Beloved New Hampshire Ski Resorts Future Uncertain After Another Idle Season

Beloved New Hampshire Ski Resorts Future Uncertain After Another Idle Season

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Beloved New Hampshire Ski Resorts Future Uncertain After Another Idle Season

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https://skimap.org/data/1077/7/1209791778.jpgTenney Mountain in New Hampshire has had a rocky history. Opened in 1960, the resort has gone thru multiple owners, bankruptcies, and closures due to an aging infrastructure and intense competition with ski resorts all across the White Mountains of New Hampshire. After being open for the past couple of years, the mountain didn’t open for the 2020-21 season due to concerns over the pandemic. Backcountry skiers were allowed to hike up, but no lifts operated. According to New England Ski Industry, the same will remain true for this season, with the runs remaining open for only skinning. The social media pages have gone silent, with people asking about the upcoming season with no response. I’m friends with the prior General Manager Michael Bouchard on Facebook, so he’s posted a few things about the resort. After being part of the company since 2014, he confirmed on Facebook that he left as General Manager in October, and said the following about the experience:

“TENNEY: Absolutely one of the best times of my life… safety first…Learned so much from everyone – because everyone was an expert…Special thanks to Hank who help me develop my skiing legs, Joseph Andriolo who built up my confidence by saying “go for it”, Wes Robichaud who critique my form, style, and speed…And the Snow Knights that taught me that risk and danger exponentially increase one’s adrenalin rush whilst skiing high speed under the moonlight without headlamps… so much fun!”

I got the inspiration for this article while reading through Dan Egan’s relatively new book: Thirty Years in a White Haze. From 2002 to 2004, the legendary skier actually served as the General Manager of the resort. He details many of the things that have ailed Tenney in the past: their slow and aging lifts, the “world’s smallest snowmaking pond”, and a lack of capital funds. Dan was part of Tenney’s most interesting era, which involved the SnoMagic system. The snowmaking system could supposedly make snow at any temperature. But it was a maintenance nightmare, only covered an extremely small slope, and all the instructions were written in Japanese. They found some success with the system though, with a July Fourth rail jam and the earliest Northeast opening in 2003. Dan Egan’s efforts worked, as he helped bring visitation up to 75,000 in both seasons he worked there. It was an insane improvement over the prior high in visitation numbers, which was around 35,000.

The beginning of the end of his tenure began when he realized the owner took out a $30k line of credit from the resort to cover his bets from Super Bowl 38. This led to some serious beef between Dan and the owner, and eventually resulted in his firing. The Snomagic system would be moved to Alabama in 2004. The mountain would be closed for a couple of seasons in the mid-2000s, then reopen, and close again for most of the 2010s. The new ownership group led by Michael Bouchard bought the mountain in the mid-2010s and was able to have a few successful seasons. But the pandemic derailed their operations, and they haven’t reopened since March 2020. What happens next? I have no clue, but based on their history, the odds aren’t in their favor.

This 2020 video from New Hampshire Chronicle details Michaels run as GM at the resort.

Image Credits: Tenney Mountain, WMUR, Skimap.org

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