1961-Still Going Strong!
Please note - to visit the official Cochran's Website, please visit www.cochranskiarea.com.
Introduction ~ History ~ Cochran Family ~ Layout ~ Lifts ~ February 2008 Photos ~ Video
If you are a skier who appreciates ski history/heritage and enjoys the atmosphere at a smaller ski area, Cochran's is for you! Any NELSAP fan should definitely check out this area.
Cochran's is located off Cochran Road in Richmond Vermont. It is the only non-profit ski area in the country, and is geared primarily towards families. Several trails and slopes are served by a rope tow, mighty mite, and T-bar on a 350' vertical drop. But don't let its smaller size fool you - this ski area has produced several Olympians (including a gold medalist), National Champions, US Ski Team Members, and more! (see more information in the Cochran Family section below).
Cochran's is an area that proves that you don't need an $80 lift ticket to have a wonderful time skiing. When I visited the area on February 9th, 2008, everybody had a smile and was having a terrific time. The snow was perfect and everything was open.
|Cochran's ski area began in 1961 by Mickey and Ginny Cochran behind their home in Richmond, Vermont. Mickey had seen the mountain several years earlier and was able to purchase the land once it became available for sale. Mickey was an engineer at GE, and he built a 500' rope tow which served two slopes on an approximate 100 foot drop. Originally the area was just for the family, where their four children, Barbara Ann, Marilyn, Bob, and Linda could practice racing. Lights for night skiing allowed them to ski at night as well. Practicing over and over again made all 4 excellent skiers.||
||During the 1960's, Ginny Cochran
started a learn to ski program at the hill for students after school.
More land was then purchased higher along the hill, and in 1966, an
1100' rope tow was constructed by Mickey which boosted the overall
vertical to near 300'.
The late 1960's into the mid 70's was a period of great racing success of Ginny and Mickey's sons and daughters: Marilyn, Barbara Ann, Bob, and Linda. More information can be found below.
In 1975, a handle tow was built above the present day lodge on an easy slope for beginners. And in 1979, a Hall T-bar from Bristol Mountain in western NY was purchased and installed, boosting the vertical drop by about 50'. This lift is tandem to the rope tow, and both still operate today.
|During the 1970's, another 900' rope tow was built by Mickey just to the east of the top of the T-bar, to a location higher up along the mountain. Unfortunately, the lift only operated once, and according to the Cochran Family, only Ginny rode it! To the left is the liftline (on the right). Click on the image to view the larger version.|
|Two trails were built from the top of the tow, both of which are still clear and accessible by hiking today. To the left is the eastern trail, and the right, the western. Click on each for the larger version. The summit expansion was also largely abandoned as these trails are fairly flat.|
In 1984, a new lodge was built, and in 1985, an innovative "Ski-Tots Program" was introduced by Lindy Cochran Kelley.
Sadly, in 1998, Mickey Cochran passed away, and the area was reorganized as a non-profit area. This ensured the continual operation of the ski area, and allowed it to be able to accept donations, etc. It is the only non-profit ski area in the country. A board of Trustees manages the area, with David Healy as the Executive Director. The area operates with considerable support from volunteers and the community.
Today, the area is a vibrant but rare case of a successful smaller ski area in today's business climate. Many smaller areas have struggled - but Cochran's has succeeded. A large capital campaign resulted in snowmaking being installed at the mountain for the 07-08 season, which will ensure the operation of the area even in lean snow years. The area is very affordable for families and day skiers alike. The Cochran Ski Club is also involved with the area, training children how to race and more.
I highly recommend that anybody wishing to enjoy a smaller area with a great atmosphere check out Cochran's!
|The Cochran Family is
simply an amazing group of skiers and racers, with many accomplishments.
Having met most the them on my visit, as well as talking to Jimmy
Cochran, I can tell you they are also the friendliest people you'd ever
Mickey Cochran: Besides running the ski area, Mickey Cochran was the Alpine Director of the U.S. Ski Team during the 1973-1974 season and also coached the University of Vermont Ski Team during the 1970's. In 1997 he was inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame from Chelmsford, MA High School. While Mickey passed away in 1998, his legacy lives on at the ski area, his family, and the countless skiers he has touched over the years.
Ginny Cochran: His wife, Ginny, ran the area with her husband, and started the first learn to ski program at Cochran's, allowing thousands of students to learn to ski. She managed the area until 2005, when she passed away.
Their 4 children, Barbara Ann, Bobby, Marilyn, and Linda were all U.S. Ski Team Members with quite a lot of accomplishments.
Barbara Ann Cochran was a member of the U.S. Ski Team from 1967-1974, and in 1972 won an Olympic Gold Medal in Women's Slalom at the 1972 Sapporo Japan Olympics by a 0.02 second margin! She was also a 1970 World Championship Silver Medalist in Slalom, U.S. National Champion in Giant Slalom and Slalom, and also taught at Cochran's. She is now a motivational speaker who helps athletes achieve their best. Check out her website here. I had the pleasure of taking a few runs with Barbara who shared with me her family's stories
Dr. Bob Cochran was a member of the U.S. Ski Team from 1968 to 1974, on the U.S. Pro Tour from 1975-1977, 1973 Gold Medalist in the Hahnenkamm Combined, 1973 World Cup Giant Slalom Victory at Heavenly, two time U.S. National Champion in Slalom, Giant Slalom, and Downhill. He is now a physician in NH. I was also able to ski with Bob during my visit and took some runs with him.
Bob Cochran (left) with David Healy, Executive Director of Cochran's (right), taken near the top of the T-bar.
Marilyn Cochran Brown was a member of the U.S. Ski Team from
1967-1974, Overall World Cup Giant Slalom Champion in 1969, 1970 World
Championship Combined Bronze Medalist, and three time U.S. National
Champion. During my visit I got to meet Marilyn upon my arrival, then
she ran the Mighty-Mite. Later I met up with Marilyn at the top of the
T-bar (where she was running the unload) and had a great conversation
with her, and also took a few runs.
Linda (Lindy) Cochran Kelly, the youngest of the Skiing Cochrans, was a member of the U.S. Ski Team from 1970 to 1978, on the University of Vermont Ski Team from 1978-1981, top American finisher in the 1976 Olympic Slalom and Giant Slalom, 1973 U.S. National Champion in Slalom, 1976 U.S. National Champion in Giant Slalom, NCAA All American in 1979.
Jimmy Cochran, Bob's son, won a silver in Slalom in bronze in the GS at the NCAA Championships, was a member of the 2006 U.S. Olympic Team, U.S. Ski Team from 2004-present, 2004 US Slalom/Giant Slalom Champion, More on his bio and recent racing results can be viewed here, on the U.S. Ski Team Website.
Amy Cochran, Bob's daughter, raced for the UVM Ski Team. She was second in the giant slalom and third in the slalom at the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) Championships
Tim Kelley, Linda's son, was a 2007 NorAm Slalom runnerup, third in 2006 FIS-B Slalom in Font Romeau, France, and 5th in the 2006 Junior Worlds SL. U.S. Ski Team 2006-Present. More on his bio and recent results here.
Jessica Kelley, Linda's daughter, was a Giant Slalom silver medalist at the 2002 Junior World, 2003 Fis-B Giant Slalom win in Courmayeur, Italy, second in 2005 Europe Cup Giant Slalom in La Molina Spain, three time NorAm Giant Slalom Champion in 2003, 2005, 2007. 2006-Present U.S. Ski Team. More on her bio and recent results here.
Roger Brown, Marilyn's son, was third in 2005 at the NorAm GS-2 at Mont Tremblant, 2002 NCAA Slalom Champion, and 6th in Slalom at the 2004 U.S. Championships. Was on the U.S. Ski Team from 2006-2007.
Layout of the Ski Area
|Cochran's can be broken up
into two sections - an easy beginner slope served by a Mighty-Mite lift,
and an upper section for intermediates, with a few most difficult
On the right is an annotated map of the area. The original rope tow and slopes are located on the bottom right. This section no longer operates.
To to the left of this area is the lodge, and above the lodge is the Mighty-Mite slope.
Above this, a T-bar climbs nearly 300' and serves about 7 trails and slopes. A shorter 1100' rope tow parallels this lift and does not quite make it to the top. Trees were recently cleared along the lift line.
Above the T-bar is a the former summit area. A 700' rope tow served two trails here. According to the Cochran family, the rope tow only ran a few times, and Ginny was the only one who rode it. When Mickey built the lift, it apparently only ran in reverse. The vertical was only about 80' for this tow and the trails were relatively flat. They can still be accessed by hiking.
To the right of the main slope complex is a woods trail along an old road. It is not steep but is quite narrow, and is a hit among younger skiers.
|On the left is a trail map from the mid 1990's, with trail designations. Note that the original rope tow area on the bottom right was still in operation.|
|The long rope tow at
Cochran's still operates during busy periods and race training. It is
1100' long and has a vertical rise of 230'. It mainly serves the I-89
I was very lucky to experience riding the rope tow on my visit! Here I am loading the rope tow. The lift is very fast! It took only about a minute to get to the tope of the tow, which ended about 500' below the summit of the T-bar.
|The main T-bar is 1600' long and has a vertical of about 300'. It is a Hall that originally was located at Bristol in western New York. Click on this image for the larger version.||Riding the Hall T-bar. Note the rope tow to the right, which parallels the lift. This is a classic telescopic tube Hall lift. Click on this image for the larger version.|
|The Mighty Mite lift is used mostly by beginners and serves a gentle slope. More advanced skiers often use this lift to avoid a short hike to the T-bar. Click for larger version.||The end of the rope tow, Mickey's design. You can also see skiers riding the T-bar. Click for larger version.|
February 2008 Photos
|The cozy lodge has a snack bar, rentals, tables, and a good view of the lower slopes.||
|New snowmaking equipment allows the area to open earlier and stay open longer, even without natural snow. Click on this and the following 5 images for the larger version.||Looking up the woods road trail.||Looking down the woods road trail.|
|Looking down the Race Trail, but no racing that day. Ungroomed snow, fun!||Lower part of the Face, where practice racing was taking place.||Looking down the trail that leads into the Face.|
Riding the 1600' Hall T-bar.
The top of race trail. Ungroomed, quite fun!
Skiing down I-89, the main slope. Note the wipeout halfway through!
|The view from Mickey's favorite spot on the mountain, from the Face Trail. A beautiful shot on this snowy day.|
If you have a memory or photo to share of Cochran's, please let us know.
Last updated Feb 27, 2008
Head back to Lost VT Ski Areas
Head back to the Main Page