Whaleback Mountain is intertwined with the proud tradition of New England skiing that dates back a hundred years, with New Hampshire being called the cradle of U.S. Alpine skiing. Did you know, however, that over the last few decades New England has lost over 500 ski areas? (See New England Lost Ski Areas Project at www.nelsap.org.) Granted, many of them were rope tow operations, but they kept skiing alive at the grassroots community level. A number of operations have re-opened, including good old Whaleback with its vintage Poma Double Chair.
As part of the rich small mountain tradition that belies the foofy, slick resort, we thought we’d share some of our history with you.
Olympic Nordic Jumper, Ernie Dion (See bio below) founded Snowcrest (to be renamed Whaleback) with a 1,000-ft Poma surface lift on the run we now call Spout. A second 1,500-ft t-bar was built.
Jim Griffiths bought Snowcrest, changed the name to Whaleback, and installed the Poma double chairlift to the summit. Our Poma double is 2,500 feet long, rising 700 vertical feet, powered by an electric drive with diesel auxiliary. Rumor is that it’s the only one in operation of its kind in the country.
A trio of Dartmouth grads, including Jeff Reed (who is a current investor) and another partner, bought the mountain. They installed snowmaking and lights for night skiing, and, consequently, the typical ski season at Whaleback was expanded from 30 to 100 days.
Whaleback was closed.
Tim and Sally Herbert (Sally is Jim Griffith’s daughter) bought Whaleback and operated it until 2001. Under their tenure they made numerous improvements and upgrades to the mountain and lodge. Today, they remain great supporters of Whaleback and participate in the Thursday Night Adult Race League.
Whaleback was closed.
Founded by former Olympian Evan Dybvig, Frank Sparrow, and Dylan Goodspeed, Whaleback Mountain LLC purchased Whaleback from the Herberts. The trios mission was to create a year round action sports facility. Sparrow and Goodspeed ran the Zero Gravity Skate Park in Rutland, VT. In the spring of 2013, Randolph National Bank forecloses on the main Whaleback property.
In the spring of 2013, a group of Whaleback supporters found the nonprofit Upper Valley Snow Sports Foundation (UVSSF), with a mission to preserve Whaleback. Following the bank auction of the Whaleback property (at which the bank bought it from itself) and after much negotiation, in October 2013 UVSSF assumes management of the mountain.