and a beginner rope tow, and a few trails and one open slope. Most of the trails ended in a wide open slope. The poma was replaced with a T-bar in the 1970's. The area closed sometime in the early 1980's.

Apparently, the area is used by locals for tubing and snowmobiling. It was used in the late 1990's and early 2000's during the 1999 and 2001 Richfield Springs Winter Carnival.

Gunset by the Year

Year Lifts Trails Other Info Source
1963 1500' poma (275' drop), 900' rope tow (150' drop) 4 intermediate trails (1/2 mi)
1 novice trail (1/3 mi)
1 beginner slope (10 acres)
Operate Wed, Thu, weekends and holidays with up to 200 skiers/day, and a 5 minute wait. Also operates 2 nights a week. $3.00 adult, $2.00 junior and beginner area, half day rates 50 cents cheaper. Canteen serves sandwiches, soups, beverages. Lewis Whipple, Manager. Located 1 mile west of Richfield Springs on Rte 20 Buxton's Eastern Ski Slopes
1966 Poma(s), tow Unknown Vertical drop 300', no snowmaking America's Ski Book
1970-1971 2 lifts, 1 tow 2 slopes, 7 trails Rentals, Vertical drop 310', $3.50 weekend rates, night skiing Ski New York Guide
1977 2 pomas, 1 rope tow 1 beginner, 5 intermediate slopes & trails, 1 expert trail Ski school, patrol, rentals, ski shop, base chalet, snowmaking Lucy M. Fehr, Skiing USA. 
1980 2 bars, 1 tow 5 trails, 2 open slopes 350 ft vertical, Season Dec 15-Apr 15 White Book of Ski Areas
1982 2 bars, 1 tow longest run, 3000 feet 330 ft vertical, weekends only Billy Kidd's American Ski Guide









Thanks to Wayne Kolanko, who pointed out the area to us and sent us this information:

"I learned to ski at a ski area known as Gunset Ski Area.  It is located approximate one mile west of the Village of Richfield Springs on US Route 20.  (Lat/Long N42.86152, W75.01758).  I'm not sure when the slopes closed.  I skied there in the late 60's and early 70's.  I think it closed sometime in the early 80's, but I am not certain.  The area was quite small, having a vertical drop of approx. 250 feet.  There was one J Bar tow and one rope tow.  As I recall, the first slope to the left of the J Bar was called "Shea".  I can't recall the name of the second slope to the left.  There was one slope to the right of the J Bar, barely distinguishable in the photo, called "The Whip"."

Kent D also remembers this area: I know of a lost ski area just west of Richfield Springs, New York on NY Route 20.  Its name was Gunset Ski Bowl - one rope tow and one T-bar - three trails.  It was the first lift-serviced area that I skied as an 11-year old in 1972.  It closed sometime in the early 1980's I think.  The lift towers, trails, and the lodge are still there and they are accessible as it has been designated as some sort of state recreation area, as evidenced by the brown NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation sign at the road.  It appears as if someone is still mowing the trails.  The entire facility is visible from route 20.  There is an inhabited residence near the base lodge (I think.)


Here's an overhead picture of the area. According to Wayne, "The slopes face north and you can make out a couple of the runs to the left of the T Bar tow line". Notice how the trails end in a wide open slope.
I visited this areas with my parents in late June, 2003. Here's a view from Rte 20. Still clear and easy to pick out, but not a whole lot to see. You can just make out the liftline. We were on our way from the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown to the Turning Stone Casino in Oneida, and it was right on the way.

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

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