Have you ever wanted to own a lost ski area? Another New England ski area that closed in the 1980s is back on the market. Beginning September 8 at 4 p.m. EST, bidding will begin on snow valley, a lost ski area in Vermont. The mountain has a buy-it-now price of $3.65 million. Its reserve price is $2.05 million, which is the minimum bid you can make on the property at the start of the auction. A deposit of $100,000 is required to make an offer, and there is a 12% buyer’s premium and a 2% co-broke commission.
The history of skiing in Snow Valley may date back to the 1930s, but there is no evidence that any ski lift operations took place during that decade. Its towline debuted in January 1942 and they added a T-bar in February of that year. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, it was one of the largest ski areas in the Northeast. The mountain receives an average of 120 inches of snow each winter, and the north-facing slopes help channel the snow to preserve it for spring skiing.
Unfortunately, bigger competitors like Bromley and Stratton started to appear and took his thunder. As the mountain grew and a chairlift was added over the following decades, it could not keep up with local rivals. The mountain probably closed after the 1983-84 season. While one owner tried to run it as a private ski area, none succeeded. To learn more about its history, see History of Skiing in New England and NELSAP.
A problem that could arise for a new owner is Vermont Law 250, in which the state must approve large developments. Maple Valley, another lost ski area in southern Vermont, was purchased four years ago, and the new owners want to turn the former base lodge into a brewery and distillery. He has spent the past two years battling with the state of Vermont over minor issues like an overflow parking lot that could affect fish in a nearby river.
The real estate flyer says they have an ACT 250 permit, so it looks like reopening the ski resort is possible. The next question is what can you add to the small ski area, as recent Google Earth images show that the old base lodge is being demolished.
Even if you could exceed the 250 law, the buyer should be realistic about their target market. Bromley is right next door, and you have Magic Mountain and Stratton Mountain a few miles from Snow Valley, so the competition is fierce. If you were to jump regulatory hurdles and reopen the ski area, the move would have affordable lift tickets and provide a welcoming experience for everyone. Alternatively, it could become a private ski resort, cross-country ski mountain, mountain biking location, or hiking destination. If you rate people, they’ll be back in the real estate market in no time. In my opinion, there is no viable path to success as a public ski area.
You can check the list hereand some pictures of the property and the former ski area below.
Price: $3.65 million, minimum bid $2.05 million when auction opens Sept. 8.
Vertical drop: 900 feet
Local competitors: Bromley, Stratton, Magic Mountain