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Haystack as seen in the 1960s
Hermitage Club at Haystack Mountain
Dover, Vermont
Status: Open
First Season:1964-65
Vertical Drop:1400 feet
Standing Lifts:1 six pack, 2 quads, 2 triples
Past Lifts:1 triple, 4 doubles, surface lifts
Left: Haystack as seen in the 1960s
Recent NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News:
1/2/2016: New Lifts Slow to Open
11/9/2015: Vermont Construction Projects Hitting Final Stages
8/9/2015: Vermont Construction Projects in Full Gear
7/8/2015: Hermitage Club Acquiring More Lodging Properties
SkiNewEngland.net Profile
Located on the same ridge as Mount Snow, Haystack is a mid-sized ski area that has struggled to find a place in the competitive Southern Vermont ski market. After attempts at an upscale independent ski area and a satellite ski area, Haystack is now being developed as a private club.

Initial Buildout

Haystack's lower base lodge in the 1960s
Haystack's lower base lodge in the 1960s

Word of a potential new ski area on 3,445 foot Haystack Mountain spread in early 1964, when the Haystack Corporation applied for a use permit with the United States Forest Service. Two permits were issued on July 27, 1964, including a 30 year agreement on a 10 acre plot and an annual agreement on 307 acres.

Using a slogan of "Ski Haystack Before Everyone Else Does," the Everett Lord-Wood designed area likely debuted on Christmas of 1964, with Senator George D. Aiken and Lieutenant Governor John F. Daley present. The initial rollout included a three story lodge atop the beginner area, three T-Bars, and a double chairlift on the lower part of the main mountain, serving some 75 acres of terrain. A shuttle bus service carried folks throughout the fragmented base area.

Expansion to the Ridge

The Oh No double chairlift
The Oh No double chairlift

Coinciding with the construction of a new access road, Haystack expanded upward for the 1965-66 season with the installation of the Oh No double chairlift and the addition of 50 acres of terrain. While plans for a gondola and three story summit lodge were announced, they were not meant to be.

The issue of having two somewhat detached ski complexes was addressed for the 1966-67 season, when the Transfer double chairlift was constructed from the lower base lodge to the upper mountain base area. The unique lift included a road crossing with safety netting.

Attention then turned to developing real estate and amenities. An early snowstorm resulted in a November opening in 1968, followed a few weeks later by the opening of a hip, new night club called "Sgt. Peppers."

While Haystack was selling a hip image, behind the scenes it was financially struggling with fixing a hole. As a result, there was a change of management in 1969.

Aggressive plans were made for three new chairlifts, new trails, and a 6,000 foot long gondola. Parking was to be more than doubled, while 2,200 home lots, 200 condos, a golf course, and a convention center were planned.

After numerous delays, off site the 18 hole golf course and a sewage treatment plant were constructed circa 1971. Snowmaking was planned for 1973, while lifts were projected to follow in subsequent years.

Financial Woes

The optimistic plans gave way to further financial problems, magnified by the lack of snowmaking. Associated Mortgage Investors likely foreclosed on the ski area circa 1974.

Snowmaking was first attempted at Haystack in early 1977, when hoses and other equipment were borrowed from the local fire department to help get the ski area open on at least some sort of frozen surface. At actual snowmaking system was installed at Haystack in either late 1977 or 1978.

Haystack made regional headlines on March 12, 1977, when one of its shorter double chairlifts deroped that morning. While there were fortunately no fatalities, 11 skiers were hospitalized, some with serious injuries.

Closure

Starting around 1979, the owners of Round Top likely leased Haystack for two winters. In the midst of poor natural snowfall winters, Haystack closed following the 1980-81 season. The foreclosed ski area sat idle for three winters.

"The Stack Is Back"

The then-new upper base lodge circa the late 1980s or early 1990s
The then-new upper base lodge circa the late 1980s or early 1990s

In January of 1984, former Stratton General Manager Don Tarinelli, Vermont State Representative Mike Kimack, and Bill Wylie formed a group to reopen Haystack. The group took control of the idle ski area in July and had it operational in time for the 1984-85 season.

Big changes took place in 1985 when $2.5 million was invested in the ski area. The original Hayfever chairlift on the lower main mountain was removed, giving way to two new Poma triple chairlifts, the longer of which reached the top of the ski area.

The former Hayfever chairlift was then moved to the beginner mountain for the 1986-87 season, giving novices something other than T-Bar lift service.

Over a decade after it was first proposed, the The Witches area finally opened for the 1987-88 season, served by a new triple chairlift. The $2 million upper base lodge was likely constructed for the following season.

Bankruptcy and Acquisition

While it appeared to be on the upswing from an infrastructure improvement standpoint, Haystack ended up in bankruptcy by 1991. At that point, Mount Snow's parent company S-K-I Ltd. leased Haystack for three seasons and then subsequently purchased it in July of 1994 for $4.5 million. In addition to providing a nearby area for weekend and holiday overflow, the acquisition also allowed Mount Snow to pump water from Haystack's snowmaking water supply.

Along with most of S-K-I Ltd.'s other areas, Haystack was rolled into the American Skiing Company in 1996. It operated less and less frequently during its time as Mt. Snow's sister mountain, eventually becoming a weekend and holidays area.

Sale and Restrictions

The idle upper base lodge in 2006
The idle upper base lodge in 2006

In 2005, American Skiing Company sold Haystack to Tyringham Ridge, Inc. for $5 million. As part of the agreement, Haystack is prohibited from opening to the non-local general public. Up to 250 local residents per day are allowed to ski at Haystack, in addition to private club members.

Following the sale, plans were put in place to develop an upscale, private ski area. Real estate sales and capitalization issues plagued the company as the project estimate soared to $450 million. The project at the idle ski area was put on hold in 2007.

Haystack Privately Reopens

The new six pack and lodge in 2016
The new six pack and lodge in 2016

After being closed for 4 seasons, Haystack briefly reopened in December of 2009 with the shorter Hayfever triple chairlift. Mt. Snow then successfully sued over the use of snowmaking water per the 2005 sales agreement, therefore pushing the ski area back into closure after two days of operation.

The upper base lodge was demolished in 2010, to ease current tax liabilities, as well as to open up the area for redevelopment.

Haystack was sold in October of 2011 to Jim Barnes of the Hermitage Inn. The area reopened on a limited basis for the 2011-2012 season with snowmaking and one triple chairlift. Development of a connection to the inn started in 2012, resulting in the opening of a new quad chairlift on January 19, 2013.

Delivery of a second quad chairlift took place in fall 2013. Named Stag's Leap, the new lift connects the lower mountain to the main mountain.

A massive new 80,000 square foot main lodge opened for the 2014-15 season, providing a centerpiece for the private resort. One year later, a heated, high speed detachable six person chairlift was installed from the new lodge to the top of the ski area.

NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News
Recent Articles
New Lifts Slow to Open - Jan. 2, 2016
Vermont Construction Projects Hitting Final Stages - Nov. 9, 2015
Vermont Construction Projects in Full Gear - Aug. 9, 2015
Hermitage Club Acquiring More Lodging Properties - Jul. 8, 2015
Hermitage Club at Haystack Mountain Lift Project Underway - May. 9, 2015
Hermitage Club at Haystack Mountain 6 Pack Bubble Chairlift Approved by State - Apr. 24, 2015
Hermitage Club at Haystack Mountain Files for New 6 Pack Bubble Chairlift - Mar. 15, 2015
State of Vermont Files Suit Against Haystack - Feb. 26, 2015
Hermitage Club Receives Local Approval for New Six Pack Bubble Lift - Sep. 4, 2014
Hermitage Club Continues Preparation for New Six Pack Chairlift at Haystack - Aug. 1, 2014
Hermitage Club at Haystack Mountain NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News Page

Expansion History
Project
Season
South Witches
Cancelled
1980s
Deerfield Ridge
Cancelled
1980s
Upper Mountain
Open
1965-66
The Witches
Open
1987-88
Hermitage Connection
Open
2012-13

Image Gallery
1965-66 Eastern Ski Map1966-67 Eastern Ski Map1967-68 Eastern Ski Map1971-72 Eastern Ski Map1985 Boston PhoenixHaystack Aerial Imagery, 1992 vs. 2011
View All Images in Hermitage Club at Haystack Mountain Image Gallery
Lifts
Click on lift name for information and photos
Standing Lifts
Installed
The bottom terminal (September 2015)
Barnstormer Six Pack
Doppelmayr
Chairlift - Sixpack - Detachable
2015-16
Hayfever Triple circa the early 1990s
Hayfever Triple
Poma
Chairlift - Triple - Fixed
1985-86
Stag's Leap Quad construction in 2013
Stag's Leap
SkyTrac
Chairlift - Quad - Fixed
2013-14
Tage Quad in 2013
Tage
SkyTrac
Chairlift - Quad - Fixed
2012-13
Witches Triple bottom terminal in 2006
Witches Triple
CTEC
Chairlift - Triple - Fixed
1987-88

Past Lifts
Seasons
Barnstormer Triple in 2002
Barnstormer Triple
Poma
Chairlift - Triple - Fixed
1985-86
-
2014-15
Fanny Hill T-Bar in 2002
Fanny Hill T-Bar
Mueller
T-Bar
1964-65
-
2012-13
Hayfever Double
Mueller
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1964-65
-
1984-85
Haymaker Double in 2002
Haymaker Double
Mueller
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1986-87
-
2012-13
Haymaker T-Bar
Mueller
T-Bar
1964-65
-
1985-86
Oh No Double in 2002
Oh No Double
Mueller
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1965-66
-
2000s
Skid Row T-Bar
Mueller
T-Bar
1964-65
-
1985-86
The Transfer Lift circa the 1960s
Transfer Lift
Mueller
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1966-67
-

Maps
Late 1960s Haystack Trail MapEarly 1970s Haystack Trail Map1985-86 Haystack Trail Map1993-94 Haystack Trail Map1999-00 Haystack Trail Map2004-05 Haystack Trail Map
View All Hermitage Club at Haystack Mountain Trail Maps

Year by Year History
Adult Weekend Full Day Lift Ticket; Adult Full Price Unlimited Season Pass
2010s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
2016-172016-17 Ticket Price Graph2016-17 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 26April 162016-17 Skier Visit Graph
2015-162015-16 Ticket Price Graph2015-16 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 30March 272015-16 Skier Visit Graph
2000s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
2004-05$48.002004-05 Ticket Price Graph$369.002004-05 Season Pass Price Graph7.7 days2004-05 Skier Visit Graph
2003-04$45.002003-04 Ticket Price Graph$369.002003-04 Season Pass Price Graph8.2 days2003-04 Skier Visit Graph
2002-03$43.002002-03 Ticket Price Graph2002-03 Season Pass Price Graph2002-03 Skier Visit Graph
2001-02$38.002001-02 Ticket Price Graph2001-02 Season Pass Price Graph2001-02 Skier Visit Graph
2000-01$35.002000-01 Ticket Price Graph2000-01 Season Pass Price Graph2000-01 Skier Visit Graph
1990s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1998-99$39.001998-99 Ticket Price Graph$635.001998-99 Season Pass Price Graph16.3 days1998-99 Skier Visit Graph
1997-98$37.001997-98 Ticket Price Graph$599.001997-98 Season Pass Price Graph16.2 days1997-98 Skier Visit Graph
1996-97$37.001996-97 Ticket Price Graph1996-97 Season Pass Price Graph1996-97 Skier Visit Graph
1995-96$35.001995-96 Ticket Price Graph1995-96 Season Pass Price Graph1995-96 Skier Visit Graph
1993-94$37.001993-94 Ticket Price Graph1993-94 Season Pass Price Graph1993-94 Skier Visit Graph
1992-93$33.001992-93 Ticket Price Graph1992-93 Season Pass Price Graph1992-93 Skier Visit Graph
1991-92$32.001991-92 Ticket Price Graph1991-92 Season Pass Price Graph1991-92 Skier Visit Graph
1990-91$32.001990-91 Ticket Price Graph1990-91 Season Pass Price Graph1990-91 Skier Visit Graph
1989-90$29.001989-90 Ticket Price Graph1989-90 Season Pass Price Graph1989-90 Skier Visit Graph
1980s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1988-89$29.001988-89 Ticket Price Graph1988-89 Season Pass Price Graph1988-89 Skier Visit Graph
1987-88$25.001987-88 Ticket Price Graph1987-88 Season Pass Price Graph1987-88 Skier Visit Graph
1985-86$22.001985-86 Ticket Price Graph1985-86 Season Pass Price Graph1985-86 Skier Visit Graph
1980-81$16.001980-81 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
1978-79$13.001978-79 Ticket Price Graph1978-79 Season Pass Price Graph1978-79 Skier Visit Graph
1977-78$12.001977-78 Ticket Price Graph1977-78 Season Pass Price Graph1977-78 Skier Visit Graph
1976-77$10.501976-77 Ticket Price Graph1976-77 Season Pass Price Graph1976-77 Skier Visit Graph
1975-76$9.751975-76 Ticket Price Graph$195.001975-76 Season Pass Price Graph20.0 daysDecember 211975-76 Skier Visit Graph
1974-75$8.501974-75 Ticket Price Graph1974-75 Season Pass Price Graph1974-75 Skier Visit Graph
1970-71$8.001970-71 Ticket Price Graph1970-71 Season Pass Price Graph1970-71 Skier Visit Graph
1969-70$8.001969-70 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
1968-69$7.001968-69 Ticket Price Graph1968-69 Season Pass Price Graph1968-69 Skier Visit Graph
1967-68$7.001967-68 Ticket Price Graph1967-68 Season Pass Price Graph1967-68 Skier Visit Graph

Visitor Memories
"I remember hiking here during the summer of 2006, whilst the ski area was in one of its defunct phases. The lower base lodge had been somewhat recently demolished. The upper base lodge was still standing, but curiously had a bunch of equipment sitting outside. The Haymaker Double was still standing, as were towers from the Transfer and Oh No Doubles. The trails were still relatively clear."
Jeremy Clark, Jul. 15, 2015
"I grew up skiing at Haystack in the 60's..before the transfer lift we were shuttled by vans with the license plates 'HOOT' 'TOOT' & 'WHISTLE'. I joined my father and sister teaching in the ski school and taught Rosie Greer, many blind, deaf, and amputee skiers, as well as others from 5-90 years old. It was a wonderful place to ski and work."
Jane MacKugler, Jul. 14, 2015
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External Links
  • Hermitage Club - official site
  • Haystack Mountain - FranklinSites.com Hiking Guide
  • Haystack Mountain Ski Area - New England Lost Ski Areas Project
  • Last updated: December 7, 2016

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