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

Skiing

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

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“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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