NewEnglandSkiHistory.com
NewEnglandSkiHistory.com: Connecticut Maine Massachusetts New Hampshire Rhode Island Vermont
NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News NewEnglandSkiConditions.com
 
Looking down the gondola line (2015)
Mt. Whittier
Ossipee, New Hampshire
Status: Lost/Defunct
First Season:1940s
Last Season:1984-85
Vertical Drop:1300 feet
Standing Lifts:
Past Lifts:Gondola, surface lifts
Left: Looking down the gondola line (2015)
Recent NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News:
Once a major ski area, Mt. Whittier is perhaps best known today for its old gondola cables crossing Route 16 in West Ossipee, as well as the old lift tower standing near the McDonalds drive thru.

Pre-Skiing Years
The origins of the name of Mt. Whittier date back to the 1800s, when poets John Greenleaf Whittier and Lucy Larcom frequented the The Bearcamp River House in West Ossipee. While the inn burned in 1880, their influence on the area was preserved by the naming of local peaks. A peak near the inn was named after Whittier, complete with a mountain top ceremony. However, due to some confusion, the USGS called this 1,700 foot peak "Nickerson Mountain" and labeled a 2,205 foot mountain to the west "Mt. Whittier."

Mt. Whittier ski area from high above (2008)
Mt. Whittier ski area from high above (2008)
As the twentieth century unfolded, the greater Tamworth area became an increasingly popular winter sports destination. At some point in the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps built a ski trail on the 2,205 foot Mt. Whittier. Around this time, Nickerson Mountain was considered as a possible location for the state aerial tramway project. The tram ended up opening at Cannon Mountain in 1938.

Lift Served Skiing in West Ossipee
Following World War II, multiple rope tows were installed on Nickerson Mountain. Adding to the confusion, the operations were known as various names, such as Mt. Whittier Slope, Taylor Slope, and Mittlebirge Slope. Henry Taylor's area, which likely operated in 1946-47 and 1947-48, was likely located just west of the Mittlebirge Slope. Both areas may have been referred to as Mt. Whittier at various times.

In 1952, the two year old Platter Lift at nearby Red Hill was to be relocated to the Mittlebirge Slopes. The project may have been delayed, as Mittlebirge remained a rope tow area that winter and subsequently went through an ownership change. It is possible that the area may have closed briefly prior to the 1954-55 season. A 2,000 foot platter lift was in place for the 1955-56 season, serving a rather steep slope.

First Expansion Attempt
A three year expansion project was announced starting in 1957, at which point the area likely became known as Mt. Whittier. An upper mountain rope tow was added for that season, as well as a new lodge.

The second year of the project brought a T-Bar to the area, using parts from the recently dismantled Thorn Mountain chairlift. The Platter Lift may have been relocated to the Hobbs novice slope at this time and possibly converted to a T-Bar later.

The third year of the project called for a Disneyland-like bubble lift for the 1959-60 season. For unknown reasons, the project would not come to fruition for a few seasons.

Momentum picked up again in 1962 when new management took over and launched a $400,000 expansion program, backed through the State of New Hampshire Recreation Plan. Amongst the upgrades that year included the installation of the Bearcamp T-Bar, serving slightly more tame terrain. Two new trails were also added, as well as a base lodge expansion. Night skiing was featured for the first time. Harry Baxter, who would later manage Sugarloaf, took over the ski school.

The gondola (1960s)
The gondola (1960s)
The Age of the Gondola
The largest portion of the expansion program came the following year, when the first four person gondola in New Hampshire was installed at Mt. Whittier. Not only did the 6,300 foot long lift open the upper mountain, but it also gave Whittier an off season attraction. While ski operations based around a mountain station south of the main lodge, the base station was located east of the ski area, on the other side of Route 16. As a result, sightseers could park off Route 16, then board the gondola and ride over the highway and river to the summit.

While the lift put Whittier on the map, the ski area had some challenges to attempt to overcome. While the extremely steep terrain was attractive for experts, it tended to scare away novices and intermediates. In addition, without any snowmaking equipment, snow coverage on the steep trails was often an issue. Finally, two interstate highways were being built on the other side of the state, which would soon result in a dramatic shift in skier traffic.

A T-Bar was constructed adjacent to the gondola for the 1965-66 season, possibly using parts from the Hobbs Slope T-Bar. Revenue increased by 42%, making it Whittier's strong season to date. Unfortunately for Whittier, struggles were just around the corner.

Lacking snowmaking, poor winters pushed the ski area into rough financial shape in the early 1970s. The area failed to open for 1973-74 and ended up in the possession of the Federal Economic Development Administration.

The gondola top terminal (2008)
The gondola top terminal (2008)
Ski instructors Bob King, Don McDavitt, and Alan Skelley purchased the ski area and put Ed Mallett in charge, reopening for the 1974-75 season. While the area was able to operate for the balance of the decade, it still lacked snowmaking when Mario Chiaravelotti purchased it.

Closure
Rather than install snowmaking during the snow drought at the turn of the decade, Chiaravelotti installed summer attractions such as summer roller skiing and water slides. The summer business did not work, nor did subsequent bad winters. As a result, the area closed in 1985.

Mt. Madness
After sitting idle for nearly two decades, part of the area reopened around the turn of the century as Mt. Madness. While there were attempts at four season activities, no major ski operation took place. In more recent years, snowmobile races have been held around the base area.


CCC Trails
Trail NameStatus
Mt. Whittier TrailAbandoned

Expansion History
Project
Season
Summit Gondola Area
Abandoned
1963-64

Image Gallery
1959-60 Eastern Ski MapMt. Whitter Gondola top terminal, 1960s vs. 20081964-65 Eastern Ski Map1965-66 Eastern Ski Map
1967-68 Eastern Ski Map1970-71 Eastern Ski Map1971-72 Eastern Ski Map
View All Images in Mt. Whittier Image Gallery


Lifts
Click on lift name for information and photos
Standing Lifts
Installed
The gondola base station circa the 1960sGondola
Mueller
Gondola - 4 Person
1963-64

Past Lifts
Seasons
The Bearcamp T-Bar in 2014Bearcamp T-Bar

T-Bar
1962-63
-
The bottom terminal (2015)Gondola Slope T-Bar

T-Bar
1965-66
-
Hobbs T-Bar

T-Bar
1963-64
-
Pomalift

Platter
1952-53
-
1956-57
T-Bar

T-Bar
1957-58
-
1957-58
The Whittier T-Bar (background) in 2014Whittier T-Bar

T-Bar
1958-59
-

Maps
1958 Mt. Whittier Development Map1962-63 Mt. Whittier Trail Map1963-64 Mt. Whittier Trail Map1964-65 Mt. Whittier Trail Map1967-68 Mt. Whittier Trail Map1969-70 Mt. Whittier trail map1970-71 Mt. Whittier Trail Map1976-77 Mt. Whittier Trail Map
View All Mt. Whittier Trail Maps

Year by Year History
Adult Weekend Full Day Lift Ticket; Adult Full Price Unlimited Season Pass
1980s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1980-81$11.001980-81 Ticket Price Graph1980-81 Season Pass Price Graph1980-81 Skier Visit Graph
1970s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1976-77$9.001976-77 Ticket Price Graph1976-77 Season Pass Price Graph1976-77 Skier Visit Graph
1971-72$7.001971-72 Ticket Price Graph1971-72 Season Pass Price Graph1971-72 Skier Visit Graph
1970-71$7.001970-71 Ticket Price Graph1970-71 Season Pass Price Graph1970-71 Skier Visit Graph
1969-70$7.001969-70 Ticket Price Graph1969-70 Season Pass Price Graph1969-70 Skier Visit Graph
1960s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1967-68$6.001967-68 Ticket Price Graph1967-68 Season Pass Price Graph1967-68 Skier Visit Graph
1964-65$5.501964-65 Ticket Price Graph1964-65 Season Pass Price Graph1964-65 Skier Visit Graph
1963-64$5.501963-64 Ticket Price Graph1963-64 Season Pass Price Graph1963-64 Skier Visit Graph
1962-63$4.501962-63 Ticket Price Graph1962-63 Season Pass Price Graph1962-63 Skier Visit Graph
1961-621961-62 Ticket Price Graph1961-62 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 22April 11961-62 Skier Visit Graph
1959-60$5.001959-60 Ticket Price Graph1959-60 Season Pass Price Graph1959-60 Skier Visit Graph
1950s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1958-59$4.501958-59 Ticket Price Graph1958-59 Season Pass Price Graph1958-59 Skier Visit Graph

Visitor Memories
"Being from a small western MA town, we rarely got up there, but I can remember when I was REALLY young (lol) taking the lift .... now I have a cabin, about seven miles from that ol' ski area, and every time I drive past it, the good memories come flooding back ~~~ .every time."
Norma Miarecki, Dec. 15, 2015
"skied here every winter in the early sixties. the pitch from the top of the big T-bar was the best mogul run around!!Took that slope straight from the top to the bottom once as well!"
Tim Goodson, Dec. 15, 2015
"Being a young boy at Camp Marist for all my childhood, Mt Whittier was a much anticipated day trip for us. As an adult I swooshed those slopes many a winter while staying at the Flanders Inn across the street (and a great family owned an operated it).Ah, memories!:)"
Bob Miressi, Aug. 12, 2013
Add a memory of Mt. Whittier
First Name:
Last Name:
E-Mail Address:
Comments:



External Links
  • Mt. Whittier Ski Area - New England Lost Ski Areas Project
  • Lost Ski Areas of the White Mountains - Amazon.com
  • Mt. Whittier Ski Area - Wikipedia
  • Last updated: December 14, 2015

    Also on NewEnglandSkiHistory.com...
    Shawnee Peak's Pleasant Past
    Shawnee Peak's Pleasant Past
    A grand hotel in northern New Hampshire
    A grand hotel in northern New Hampshire
    A classic trail cut by the Civilian Conservation Corps
    A classic trail cut by the Civilian Conservation Corps
    A ski area built on Massachusetts' highest peak that never opened...
    A ski area built on Massachusetts' highest peak that never opened...
    A lost ski area with a gondola!
    A lost ski area with a gondola!
    West Bowl at Jay Peak?
    West Bowl at Jay Peak?
       CCC Trails    Cancelled Ski Areas    Expansions    Lifts    Management    Maps    News    Then and Now    Timelines    Topics    In The Press    Links    Site Map    What's New    Feedback

    Copyright 2002-2016, All Rights Reserved.