AKA Taconic Trails &
Check out the NELSAP Trip to Petersburg Pass on April 13, 2002!
History ~ Memories ~ Recent Photos ~ Historical Photos
Before I explain the history of this ski area, let me first thank Brian O'Malley for providing us with tons of information and pictures on this former ski area! Much of what we have on this ski area is thanks to him.
|Petersburg Pass, located on the NY/MA border on Rte 2, was founded in 1962 by two executives at the Sprague Electric Co. in North Adams, Mr. Francis Wilson and Gilbert Devy. At first, the area operated with a Poma double chair an just three main trails, visible on the right (picture from Brian O'Malley). Later, a Poma lift was installed on a beginner slope, visible on the lower left of this ski area.||
||The area grew
threw the 1960's, adding several more trails and slopes. Although many
were beginner-low intermediate, a few, like The Drop, did provide
experts with plenty of challenge. Here's the trail map from the 1960's,
thanks to Brian O'Malley. The 1400' beginner poma is on the lower left
1. Panorama - Wide and
Popular Novice Run
|The 3000' Poma
Double near the summit, from the 1960's. The trail visible to the upper
left is the Berlin Corridor.
Picture from Brian O'Malley.
||Another view of the chairlift, from 1963-1964. Also from Brian O'Malley.|
|The ski area
was sold in 1967 to a Mr. Deliso, who may have been instrumental in the
Greylock Glen ski development in North Adams.
Unfortunately, the good times ended for the ski area in 1969. The area, closed, and remained empty for 3 years. The first base lodge also likely burned sometime around 1970.
However, Mr. Mark Raimer bought the area in 1972, and tried to revitalize the area. A new lodge was built. Pictured here in this picture is the loading area in Dec 1972, as the area reopened.
The area was renamed Taconic Trails, then Mt. Raimer.
||Trails were constructed towards NY, shown on the lower right of this picture. However, this trails never officially opened, though if they did, the vertical would have increased from near 1000ft to 1600ft!|
|Here's Brian's picture of the base area in the 1970's.||
|The area closed
around 1980, due to financial difficulties. The lifts on the property until 1982
or 1983, when Mr. Murdock of Butternut
Basin, MA bought both the Poma and Chairlift. He rebuilt the poma and sold
it to a ski area in Michigan. However, he kept the double chair and installed it
on the beginner section of Butternut. This lift still operates today, so you can
still ride a piece of Petersburg today.
(Left - a ski patch from 1967, courtesy of Woody Bousquet)
Memories of the ski area:
Petersburg Pass area is in (surprise ) Petersburg Pass on the south side of
Rt.2, north of the Sheep Hill/ Williams area, and may technically be in NY but
is no more than a snowball toss from MA. It looks to have a few hundred feet of
vertical rise and a base elev. of about 2000 ft. with some decent grade ( at
least if you are walking up it). The backcountry skiing opportunities look good
for the area, including a network
Peter Cohen: I remember that the main chairlift crossed the MA state line (there was definitely a lift tower sign to this effect (Jeremy note-there may have been a sign there, but according to the topo map, the ski area was completely in NY, but barely!)). PP was a great area that we skied numerous times in the 1960s (I grew up in Schenectady). It had some excellent steeps and consistently good snow given the high base elevation. I sometimes telemark on the old slopes as do many others.
John Sober: Hi
Jeremy, Thought that I'd drop you a quick note. I am enjoying your web site
immensely. I have some history of an area that was technically in both
Massachusetts and New York since the area straddled the state line. I was a
member of the ski patrol at the mountain from 1976 until 1980 when the mountain
closed, never to reopen.
Originally known as Petersburg Pass, it
subsequently was referred to as Taconic Trails and finally as Mt Raimer. The ski
area was located on Route 2, between Petersburg NY and Williamstown MA. The area
was in the process of being enlarged to include the west side of the ridge (an
additional approx 1000' of vertical) when the money dried up.
Paul Grueter: There was a ski area on the NY/MA state line. Called Petersburg Pass. I know it was located on RT. 2. I skied it during the winter of '68-'69. It has been out of business for years but the last time I was over Rt. 2 you could still see some of the trails. Technically I think it is mostly in NY.
David Senus: I donít have enough information on it to help you out a great deal, but this is what I can tell you. It is an abandoned ski area directly on the border of Massachusetts and New York State, right on Route 2. I do not know what state it is officially in, since it literally lies on the border (in fact the parking lot is used as a turn-around for plows, both NY and MA). The parking lot elevation is above 2000 feet with a peak over 2600 feet. It appears that some trails used to extend down the mountain into NY State. It is north facing, toward Vermont, which is only about 3 miles north. The area receives a good amount of natural snow and tends to keep it far longer than the valleys. Most trails are still skiable (I have skied it several times). There are plenty of good views of NY State and MA including the full west side of Mount Greylock.
Steve Skubel: I grew up outside of Albany and skied many of the small areas during the 1960s. I especially loved Petersburg Pass and remember a slogan from one of its brochures or could it have been a radio ad on say, WTRY 980 AM of Troy, touting, "When it rains in the valley it snows up here." We used to laughingly recount this whenever a winter rainstorm would strike while we were up from the valley skiing at Petersburg.
The big contest for my brother and I was to see how many rides we could squeeze in up and down on the chairlift. It seems to me you could easily get in the high twenties or maybe even the 30s or higher without much of an effort. The same was true of Scotch Valley which while a little bigger than I remember Petersburg had a nice homey "family" feel about it.
Petersburg Pass Today
|As stated in the history section, the Poma double still lives on at Butternut. Here's a picture of that chair in mid-March, 2001. Notice though, that the original Poma chairs have been replaced by ones manufactured by Borvig. This lift is significantly shorter than when it operated at Petersburg Pass.||
||Here's a view of the area today, thanks to Terraserver. Notice that most of the trails are still fairly clear. Other trails were built (not quite visible on this map) to the lower right of the ski area, but were never open. Had they opened and were served by a lift, this ski area could have had a vertical of 1600' or more, making it one of the largest in the state!|
Additional photos of Petersburg Pass, click on each for the larger version.
The remains of the base lodge, 1983.
Courtesy Brian O'Malley
From John Sober: I have a high school classmate that I skied with extensively in the middle 60's. He is currently a professor at the University of Regina in Canada. He was going through some paperwork of his Dad's, who passed away several years ago. He found many photographs of ski mountains since he was a professional photographer. I recently received some scans of the photos and know that they were taken at Petersburg Pass in the 60's. Both pictures were taken on Panorama, under the chair. The one photo looks down towards the base and the hill on the other side of Rt 2 is very prominent in the photo. (Photos below).
Do you remember this ski area and want to share your memory? Email us with your comments.
Last updated: September 2, 2014
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