I Purchased Some Vintage Trail Maps Of My Hometown's Abandoned Ski Area

I Purchased Some Vintage Trail Maps Of My Hometown's Abandoned Ski Area


I Purchased Some Vintage Trail Maps Of My Hometown's Abandoned Ski Area


“King Ridge does more with its mountain and whatever natural snow it gets than any other ski area its size or larger–or even smaller.-Tony Chamberlain, Ski Editor for the Boston Globe.

My hometown mountain is a bit of an enigma. I was born in 1996, while King Ridge Ski Area in New London, New Hampshire closed in 1995. Until recently, all I knew about the ski area that was themed to Alice in Wonderland was from hearing stories from locals and reading biographies on it by NELSAP and New England Ski History.

A couple of weeks ago, I found a good deal on eBay for four trail maps from King Ridge. I purchased them and got them to ship to me within a few days. The trail maps are from 1986-1987, one from the late 1980s, 1990-1991, and the 30th anniversary in 1991-1992.

The first comes from 1986-87, which was their 25th anniversary season. That winter, they replaced their Eastside T-Bar with a triple chairlift, along with adding new trails to this terrain pod.

The second brochure comes from the late 1980s, with a redesigned brochure. They welcomed snowboarders to the mountain for the first time and added a Burton rental fleet to their shop.

There aren’t many differences between the 90-91 and the 91-92 brochure, so I’m just going to share the front page cover for the 90-91 season.

For the 91-92 season, they celebrated their 30th anniversary. Financial problems were mounting for the ski area though, as debt led to foreclosure following the 92-93 season, and a total accumulation of 32 inches of snow during the 94-95 winter led to its closure.

Overall, the trail maps generally have pretty consistent messaging, but there are some cool tidbits in there. The 91-92 season saw weekday lift tickets of $19, and weekend prices of $25. I used an Inflation calculator, and discovered that a weekday ticket would come to around $41, and a weekend ticket would be $54 in the modern day. There was also a variety of quality lift ticket deals during the weekdays, and they limited ticket sales to reduce crowding.

The second interesting bit of info was due to it being a mountain designed for families, they had an excellent ski school. It was run by Rusty Chandler, who originally was a ski school supervisor at Steamboat Resort. While at Steamboat, he was a contemporary of Billy Kidd, Jimmie Heuga, and Buddy Werner.

The last important detail is what they did during the off-season. They had a conference center at the ski resort for events and concerts along with a fitness center that was not at the ski area. The last owners of the property wanted to add more activities to make on the 1140-acre property, but they didn’t have the time or money to right the ship.

The King Ridge Racquet Club, which still exists today as Mountainside, used to have a lot more amenities. Back in the day, they had jacuzzis, a sauna, a golf simulator, and courts for soccer and volleyball. Today, it’s still a great facility, but it only features courts for tennis and pickleball, along with a large fitness center.

This batch of brochures didn’t include the famous trail map, which included the trippy Alice In Wonderland imagery. I do have the full map thanks to a now-defunct restaurant using it as placemats. That trail map is below.

I hiked around King Ridge a lot this past summer and fall, so the next step in discovering King Ridge for me is to actually ski it. This will likely require a skinning setup, which I still need to figure out, and an optimal snowpack. I’ll also probably post a hiking report from my various expeditions around there in the future.

Image Credits: Pelland Advertising Associates, Ian Wood of Unofficial Networks


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