Is This Auction Bound Vermont Ski Area Worth Reopening? (Closed Since '80s)

Is This Auction Bound Vermont Ski Area Worth Reopening? (Closed Since '80s)

Real Estate

Is This Auction Bound Vermont Ski Area Worth Reopening? (Closed Since '80s)

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Have you ever wanted to own a lost ski area? Another New England ski area that closed in the 1980s is back on the market. Starting on September 8th at 4 p.m. E.S.T., bidding will commence on Snow Valley, a lost Vermont ski area. The mountain has a buy now price point of $3.65 million. Its reserve price is $2.05 million, which is the minimum bid you can make on the property when the auction starts. A $100,000 deposit is needed to make a bid, and there is a 12% buyer’s premium and a 2% co-broke commission.

The history of skiing at Snow Valley could go all the way back to the 1930s, but there is no evidence that lift-serviced operations took place in that decade. Its rope tow first debuted in January of 1942 and they added a t-bar in February of that year. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, it was one of the largest ski areas in the Northeast. The mountain gets an average of 120 inches of snow each winter, and the north-facing slopes help funnel snow to preserve it for spring skiing.

Unfortunately, larger competitors like Bromley and Stratton began to pop up and took away its thunder. While the mountain expanded and a chairlift was added in the following decades, it couldn’t keep up with the local rivals. The mountain likely closed after the 1983-84 season. While one owner tried to come through and run it as a private ski area, none have been successful. To learn more about its history, check out New England Ski History and NELSAP.

One issue that could arise for a new owner is Vermont Act 250, in which the state needs to approve large developments. Maple Valley, another lost ski area in Southern Vermont, was bought four years ago, and the new owners want to turn the old base lodge into a brewery and distillery. It has spent the last couple of years fighting with the state of Vermont on petty issues like an overflow parking lot, which would only be used a maximum of twenty-four times in a year, that could affect the fish of a nearby river.

The real estate flyer says they have an ACT 250 permit, so it seems like reopening the ski resort is possible. The question that follows is what you can add to the small ski area, as recent Google Earth imagery shows the former base lodge being torn down.

This 2018 image shows the slopes of Snow Valley are still visible via Google Earth

Even if you could get past Act 250, the buyer must be realistic about its target market. Bromley is right next door, and you have Magic Mountain and Stratton Mountain within a couple of miles of Snow Valley, so the competition is fierce. If you were to get past the regulatory hurdles and reopen the ski area, the move would have affordable lift tickets and offer a welcoming experience to everyone. Alternatively, it could become a private ski resort, a backcountry skiing mountain, a mountain biking spot, or a hiking destination. If you price people out, it will be back on the real estate market in no time. In my opinion, there isn’t a viable path to success as a public ski area.

You can view the listing here, and some photos of the property and the old ski area are below.

Mountain Stats

Price: $3.65 million, minimum bid of $2.05 million when the auction opens on September 8’th.

Acres: 390

Trails: 15

Vertical Drop: 900 Feet

Local Competitors: Bromley, Stratton, Magic Mountain

A vintage 1940s trail map of Snow Valley from Skimap.org

Image Credits: New England Ski History(Featured Image), Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions, Skimap.org

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