Image Credit: Google Earth

West Osipee, New Hampshire- If you’ve ever wanted to bring a ski area back from the dead, here’s your chance.

Last summer, the NAI Norwood Group listed arguably the most famous abandoned ski area in New Hampshire for sale. Priced at $3.2 million, the acquisition of the 797-acre property, which was known as Whittier, includes multiple lots. The cell tower is the only part of the land not for sale. When I drove by a couple of weekends ago, the for sale sign was still out, so you still have a chance to chart this former ski area’s future.

The history of lift-serviced skiing on Nickerson Mountain (which was called Whittier for marketing purposes) is complex. Multiple rope tow operations began on the mountain after World War 2. These slopes were situated on Nickerson Mountain, with the actual nearby Mt. Whittier not having lift-serviced skiing but rather a ski trail built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Over the following years, more surface lifts and terrain were added to the ski area.

A significant expansion happened in the 1960s, with a gondola connecting Route 16 to the ski area’s summit. This gondola went over the road, had another mid-station for skiers who parked over at the actual base of the ski area, and then ascended to the top. The mountain became known for its unique setup and steep terrain. In the summertime, having the revenue from the gondola allowed them to add more activities, like waterslides, rollerblade skiing, bumper boats, and disc golf.

Image Credit: Jeremy Davis, New England Lost Ski Areas Project

Ultimately, having no snowmaking, novice skiers being intimidated by the steep terrain, the construction of the two interstates in New Hampshire (89 and 93) leading people elsewhere, and some warm winters led to its demise, ultimately closing around 1985.

A revival in the 2000s, called the Mt. Madness Adventure Center, included year-round activities like motorsports, a summer camp, snow tubing, a terrain park, mountain biking, and backcountry skiing. This didn’t work out, as it closed down and was left abandoned.

From the Wayback Machine

It was purchased in 2017 by John Kenney, who tried to figure out if there was a way to bring it back. Issues like the inability to find investors and property insurance costs made him decide to put it back on the market.

Today, most of the mountain has grown back. The gondola and T-bar lift towers remain, but trees surround them. Over on Route 16, the lift towers remain and even cross the road. The old base terminal of the gondola is now a gift shop, and one of the lift towers is located right next to the Golden Arches of a McDonald’s. It should be noted that the gift shop and the McDonald’s are not part of the sale.

In December last year, Avery Zucco gave a video tour of the remnants of Whittier, which he had explored earlier in 2023. The tour shows how challenging a skiing revival would be.

In terms of the challenge of bringing it back, Gina Marie, whose family is selling the property, cited the difficulties they’ve faced in reviving Whittier:

“We pay over $40k in insurance annually due to trespassers potentially hurting themselves. We tried raising capital to get skiing there again but would need several 10s of millions, maybe more, because the tram is trash and would need to be completely torn out and rebuilt. Nevermind the rest of the equipment. The lodge needs to be overhauled also. We couldn’t find any investors willing to take the risk. We considered other options for other business operations there and opened it up to the public for ideas but again, nothing. We’re hoping that whoever buys it can afford to maintain its natural environment or invest in a skiing operation there again someday.”

People are priming for more ski resorts to open, and this is a worthy candidate. I feel like the most viable option would be a smaller ski area with multiple off-season activities, similar to what the folks over at Ascutney Outdoors have done.

You can view the listing here. More photos of the property from the NAI Norwood Group are below.

Property Stats

Price: $3.2 Million

Acreage: 797

Location: West Osipee, New Hampshire

If you do reopen the mountain, I’d recommend not using that mascot.

Image/Video Credits: New England Lost Ski Areas Project, Google Earth, Ian Wood, NAI Norwood Group, Avery Zucco,

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