For decades, Mount Tom in Massachusetts served as the local ski area for the people of Holyoke and Springfield. Since 1998, the site has remained abandoned except for hikers and a quarry, and multiple fires have led to the demolition of many of the structures. Masslive.com reports that the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation is buying the former ski area and quarry for a total of $900,001. They are buying the ski area for $300,000, the quarry for $1, and $600,000 will go towards “taxes, penalties, and interest owed on the quarry to the city of Holyoke.” The prior owners entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy due to hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and property taxes. The closing of the properties is set for today, June 28th.
For years, the main question about the property has been what to do with the massive quarry. In 2012, the quarry had its last year of operation due to the state of Massachusetts adding a grandfather clause to the quarry in 2002 in order to only allow the site to run for ten more years. In 2020, Matthew L. Donohue and Timothy P. Kennedy of Mount Tom Companies bought the quarry, and they eventually purchased the ski area too. Their plan was to fill the quarry up with leftover dirt from construction sites, and “the slope of the mountain would be returned to its original state.” A group called No Dump on Mount Tom opposed the plans, as they believed that having trucks on the narrow road would destroy the plants, frogs, and salamanders that have become a part of the quarry. The state will keep the site as-is, block vehicles from entering the quarry, and add a guardrail around the quarry to protect guests from falling in.
Could it reopen as a ski area? That would be a challenge, as abandoned videos on Youtube show the ski resort in a state of disrepair. Millions of dollars would be needed, and with climate change impacting how long a winter season mountains in Massachusetts can have, it would make a profitable winter operation challenging. Some options the state should consider include making it a hiking destination, just like they did in the next-door Mount Tom State Reservation, or adding a mountain biking trail network.