Located off of Spring Street on the northern slope of Storrs Hill in Lebanon, Storrs Hill ski area is one of the oldest lift served operations in New England.
Storrs Hill Ski Area dates back to the 1920s, when Norwegian immigrant Erling Heisted helped to develop a ski jumping into a major local sport. Circa 1930, Heisted helped construct 13 ski jumps throughout town, teaching children both how to jump and how to maintain their neighborhood's facility.
At some point in the latter half of the 1930s, a 1,000 foot long rope tow was installed adjacent to the Storrs Hill jump, serving 200 vertical feet both day and night. In addition, the hike-up Storrs Hill Trail spanned 500 vertical feet. A second 1,000 foot rope tow was planned just prior to World War II, however it is not known if it was ever constructed.
Snow Crest Opens
Ernest Dion, champion ski jumper and operator of a ski school at Storrs, opened Snow Crest ski area a few miles south of Lebanon in 1956-57. Initially served by a T-Bar, Snow Crest provided locals modern skiing facilities.
Construction of the base lodge (1996)
Storrs Hill Revitalized
Upon selling Snow Crest about a decade later, Dion refocused his efforts on Storrs Hill. A year after Snow Crest became known as Whaleback, Dion helped to get a new Heron Poma platter lift installed at Storrs Hill. The new lift, extending uphill through woods from the top of the tow, provided a vertical drop of 300 feet.
The 1980s were a trying time for Storrs, as escalating labor costs and winters of poor snowfall took their toll. In 1986, the City of Lebanon decided to get out of the ski business. The Lebanon Outing Club stepped up and took over operational control of Storrs Hill ski area.
Around this time, makeshift snowmaking operations were attempted in order to provide lessons for local schools during snowless winters. Circa 1988, the Lebanon Outing Club sought bids for a formal snowmaking system. After the lowest bid came in at $175,000, the club decided to build its own through the support and donations of members and local businesses. The club was able to install their system for only $43,000.
In 1992, the club rebuilt its main jump and judges' stand. On November 6, 1994, the jumping judge's stand was burned to the ground. Firefighters tapped into the snowmaking system and kept the fire from spreading to the jump.
In 1996, the base lodge was replaced with a brand new building.
The platter lift (2013)
For the 2011-12 season, the City of Lebanon helped purchase new night skiing lights for the main slope.
Storrs Hill remains in operation to this day due to the support of locals. Most of the area's labor is provided by volunteers, while much of its funding comes from the City of Lebanon and its school programs, the Carter Witherell Foundation, and club dues. Most recently, Storrs Hill made headlines as two alumni, Nick Alexander (ski jumping) and Mikaela Shiffrin (gold medal in slalom), competed in the 2014 Winter Olympics.