Norwich University began as a small rope tow area sometime in the late 1930's, and remained quite small for about 25 years. In 1962 a Poma was added, but skiing was still rather limited.
1970 saw a massive redevelopment of this area. The town and the University collaborated to enlarge the area, and they added a 3680' Hall double chair (capacity 1150' skiers/hour) and several new trails from the summit. The skiing had decent variety with trails for all classes of skiing.
Sometime from 1971 to 1987 the poma and rope tow were removed while a 300' Mighty Mite tow was installed at the small beginner area. The area continued into the early 1990's, but rising insurance costs, no snowmaking, and a few bad seasons led to the demise of Norwich. The double and tow were removed around 1993. According to Patrick Sullivan, the double chair now operates as the second double chair to the summit of Pats Peak.
My friend David Kirk attends Norwich, where he happened to find a brochure and ticket. Thanks Dave! Without him finding these, it would be very difficult to show all of you the trail map shown below.
(Skier's Guide to New England)
Electric ski tow at Norwich Univ., 45 meter ski jump.
(VT Life article below)
Norwich adds a Poma lift.
(Vermont Life article by William Osgood)
The following is both a paraphrase and direct quotes from this article.
The ski area opened on Dec. 24, 1970.
"The electronically operated Hall double chairlift is the most recent in a long series of evolutions in downhill skiing at Norwich. A ski jump built by the Norwich class of 1923 predated the first tow. Then, in 1962 a Poma lift expanded the facilities."
"The $200,000 project received official Univ. approval and construction got underway late that summer on the lift line, which rises from the base elevation of 720 feet vertically for 920 feet, to provide a clear view of the campus."
"Some engineers plan to put in snowmaking on a 20 acre slope." (this never happened though)
"In designing the addition of new trails to the existing pattern, to service the new chairlift, great care was taken to avoid scarring the hillside with great swaths of clear land. As a result, the appearance of the slope, except for the lift line itself, is not much different from what it was before 1970. The redesigned trail system also provided that when intercollegiate races are held they will interfere but slightly with the general skiing public."
"Plans to scallop the border of the lift line, to erase harsh edges, could serve as a model for other ski areas. Jennings plans to run the chairlift at half speed during summer and autumn for travelers."
"While the cost of using the ski area probably will be increased this winter, there still will be an attractive margin. With a chairlift capacity of 1200 skiers per hour and 250 more on the Poma, there should be no long lines. The bulk of skiers will use these two lifts, but there is also a tiny rope tow for beginners."
(Vermont Life article by David Rogers)
"....the 902 foot drop, carved from Paine mountain in 1970, offers a thrilling variety of skiing, short lift lines, and reasonable rates."
"There is a 300 foot mighty mite tow in the "Kinder Bowl" for younsters and beginners. In seven minutes, a 3700 foot double chair lift rushes to the top, where they can use the free guides or look at the trail poster at the summit. GS and Lybrand and expert trails, Tallhy-Ho and Stagecoach relatively gently, and Bull Run and Down Hill for intermediates."
Weekend rates: $15 adult, $11 half day
(Brochure and ticket graciously provided by David Kirk)
The cover of the brochure,
showing a skier racing down one of the trails.
An unused ticket from the last year they
The trail map from inside the brochure.
Most of the upper trails were tree lined while the lower trails were located
on large slopes.
|The base lodge at Norwich
University, November 1999. You can see the double chair lift line on the
left side of the main slope.
Photo by Andy Dufresne.
|The old beginner area, the
Photo by Andy Dufresne.
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