“The underground test blast in the Nevada desert last summer was almost tailor-made for what we need here.”– Walt Schoenknecht, Founder of Mount Snow.
The Brattleboro Historical Society and the students of Brattleboro Area Middle School detailed the history of Mount Snow in the Brattleboro Reformer on Friday and detailed some interesting tidbits on its history. The mountain opened up in 1954 when marine veteran Walt Schoenknecht bought five hundred acres of land from Reuben Snow. In honor of the prior owner, the mountain bears his name. When it opened, the mountain only featured a couple of lifts that serviced only “five trails, one large slope, a practice slope, and two chairlifts.” Today, the mountain features eighty-six runs and twenty lifts on six hundred one acres.
The best story from the article has to be the attempt to alter the terrain for their North Slope expansion. After hearing about a successful atomic bomb test in Nevada, Schoenknecht considered dropping one into the terrain pod. The atomic bomb that was detonated was “635 feet below ground and left a crater 1,200 feet across and 320 feet deep.” The goal was to create an elite expert trail. The plan fell apart when Schoenknecht figured out you couldn’t buy an atomic bomb from the federal government. If that transaction went through, I imagine the humble people of Vermont would’ve been stoked about that plan.
The mountain fought off bankruptcy in 1975 and went through multiple owners like the American Skiing Company and Peak Resorts. Vail Resorts bought the mountain in 2019, and the results from that purchase so far have been mixed. Epic Passes have proved to be much more popular than any passes that Peak Resorts(the prior owner) sold, leading to mind-numbing crowds on weekends. In response, two new detachable lifts will be added next season as part of Vail Resorts Epic Lift Upgrade. Image Credits: Mount Snow