By Erme Catino
Earlier this winter I was lucky to spend the Christmas blizzard lapping powder at one of Vermont’s few remaining classic resorts: Magic Mountain. Being my first time to Magic, 20 inches was more than enough to make the day memorable, but the throwback nature of the resort was equally as exciting—it’s a quality that many of the ski resorts in New England have lost.
Next December marks the 50th Anniversary of Magic Mountain, a mountain that since its opening has seen its fair share of ups and downs. Founded in 1961, by Swiss ski instructor Hans Thorner, Magic’s windy trails were meant to simulate the Swiss Valley’s offering of diverse terrain. Thorner even constructed a small Swiss Village at the base, complete with a hostel and après bar that apparently was pretty rowdy in the 70’s. The mountain was so popular in the early years that Thorner had to limit ticket sales, and on designated “ladies days,” guys flocked in numbers to ski and give chase.
While the resort was forced to close for a number of years in the 90’s, its recent co-op partnership and cult status has revived the resort. Save Magic Mountain, a group of skiers/riders who have dedicated their time to keeping the resort afloat, are the core group keeping the spirit alive. This crew has no problem calling in sick and hitting the road for five hours on mid-week powder dumps.
Recently Save Magic Mountain launched a fundraising campaign to improve the resort’s operations. The program, Paint The Red Chair, is offering skiers and riders the opportunity to pledge $100 and re-paint one of chairs on the Red Line Chairlift. And in the past two years the lift has seen mechanical improvements, but Save Magic members are hoping for a shiny new chair on the resort’s 50th anniversary.
According to Greg Williams of Save Magic Mountain, the resort desperately could use this upgrade as many of the current chairs are littered with rust. Participants in the campaign can choose the chair of their choice and will have their name appear on a plaque which will be located at the Red Line Base Station.
As of Thursday, April 14, 82 chairs of the 177 total have been spoken for—so, if you’re hoping to be a part of Magic’s resurgence, you will need to act quickly. Email [email protected] for details.
Magic’s Mountain’s ownership, along with their dedicated group of skiers and riders, has worked hard to bring the resort back. And, hopefully, the resort will see another 50 years and more “ladies” days.