Dummerston, Vermont- For years, an entrepreneur has tried to redevelop the base lodge of an abandoned Vermont ski area. Since 2018, Keane Aures, who practices construction law in Connecticut, has been trying to convert Maple Valley’s base lodge into a brewery, distillery, and event venue. However, getting through the cumbersome Vermont Act 250 process, which is required for developments, was costlier than anticipated. The project finally got the green light after a Vermont Supreme Court ruling last year.

In April, The Commons gave an update on what has become a years-long process to convert the old base lodge into a brewery. The Whetstone Beer Company in Brattleboro was sold to Aures earlier this year, which will give him ownership of the production facility. It should be noted he does not own the Whetstone Station in Brattleboro. A new beer line, North Chair Brewing, named after one of the old Maple Valley chairlifts, will be a part of the Whetstone Beer Company lineup.

According to Aures, one of the reasons they went through with the beer company was to fund the Maple Valley project:

“We saw the purchase of Whetstone as a big part of it, to help fund some of the Maple Valley work. So now we’re focused on the transition, and immediately in front of us is making sure that we’re making the best beer that we can and getting it back into distribution.”

In terms of a timeline for the Maple Valley brewery project, this quote from Aures makes it sound like we’re still years away from it coming back to life:

“I stopped putting a date on it a long time ago. We hope to start doing some work later this year. But the cost to construct anything has risen greatly since 2018. Our initial budget was essentially ruined, to put it nicely.”

Probably the most interesting part of the article for skiers and riders was his comments on a potential reopening of Maple Valley as a ski area:

Never say never.”

In my opinion, don’t get your hopes up on that part, as they need to overcome many hurdles for a ski area that hasn’t operated in decades. We’re really rooting for this brewery and distillery project to succeed, though, as it’s a cool redevelopment for a famous lost ski area.

Click here to read the full article from The Commons, which dives into the brewery scene in the Brattleboro area.

Image Credits: Sugar Mountain Holdings, LLC, Skimap.org

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