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Stowe: A Community for Skiing

StoweSkiing became a major part of life in Stowe because:

  • Since the 1850s, Stowe and Mt.   Mansfield had been a tourist destination. Summer visitors traveled up   the Toll Road to the Summit Hotel.
  • Craig O. Burt of the C. E. and   F. O. Burt Logging Company recognized a growing interest among the local   population for ski jumping and racing. He developed existing logging   roads in the Ranch Valley into downhill runs.
  • During the Depression, Perry   Merrill, Vermont State Forester, hired unemployed men to work in the   Civilian Conservation Corps to cut ski trails, to build roads, and to   increase access to Mt. Mansfield State Land. Merrill hired Charlie Lord,   an early explorer of Mt. Mansfield, to oversee the work.
  • Outdoor enthusiasts such as   Roland Palmedo of the Amateur Ski Club of New York reinforced the notion   that flatlanders would come to ski.
  • An Austrian ski instructor named   Sepp Ruschp came to Stowe, and later with the financial support of   investors such as C.V. Starr, stimulated the expansion of the area into   the Ski Capital of the East.

The rest is history. Lifts were built; ski patrol developed;   races were held; local racers became champions. Stowe continues to   nourish new generations of winter sports lovers.

StoweEarliest Times

  • 1794:  Stowe's first settler, Oliver Luce, arrives (April 16th).
  • 1826:  What is now the Fountain Inn was built as a private home.
  • 1833:  What is now the Green Mountain Inn was built as a private home.
  • 1857:  Lower part of Toll Road built. It was extended to the Nose in 1870 and rebuilt to accommodate autos 1920-23.
  • 1858:  The Summit House was built under the Nose on Mt. Mansfield.  It was enlarged in 1860 and 1923, and razed in 1964.
  • 1862:  (circa) What is now the Lodge at Stowe Mountain Resort was built as part of a farm.
  • 1864:  The Mt. Mansfield Hotel was built in Stowe village.  It was destroyed by fire in 1889.
  • 1910:  Barnes Camp was built for wintertime logging crews, used in summers by Long Trail hikers.  The Burt Company replaced the original structure in 1927.
  • 1911:  The first section of the Long Trail was cut, between the Forehead and Chin on Mt. Mansfield.
  • 1914:  Dartmouth librarian Nathaniel Goodrich made the first recorded descent of Mt. Mansfield on skis, on the Toll Road.
  • 1921:  Stowe held its first Winter Carnival (February 23rd).
  • 1939:  The first Sugar Slalom held on Nose Dive. (April 30th)

StoweThe 1930s

  • 1932: Craig O. Burt renovated his lumber camp-the Ranch Camp-for the first overnight skiers.  The Stowe Ski Club (renamed Mt. Mansfield Ski Club) was formed & made its headquarters at Ranch Camp.
  • 1933: November, the C.C.C. cut the first trail specifically designed for skiing-the Bruce Trail.
  • 1934: First official race on the Bruce Trail (February 25th).
  • 1934-1935: First ski patrol formed. Nose Dive Trail cut.
  • 1936:  January, the Stone Hut was completed, the first permanent warming shelter on Mt. Mansfield.
  • 1936:  December, Sepp Ruschp arrived from Austria, hired by the Mt. Mansfield Ski Club to teach skiing at the Toll House.
  • 1937:  The first lift on Mt. Mansfield began operation (February 7th ), a rope tow at the Toll House powered by a 1927 Cadillac engine. Cost: 10 cents a ride, $5 a season.
  • 1937:  U.S. Eastern Amateur Association Downhill championships held on the Nose Dive (February 21st ). The race thrust Stowe into national ski racing prominence.
  • 1938:  Men's & Women's National Downhill &; Slalom championship races held on Nose Dive.

StoweThe 1940s

  • 1940:  Stowe's Marilyn Shaw won the Combined National Championship at Sun Valley (March 22nd  & 23rd).
  • 1940: The Midway, The (Charley) Lord & S-53 trails cut.
  • 1940:  Mt. Mansfield   single chairlift began operation, the longest (6,330 feet) and highest (2,030 feet vertical rise) in the country at the time (December 9th). Cost: 60 cents a ride.  The Octagon warming hut was built at the top of the single chair lift.
  • 1941:  Marilyn Shaw won the National Slalom Championship at Aspen (March). The Skimeister trail was cut.
  • 1942-43:  C.V. Starr visited Stowe for the first time that season, marking the beginning of his friendship & business partnership with Sepp Ruschp.
  • 1943:  The von Trapp family arrived in Stowe and built the original Trapp Family Lodge.
  • 1945:  The first Stowe Derby was held-a race from Mt. Mansfield to Stowe Village-won by Sepp Ruschp  (February 28th).
  • 1946:  Mt. Mansfield T-bar lift began operation, serving the new Tyro, Standard Gulch & North Slope trails.
  • 1948: A newToll House was built.
  • 1949: Two rope tows and a warming shelter built on Little Spruce.

The 1950s

  • 1950:  A 2,000 foot T-bar was built on Little Spruce to replace the two rope tows.
  • 1951 & 1952: The National trail was cut.
  • 1952:  Men's and Women's National Championships held at Stowe (March 22nd  & 23rd).
  • 1954:  At 9:30 a.m., Pat Sweetser of Cambridge, MA, became the 1,000,000th rider of the Mt. Mansfield single chair (February 14th).
  • 1954: The Big Spruce double chairlift began operation, serving the new Main Street and Sterling trails (December 18th). The Main Street restaurant was built at the base of Big Spruce and the Lookout warming shelter at the top.
  • 1956: The Toll House T-bar replaced the original rope tow. The Smuggler's trail was cut. The Spruce House was constructed.
  • 1956:  Stowe's Marvin Moriarty, at age 17, was the youngest skier to be picked for the U.S. Olympic Team.

The 1960s

  • 1960:  Betsy Snite won the silver medal in slalom in the 1960 Olympics (February).
  • 1960:  The Mt. Mansfield double chairlift began operation, located to the left of the single chair (December 17th).
  • 1960-61:  New trails cut-Centerline, Maiden Lane, Hayride, International (later renamed Starr), Chamois (later renamed Goat).
  • 1963:  The Little Spruce double chairlift began operation, serving the new East Run, West Run and Side Street trails.
  • 1964:  The Town of Stowe throws a welcome-home party & parade for local son Billy Kidd, to celebrate his winning a silver medal in the 1964 Olympics-the first U.S.   man to win an Olympic skiing medal (March 11th).
  • 1965:  The famous seven turns on the Nose Dive were modified to three "S" turns.
  • 1967:  First snowmaking operations, on Little Spruce trails.
  • 1968:  The original gondola began operation on November 30th, serving the new Gondolier, Switchback and Cliff trails, along with the relocated Perry Merrill and Chin Clip trails. Cliff House restaurant constructed.
  • 1968:  Johannes von Trapp   created a cross-country ski touring center at the Trapp Family Lodge. Some of the best touring routes led into or around Ranch Valley, where downhill skiing on Mt. Mansfield started in the 1930s.

The 1970s

  • 1971:  The Trapp Family Lodge built The Cabin in their cross-country ski trail network.
  • 1976-1977: The Crossover trail opened.
  • 1979:  The Alpine slide opened at Spruce Peak for summer entertainment.
  • 1979:  First snowmaking operations on Mt. Mansfield.
  • 1979:  Lookout double chairlift began operation (December).

The 1980s

  • 1982:  The Toll House chairlift replaced the T-bar there, connecting the Toll House area to the rest of Mt. Mansfield and creating the Easy Mile trail. Ski school moved to Spruce Peak.
  • 1983:  Snowboarding was permitted on Mt. Mansfield for the first time. Burton Snowboards now have metal edges to handle icy terrain.
  • 1983:  Stowe's Tiger Shaw won the giant slalom at the U.S. National Championships (February).  He went on to be a member of the 1984 and 1988 U.S. Olympic teams.
  • 1985:  The Mt. Mansfield triple chairlift replaced the T-bar.
  • 1986:  Last day of operation for the Mt. Mansfield single & double chairlifts (April 13th).
  • 1986:  The Forerunner high-speed detachable quad chairlift began operation, the first lift of its kind in the East (December).

The 1990s to NOW

  • 1991:  The 8-passenger high-speed gondola began operation, replacing the original gondola built in 1968.  Like the quad, the new gondola was the first of its kind in the East (December 21st).
  • 1992: The first evening of night skiing at the gondola, on the Upper Perry Merrill and Gondolier trails (December 19th).
  • 1995:  Charlie Lord, the architect of Stowe skiing, died.
  • ????:  The halfpipe was built for the first time.
  • ????:  The terrain park was built for the first time.
  • Into the Future ( Stay Tuned.. )

On-slope lodging, new base lodge, increased snowmaking, new lifts & new trails on Spruce Peak.

Expanded base lodge, increased snowmaking, new lifts & new trails on Mt. Mansfield.

Connector lift between Mt. Mansfield & Spruce Peak.

Stowe residents continue to excel and win competitions.