Jeremy Davis, 32, has written another fascinating book about lost ski areas, this one covering 60 in Southern Vermont in 160 pages with 180 photographs.
Davis has always had a thing for the history of this sport. He began exploring lost areas while a teen-ager, and founded the New England Lost Ski Areas Project, at age 20 while in college. Nelsap struck a chord and has attracted a large, loyal base of fans, many of them fanatical about their devotion to the site which contains biographies on most of the region's lost areas.
Lost Ski Areas of Southern Vermont includes Maple Valley, Hogback, Dutch Hill, Snow Valley, Sugar Bush (not the posh resort of similar name in Northern Vermont), and 55 others, with much information, including photos, not contained on the nelsap Web site.
Each area once provided opportunity for winter fun that now exists only as memory.
"The peak number of ski areas in New England was in 1970," Davis told OnTheSnow.com. "Then everything started to fall apart. So many had been built, it reached a saturation point. The large areas that we have today were growing, and the small family areas couldn't compete. It was simply too expensive to improve lifts, snowmaking, grooming and so on.
"There were some other factors. Insurance rates went up. The energy crises of the 1970s hit so people were not driving very far. There were a string of bad snow years. Everything started to fail," he said.
"The peak number running in Southern Vermont was 40 to 45. That's a lot of areas for the number of skiers out there," Davis said.
Davis said areas with a vertical of 1,500 feet or more may close, but don't seem to stay closed.
Volunteer, community areas were hard hit, he said, as fewer people had time or inclination to help run them.
He mentioned Living Memorial Park in Brattleboro and Rockingham Recreation Rope Tow in Bellows Falls, both still operating, as examples of this type of area.
"It's amazing how much information and material is out there. But time is of the essence. As we move further and further into the 2000s, the 1940s and ‘50s get further away. People die, things get thrown out, ski areas get grown in. We've got to document it now before it's too late.
"I've got great photos of Dutch Hill from 1985, the last year it operated, and in 1990, five years later. We see the area abandoned, saplings and brush starting to grow on the slopes, buildings boarded up. Then another photo from seven years later shows the trails completely forested, and then photos from today, it's unrecognizable as a ski area, with 25-year-old forest. It's a very interesting progression of pictures," Davis said.
"It was a lot of work to get it done," he said. "It's good to have it all set."
More information: Lost Ski Areas of Southern Vermont, published by The History Press, costs $19.99 and is available online.