Sugar Bush
East Jamaica, VT

1940's - At Least 1953

This was a small rope tow ski area, not the big one further north, that operated probably from the 1940's until at least 1953.  In 1952, they had 2 rope tows, 3 slopes, 5 trails (novice through expert), jumps, and a ski patrol (Eastern Ski Map).

Amazingly enough, NELSAP heard from the son of the former owners of this area! Here's some information from him...

"I am Bob Weir, the son of Larry and  Mary Weir who built their little ski area in Vermont. I have 8mm movies that I have converted to video of me and my brother skiing at Sugar Bush. The handwriting on the photo and the ski area map is that of my father's.  From that beginning I developed a love of skiing. I worked in the ski industry up until 14 years ago for Olin Ski and Salomon. I now live in Sandy, Utah and still ski 15-20 days per year. My parents sold Sugar Bush to a guy by the name of Staats who installed a t-bar and then went bust. "

Bob Burton used to patrol at this area, and has some great first hand information:

My brother and I were the "ski patrol" at the original SugarBush in East Jamaica (I still have my Sugar Bush logo patch somewhere). My parents and the Weirs were good friends. Both families lived in Townshend before the Weirs moved to the ski area. That was our second home in winter (after chores). 

Mezzy Barber was our ski instructor (and our idol, he was very charismatic - Mezzy died several years ago at the age of 72) in Townshend two afternoons a week. The Weir's association with Mezzy led to the development at East Jamaica. Mezzy was the best US ski jumper at the time. He wanted to put the biggest ski jump in the east on that hill. It was all natural. It would have been bigger than Berlin or Lake Placid but the economics did not compute. Larry Weir and my father purchased the second ski tow together to open a gentle sunny slope to the west of the main slopes. That was a Swedish tow on a toboggan. I

 knew Bob Weir's brother Ted when I was there. I went away to school in '52 and '53 to Vermont Academy and did not stay in touch with the Weirs to the end. Larry and Mary left for Calif. or elsewhere shortly after they sold the area. I lost track of them. 

The Townshend ski school and the original "Sugar Bush" were my start in skiing which led to 2 years on the Vermont Academy ski team, 4 years on the Dartmouth ski team, and two tryouts for the US ski team. The first was in McCall ID for the '58 FIS and second was the season off from the US Navy to train for the '64 Olympic team. That escapade ended with a fall on the Fred Harris hill at Brattleboro in a nasty snow storm. A broken vertebra in that fall rerouted me into a 25 year career in Medicine as an ER physician. It's amazing what mischief a little fooling around in East Jamaica can get you into!

If any member member of the Weir family reads this, Bob would like to get in touch with you. You can email him here.

(Ski Time)
"Lawrence and Mary Weir can well be praised for the farsighted planning that has gone into developing Sugar Bush, midway between Manchester and Brattleboro, VT on Route 20. They had the good fortune to have Mezzy Barber, champion ski jumper, as a friend and he laid out the area and designed the 20 meter practice jump, so that experts as well as beginners have plenty to challenge them.

With two tows, one 600' and the other 1200' to take care of uphill transportation, Sugar Bush gives first thought to family skiing, at low cost. Improvements this year include the widening and manicuring of the Main Slope and the construction of a new intermediate trail from the top of the Big Tow, with plenty of room for stopping and turning. The Expert Trail has also been widened and improved."

Here's an ad that appeared in the 1953 publication "Ski Time". Notice how the Big Tow served a majority of trails while the Little Tow served beginner terrain. Given a length of 1200', the big tows vertical was in the range of 220-300 feet.

Some Additional Photos of Sugar Bush:

The Four Maple Slope. Image courtesy Tim Ingalls.
The warming hut at the Sugar Bush Ski Area (date unknown).

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