Snow Valley was a historic and long lasting ski area that never seemed to garner enough advertising. In 1939 a rope tow was operating in Manchester, perhaps at Snow Valley. No way of telling exactly. By 1947, however, Snow Valley had installed an Alpine Lift (T-bar) with a vertical drop of 574 feet. There were several trails by this point. They also built a decent sized base lodge (Snow Man's Rest it was called) which appears below. The 1950's brought to Snow Valley several more trails (9) by 1952, and a new poma lift by 1960. Rope tows came and went at this area. This pomalift increased the vertical drop a small amount.
No mention of rope tows at this area after the mid 1960's. The only new addition to Snow Valley during this period was a gladed skiing area. The area did not operate in 1972 for reasons unknown. By 1973 they had switched to weekends and holidays only, probably due to heavy competition from Stratton, Bromley, and Magic Mountain. Snowmaking was also installed at some point in the 1970's.
In 1977 a 2992', 700 skiers/hour Borvig double was built to the summit, but this was only used for 7 years until 1984 when the area closed. The T-bar was retired in 1977, but still appeared on the trail map until 1984. It has really overgrown since then, but it is still hikeable. Cross country skiers, mountain bikers, and snowmobilers regularly use the area today.
Here are some more details from Dave DeMatteis about the ski area:
"Some more snow valley info from ski magazine 1982, apparently it went under in the mid-70's reopened in the late 70's by a family. These owners added the second floor to the base lodge. Apparently there was also a Jacuzzi in the lodge at this point! If you hike to the summit, the top bullwheel still stands from the t-bar the 2ble chair replaced in 1981. My friends and I went back over Christmas break. We managed to drop a chair off the line which I have restored. Perhaps If we do this with all of them we can get the lift running! I also have the control buttons which I took 9 years ago. It was quite an adventure, by the time we got the chair down it was dark and we had to carry it all the way down from the summit in the snow."
Be sure to check out Dave's page by clicking his name above, his homepage is dedicated to everything about chairlifts. He's letting me use some photos of the Snow Valley double, which appear in the photo gallery at the bottom of this page. Check out the photo gallery for tons of pictures.
Snow Valley opens during this time.
(Trail map courtesy of Eric Maloney)
Click here to view this large trail map of the ski area...its worth the download time!
Snow Valley has a T-bar lift.
(American Ski Annual)
The T-bar lift has a vertical drop of 574 feet.
This was the base lodge around 1950. Compare this picture with the one below in the photo gallery in June, 1998! Amazingly different!
"At Snow Valley the students encountered one of those unbelievable days when blazing sun and blue skies give the lie to temperatures flirting with zero"
(Eastern Ski Map)
T-bar lift, 3 tows, 3 slopes, 6 trails, novice through expert
(Vermont Life Article by Murray Hoyt)
"All Snow Valley's skiing is above 2000 feet and they had a 30-80 inch base as late as April 15 in 1958."
Lift capacity of 600 skiers per hour on the T-bar with 400 skiers per day.
"Snow Valley is the best buy from a financial point of view. They are offering skiing for a limited number of skiers, five years of skiing for $50.00 paid in advance. That's ten dollars a year. That's two days at several of the larger areas."
Top elevation: 2680 feet
Bottom of lift: 2020 feet
Vertical drop: 660 feet
Upcoming for this season: A new beginner's lift.
(Trail map from the New England Ski Museum)
Click here for a 1960's trail map. Notice how a double chair was planned, but was never built in that location. It ended up being built about a decade later to the right of where it appears in this map.
(Eastern Ski Map)
T-bar lift, Pomalift, 3 tows, 3 slopes, 6 trails (novice through expert)
(America's Ski Book)
Snow Valley has a T-bar, J-bar (actually a Poma, although the guide had it wrong), and a vertical drop of 586 feet. No snowmaking.
(Vermont-A guide to the Green Mountain State)
Taxi service, 3180 foot T-bar lift, 1450 foot Pomalift service, beginner's rope tow, 2 novice slopes. Trails: 1 novice (2.5 miles), 3 intermediate (3.0 miles), and 2 expert (2 miles). Fifteen acres of open slopes. Ski huts, meals, ski shop for sales, rentals and repairs. Patrol and first aid.
(Eastern Ski Map)
T-bar lift, pomalift, 3 slopes, glade, 6 trails (novice through expert)
(Ski Guide to the Northeast)
Base elevation: 1850
feet. Vertical drop: 700 feet. Exposure: north
Features: Area operates weekends and holidays only, ski shop, snack bar, rentals, 1 T-bar and 1 Poma, with 1550 per hour capacity, 8 trails, parking for 300 cars. No snowmaking or night skiing.
Ski school: American technique with 6 instructors, 2 certified.
Rates: Adult $5.50, junior $3.50
(VT Tramway Reports)
Snow Valley installs a new Borvig double chair to the summit. This new double extends the vertical 200 feet to 900 feet.
(Brochure provided by Justin Waller)
Here's all the info from the brochure:
Skiing Snow Valley is always an enjoyable experience. Known to have
more natural snow that any resort in the region, added to our limited lift
ticket policy, equals more time skiing, not standing in line. In
keeping with this policy, the area accepts a limited number of group reservations
each weekend. Organize your group early this fall.
Our challenging slopes consisting of 15 trails and a vertical drop of 900 feet, combined with 20km of XC trails, and a new XC touring center assures your total enjoyment. As lessons teach skiers how to prevent accidents, our qualified instructors provided personal attention in uncrowded surroundings. Then, after hours relaxing in the first base lodge ever built which still retains its original charm and warm, friendly atmosphere, will make you feel right at home.
Snowmaking is used to supplement natural snowfall.
Snow Valley, built in 1939, is one of the oldest ski areas in the country. For over 30 years, the area has been a favorite spot for the skiing family as well as the serious recreation skier. Over the years Snow Valley continues to maintain its identity with reasonable rates, congenial atmosphere, and a true Vt flavor!
Guaranteed Snow, of course we can't guarantee the weather. But Snow Valley earned its reputation long ago for the unusual amount of natural snow that is collects and retains each year. Facing north, Snow Valley nestles in a unique configuration of mountains that acts as a snow funnel, so that there is plenty of snow into spring. And because the area is only open weekends and holidays (except they said before that it was only closed Tues and Wed), the snow is not skied off during the week, its there, freshly groomed for your pleasure every weekend.
Lifts: 3600 foot Borvig
1500 foot Poma
350 Mitey Mite
all day, $11 half day
Children: $12.00 all day, $9 half day
|Here's the cover of the trail map, showing the aerial view. The double chair is the straight line on the far right, the old T-bar line to the left of that, and the Poma underneath the letter A in Valley. An old rope tow line is visible below the V.|
|Here is the trail map for this period, courtesy of Jon Rothenberg. Notice that the ski area is well developed, and that the t-bar was still on the map, but not being used at this time.|
Snow Valley closes permanently (from VT Tramway Reports)
My friend Chris Seneta and I visited this area in 1998. Certainly an interesting visit! It is easily found, just go Rte 30 south from near Bromley and Snow Valley Road is about a mile on the right. Go to the end of the road which ends up at the old parking lot.
The base lodge is still standing, but is quite a mess. We went inside the lodge, but found nothing, as everything inside has been removed. Its hard to imagine it was ever a thriving place. The large expert Steeplechase Slope is almost totally overgrown.
As for lifts, we found the Poma to be in good shape, with the pomas still attached. No sign of the beginner handle tow. At that time, we didn't even know there was a chairlift!
In 1999 my brother and I came back for a second look, this time knowing about the chairlift. We found it to be in remarkably good shape. As Dave DeMatteis stated, all the chairs are still attached. The lift line is almost totally unrecognizable, as it has totally grown in.
We attempted to hike up the mountain but found it to be nearly impossible, as the brush impeded our hiking. We only made it up maybe 200 vertical feet before we had to stop.
Ultimate Snow Valley Photo Gallery:
A collection of many Snow Valley images, from the 1940's to the 1990's.
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