Ski Connecticut: History And Quality With Some Nutmeg -

Connecticut, the Nutmeg state, offers skiing close to home in southern New England, at areas that make up in history and quality what they lack in vertical drop. Four areas provide fun and affordability for the Constitution State's skiers and riders.

Walter Schoenknecht, the visionary behind Vermont's Mount Snow, created Mohawk Mountain in the Southern Berkshires, near Torrington. This is the oldest and largest ski area in Connecticut, and dubbed "the home of snowmaking."

A group of the ski team at Mohawk Mountain, Connecticut

Schoenknecht was a snowmaking pioneer and was already figuring out how to make snow in 1948. The resort's 24 trails are all covered by snowmaking today, and most of them are available for night skiing. Mohawk is a private corporation working in partnership with the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection at Mohawk State Park. Mohawk State Forest has cross-country trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing at the top of the mountain but are not maintained or connected with the Ski Area.

Mohawk's summit is 1,600 feet above sea level, and affords a vertical drop of 650 feet, with the longest trail 1.25 miles. A triple, four doubles and a carpet provide access to the area's trails, 95 percent of them covered by snowmaking.

Ski Sundown is close to the Hartford metro market. In fact, it is located in New Hartford. The resort was one of the first to welcome snowboarders in 1984. There are 15 trails, 14 of them lighted for night skiing, and all covered by snowmaking.

A skier catching some air at Ski Sundown

Tom's Treat, the easiest trail, also is the longest, at one mile.Vertical drop from the 1,075-foot-high summit is 625 feet.Sundown also has two terrain parks, Stinger and Sensation. The trail network is served by three triple chairs, a double, and a conveyor.

Mount Southington in Plantsville is a few miles west of Hartford, on I-84.

The area has 14 trails and an alpine park, with 51 skiable acres of terrain, two double chairs, two T-bars, two handle tows and a carpet. Vertical drop is 425 feet from Mt. Southington's 525-foot summit.

Rod Taylor, owner of Woodbury Ski Area, is a native of West Hartford, U.S. Ski Team alum, and holder of the 1970 national downhill title. While modest in size, Woodbury is big in the world of Connecticut ski racing, as one might imagine from its founder's love of racing.

Early season snow at Mount Southington

Taylor hoped to build ski racing among Connecticut high schools, and largely succeeded, with a race league of 24 teams within a few years of opening. He also welcomed snowboarders, started reggae fests to fill the summer months, and built a skate park.

Woodbury has a summit elevation of 850 feet, vertical drop of 300 feet, and 100 skiable acres, with the longest run a half mile. Woodbury West has a double chair, a magic carpet, a handle tow and a rope tow. Woodbury West has a magic carpet, a handle tow, snow tubing, cross-country and downhill.

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