Last updated: January 21, 2017
Located on the eastern face of 4,003 foot Mt. Tecumseh, Waterville Valley ski area has been one of the best known ski areas in New England for nearly half a century.|
The Mt. Tecumseh Ski Trails and Waterville Inn
Organized skiing on Mt. Tecumseh dates back to 1934, when the first
Mt. Tecumseh CCC ski trail cut. Three years later, a second version of the trail was cut, crossing through the present day ski area. The first trail was abandoned circa 1940, while the second trail became a popular place to race. Many well-known racers competed on the Mt. Tecumseh Trail in the 1940s, including a young Tom Corcoran.
Mt. Tecumseh aerial rendering from 1964 showing the CCC trail
Circa 1940, there was a proposal to build a lift on the second Mt. Tecumseh Trail. Not much is known about this proposal, but it was eventually rejected by the United States Forest Service. Mt. Tecumseh would wait a quarter of a century before its next serious ski lift proposal.
Meanwhile, across the valley from Mt. Tecumseh the Waterville Inn was looking to attract skier visitors. Circa 1941, Edward Romeo opened a rope tow near the inn. Sometimes known as Waterville Valley ski area, this development would eventually become Snow's Mountain.
As the 1960s unfolded, Waterville Valley was in danger of being wiped off the map. In 1962, the last annual Tecumseh race was held, as lift served ski areas dethroned hike up, ski down trails. By the middle of the decade, Waterville Valley had only 22 residents remaining. Meanwhile, Interstate 93 was expanding north to the White Mountains.
Corcoran Returns to the East
Circa 1964, Ralph Bean was telling people that he was ready to sell the Waterville Inn, its small ski area, and about 400 acres. With personal knowledge of the area, Sel Hannah brought former Olympic skier Tom Corcoran into the fold. Corcoran also allegedly brought a friend with him, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who helped him procure financing and permits. Corcoran and Bean formed a new firm to handle the development, called the Waterville Company.
The base area circa the 1960s
In February of 1966, clearing commenced for the Corcoran and Sel Hannah designed trail network. In April, Corcoran revived the old fashioned Tecumseh race. Surrounded by freshly cut trails, well known skiers such as Corcoran, his wife Birdie, George Macomber, Bobo Sheehan, Natalie Kate White, Walter Prager, and Hannah.
The estimated $2.5 million development opened for the 1966-67 season as one of the largest ski areas in New England. The lift network was composed of four Stadeli double chairlifts spanning some 2,000 vertical feet along with a novice J-Bar. In addition to two large buildings in the base area, the Birds Nest was constructed near the top of the main double chairlift. A large snowmaking system was installed, ensuring operations in lean years. The former Waterville Inn ski area was renamed Snow's Mountain and used as an overflow facility.
For the second season, work was done on the two base lodges and a racing T-Bar was installed.
Dark Times and the Sunnyside
On June 5, 1968, Waterville Valley advocate and skier Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated while campaigning in California. For the 1968-69 season, Corcoran opened "Bobby's Run," which was dedicated to his friend. The trail became a key part to the new export Sunnyside Area, which opened with a new double chairlift in 1969-70.
Waterville Valley in the late 1960s or early 1970s
1977 saw a sizable investment of $1.2 million in the ski area. Nearly half a million dollars was spent rebuilding the snowmaking system top to bottom, while a similar amount was spent on improvements to the buildings at the Sunnyside and main base areas. Most noticeable of all was the addition of a triple chairlift on the Valley Run and clearing of new trails. Two years later, the Sunnyside chairlift was upgraded from a double to a triple.
In the fall of 1979, Tom Corcoran purchased the bankrupt Bobcat ski area and merged it with Crotched Mountain. Corcoran would leave the ownership of that group in the 1980s.
In 1981, Corcoran renamed the Birds Nest to the Schwendi Hut in honor of 10th Mountain Division veteran Walter Prager, who was originally from Switzerland.
For the 1982-83 season, the Northside double chairlift was installed, providing an upper elevation lift that would play into early season snowmaking trail rollouts.
Uphill capacity was further addressed for the 1985-86 season, when a new triple chairlift was installed on the main mountain.
In October of 1986, the Tax Reform Act of 1986 was signed, resulting in a change in deductions for real estate investments. Unfortunately for Waterville Valley, this happened while they were developing Town Square and the Golden Eagle. Seemingly overnight, the pre-sales in new development dropped from 100% to 10%.
1988-89 saw two drastic changes at Waterville. For the first time, snowboarders were allowed on the mountain, paving the way to a future focus on terrain parks. Secondly, New Hampshire's first high speed detachable quad was installed. Initially a top to bottom installation, significant clearing in the High Country resulted in severe wind exposure, often closing the lift. Eight years later, the lift was shortened to terminate at the bottom of the High Country.
The Bottom Falls Out
In 1991, Waterville's two main lenders, East Bank and Dartmouth Bank, failed. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation took on their debt and immediately applied pressure on Waterville Valley.
The Village Triple in the late 1970s or early 1980s
Corcoran attempted to bring in new investors to help defuse the problem. In 1993, Merv Griffin's Griffin Group placed of its executives on the Waterville Company Board of Directors. While Waterville's balance sheet was in reasonable shape and its debt reduced since the bank failures, the FDIC situation prevented the company from getting its normal seasonal working capital in 1994. As a result, the Waterville Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Waterville Valley Goes Corporate
On October 31, 1994, S-K-I Ltd. purchased Waterville for $10,037,631. Waterville's tenure under S-K-I Ltd. would be short lived, as it was rolled into American Skiing Company following the 1995-96 season. Due to anti-trust concerns, the ownership was forced to sell Waterville and Cranmore. Pursuant to the Justice Department order, American Skiing Company sold Cranmore and Waterville Valley to Booth Creek Ski Holdings, Inc. for $17.2 million on November 27, 1996.
The new arrangement worked out well initially, as the new ownership installed Waterville's second high speed detachable quad chairlift for the 1997-98 season. Soon thereafter, Loon was added to the Booth Creek portfolio, creating a powerful Waterville-Loon-Cranmore "Threedom Pass." Unfortunately, Booth Creek had financial problems of its own, resulting in stagnation at Waterville as the seasons passed.
The abandoned top terminal of the White Peaks high speed quad (2007)
Local Ownership Returns
After over a decade of ownership, Booth Creek sold Waterville Valley to a group of investors, including John Sununu, on October 8, 2010. The new owners immediately began significant work on deferred maintenance.
In 2011, two related expansion proposals emerged. The decades old vision of connecting downtown Waterville Valley to the ski area was put back on the table, as a Village Gondola was formally proposed. The gondola would connect to new terrain on Green Peak. The Green Peak proposal was approved by the White Mountain National Forest Supervisor on June 21, 2013. Initial clearing commenced in the spring of 2015.
Wide scale work on Green Peak began in late August 2016, resulting in the clearing of all approved trails. Trails on lower Green Peak debuted on January 14, 2017.
||Average Percent of Terrain Open
|November||10% (1 report)|
|December||5% (2 reports)|
|January||85% (1 report)|
|February||85% (1 report)|
|March||98% (2 reports)|
|April||45% (3 reports)||
-- start conditions table -->
|Recent Conditions Reports|
|Apr. 15, 2017 by newenglandskier13|
Spring Snow, Variable Conditions
|Apr. 8, 2017 by nordicgal|
Variable Conditions, Powder
|Apr. 8, 2017 by rocket21|
Variable Conditions, Variable Conditions
|Mar. 31, 2017 by nordicgal|
Packed Powder, Frozen Granular
|Mar. 4, 2017 by crossbowsr|
Variable Conditions, Wind Blown Snow
|Waterville Valley Resort on NewEnglandSkiConditions.com|
|High Country Lift Replacement Underway at Waterville Valley - Sep. 21, 2017|
|Construction Ramps Up as Ski Season Nears - Sep. 3, 2017|
|Trail Work Projects Underway in New England - Aug. 15, 2017|
|Summer Lift Construction Continues in New England - Aug. 9, 2017|
|New England Lift Construction Projects in Various Stages - Jul. 15, 2017|
|Waterville Valley Proposes New High Country T-Bar - Jun. 30, 2017|
|Waterville Valley Founder Tom Corcoran Passes Away - Jun. 28, 2017|
|Green Peak Construction Continues at Waterville Valley - Jun. 11, 2017|
|New Hampshire Governor Faces Ethics Complaint After Waterville Valley Tweet - Mar. 23, 2017|
|Snow's Mountain Reopens for One Day - Feb. 25, 2017|
|Waterville Valley Resort NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News Page|
Click on lift name for information and photos
Year by Year History
Adult Weekend Full Day Lift Ticket; Adult Full Price Unlimited Season Pass
||Season Pass Price
|2016-17||$81.00||$979.00||12.1 days||November 25||April 16|
|2015-16||$77.00||$949.00||12.3 days||November 27||April 2||88,657|
|2014-15||$75.00||$929.00||12.4 days||November 22||April 12||158,977|
|2013-14||$75.00||$899.00||12.0 days||November 23||April 7||151,843|
|2012-13||$73.00||$845.00||11.6 days||November 17||April 14||160,750|
|2011-12||$73.00||$819.00||11.2 days||November 25||April 1||131,726|
|2010-11||$69.00||November 26||April 10||185,626|
||Season Pass Price
|2008-09||$65.00||$749.00||11.5 days||November 22||190,082|
|2007-08||$61.00||$849.00||13.9 days||April 13||202,026|
|2006-07||$59.00||$569.00||9.6 days||April 8||179,471|
|2002-03||$39.00||$489.00||12.5 days||April 6||223,065|
||Season Pass Price
|1998-99||$46.00||$995.00||21.6 days||April 4||239,000|
||Season Pass Price
||Season Pass Price
||Season Pass Price
Waterville Valley - official site
Mt. Tecumseh - FranklinSites.com Hiking Guide