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Magic Mountain base area circa the 1960s
Magic Mountain Ski Area
Londonderry, Vermont
Status: Open
First Season:1960-61
Vertical Drop:1700 feet
Standing Lifts:1 triple, 1 double, surface lifts
Past Lifts:1 triple, 2 doubles, surface lifts
Left: Magic Mountain base area circa the 1960s
Recent NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News:
2/17/2017: Black Chair at Magic Mountain Set to Reopen After Multi-Year...
11/22/2016: Magic Mountain Sale Complete
10/22/2016: Delays in Magic Mountain Ownership Change
8/16/2016: Magic Mountain Purchase and Sale Agreement Signed
SkiNewEngland.net Profile
Located in southern Vermont, Magic Mountain has long been known for its steep terrain and unique trails. Started by Hans Thorner as a small surface lift ski area in 1960, Magic Mountain grew to become one of the largest ski areas in Vermont in the 1980s, absorbing nearby Timber Ridge in 1987.

A Swiss Concept

The top of the Black Chair in the 1960s
The top of the Black Chair in the 1960s

After decades of working in the ski industry, Swiss ski legend Hans Thorner decided something was lacking when skiers left American ski areas following a day on the slopes. His vision was to develop a ski area with a Swiss-like village where guests could particpate in apres-ski activities.

Joining with William Ingraham, Thorner settled on Glebe Mountain in Vermont for his resort's location. Wanting to capture the dream-like feeling of the famous Thomas Mann book, the name "Magic Mountain" was chosen.

The ski area started off modestly in 1960-61 with a T-Bar, one trail, and two slopes. Bad luck struck during the following season, as a planned chairlift installation was postponed and the base lodge subsequently caught fire.

Magic Mountain finally started to live up to its potential when a $300,000 Pohlig double chairlift was installed for 1962-63, opening the Upper Mountain.

In 1963-64, William Ingraham started his own ski area on the other side of the mountain, initially called Glebe Mountain Farm. The ski area later became known as Timber Ridge.

A novice chairlift was installed at Magic for the 1964-65 season, serving the new Hocus Pocus beginner area.

For the 1967-68 season, 3 new trails were added, along with a new ski patrol building and a base lodge addition. The following season, $250,000 was spent to install snowmaking on the lower half of the double chairlift area, as well as on the Hocus Pocus novice slope.

A big expansion took place for the 1971-72 season, when the so-called Summit Area was opened with the installation of a new Heron-Poma double chairlift.

New Ownership and Growth

Skiing at Magic Mountain in the 1960s
Skiing at Magic Mountain in the 1960s

After multiple bad winters in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Hans Thorner sold Magic Mountain in 1985 to a group led by Simon Oren. For their first winter, the new ownership likely upgraded the aging Black Chair from a double to a triple.

In 1986, the group purchased defunct Timber Ridge. Big changes were in store for the following season.

For 1987-88, Timber Ridge ski area was connected to Magic and renamed Timberside. The combined ski area, advertising 72 trails and 6 lifts, was called the Magic Mountains. In addition to the new terrain, a new Poma triple chairlift replaced the original Magic T-Bar, serving novice and intermediate terrain. Finally, as the season neared, the ownership group purchased nearby Bromley from Moore and Munger, Inc., the owners of Stratton.

While Magic was being modernized, it wasn't fast enough. The winter of 1988-89 was so lean that the connecting trails between Magic and Timberside were seldom, if at all, open. In 1990, Oren sold his remaining interest in the company to partners Joe O'Donnell and Petros A. "Bob" Palandjian.

Closure and Liquidation

Following the 1990-91 season, the decision was made to shut down both Magic and Timber Ridge. In the spring of 1993, the owners decided to put Magic and Timber Ridge on the auction block. The Bank of Boston foreclosed on the resort that spring.

By the middle of the decade, both lifts at Timber Ridge were gone, along with the Sun Corner Triple and Little Chair at Magic.

A New Beginning

Reclaiming Magic circa 1997 or 1998
Reclaiming Magic circa 1997 or 1998

In August of 1995, Michael Boraski of Pennsylvania formed Glebe Mountain Ski Associates and purchased the ski area for a reported $350,000 in December of 1995. The group soon claimed it would be installing new lifts and investing $3 million into a 1996-97 reopening. That fall, however, the group postponed its reopening, citing clean up of leaking oil tanks as a last minute reason to postpone operations. No new lifts were installed

The area reopened without Timberside in December of 1997 with one triple chairlift, one double chairlift, and a new tubing park. While management was able to keep the ski area operating, it found itself unable to consistently make payroll or pay its bills.

Ownership and Management Changes

The partially installed Green Chair (2010)
The partially installed Green Chair (2010)

Facing mounting debt, a new ownership company was formed in November of 1998, named Old Fashioned Skiing Company, LLC. The new company, with some 40 owners, soon amassed tens of thousands of dollars in back taxes and penalties, prompting a foreclosure auction.

John Nelson, whose family had owned a home at the mountain for decades and was reportedly owed $1 million, purchased the area with four partners in August 2002 for a reported $500,000. Around this time, two used chairlifts were acquired. One was partially installed in 2003, but never completed.

James Sullivan took over operations of Magic Mountain in September of 2006. In 2009, plans to transfer the area to a cooperative setup were announced. After much effort in fundraising, the co-op recorded its 333rd share purchased in 2012, unlocking nearly $1 million capital for improvements.

In June 2014, property owner Tom Barker took over operational control of the ski area from James Sullivan and JLS Magic, LLC. While a subsequent ownership change was announced during the summer of 2015, the deal initially fell through. Negotiations resumed in the spring of 2016 with Ski Magic, LLC expecting to take over the ski area prior to the 2016-17 season.

NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News
Recent Articles
Black Chair at Magic Mountain Set to Reopen After Multi-Year Closure - Feb. 17, 2017
Magic Mountain Sale Complete - Nov. 22, 2016
Delays in Magic Mountain Ownership Change - Oct. 22, 2016
Magic Mountain Purchase and Sale Agreement Signed - Aug. 16, 2016
Magic Mountain Sale Negotiations Resume - Apr. 22, 2016
Concerns Mounting at Magic Mountain - Apr. 8, 2016
Magic Mountain Delays Opening Again - Jan. 8, 2016
REPORT: Magic Mountain Struggling to Open - Dec. 29, 2015
Magic Mountain Sale Falls Through - Sep. 23, 2015
Magic Mountain Announces Ownership Change - Aug. 18, 2015
Magic Mountain Ski Area NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News Page

Expansion History
Project
Season
Timberside Interconnect
Abandoned
1987-88
Upper Mountain
Open
1962-63
Hocus Pocus Area
Open
1964-65
Summit Area
Open
1971-72

Image Gallery
1962-63 Eastern Ski Map1964-65 Eastern Ski Map1964-65 Eastern Ski Map1965-66 Eastern Ski Map1965-66 Eastern Ski Map1966-67 Eastern Ski Map
View All Images in Magic Mountain Ski Area Image Gallery
Lifts
Click on lift name for information and photos
Standing Lifts
Installed
The Black Chair in 2002
Black Chair
Yan-Pohlig
Chairlift - Triple - Fixed
1985-86
The top of the Red Chair in 2002
Red Chair
Heron-Poma
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1971-72

Past Lifts
Seasons
The Black Chair circa the mid 1960s
Blue Chair
Pohlig
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1962-63
-
1984-85
Installation of the Green Chair in 2003
Green Chair
Borvig
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
2003-04
-
The remains of the Little Chair in 2006
Little Chair
Hall
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1964-65
-
1994-95
The T-Bar circa the 1960s
Showoff
Hall
T-Bar
1960-61
-
1986-87
The remains of the Sun Corner Chair in 2002
Sun Corner Triple
Poma
Chairlift - Triple - Fixed
1987-88
-
1994-95

Maps
1960 Magic Mountain Development Map1962-63 Magic Mountain Trail Map1972-73 Magic Mountain Trail Map1978-79 Magic Mountain trail map1981-82 Magic Mountain trail map2000-01 Magic Mountain Trail Map
View All Magic Mountain Ski Area 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
2016-17$67.002016-17 Ticket Price Graph$679.002016-17 Season Pass Price Graph10.1 daysDecember 272016-17 Skier Visit Graph
2015-16$67.002015-16 Ticket Price Graph$689.002015-16 Season Pass Price Graph10.3 daysJanuary 16March 132015-16 Skier Visit Graph
2014-15$63.002014-15 Ticket Price Graph$639.002014-15 Season Pass Price Graph10.1 daysDecember 20April 182014-15 Skier Visit Graph
2013-14$63.002013-14 Ticket Price Graph2013-14 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 21April 62013-14 Skier Visit Graph
2012-13$59.002012-13 Ticket Price Graph$489.002012-13 Season Pass Price Graph8.3 daysDecember 26April 72012-13 Skier Visit Graph
2011-12$59.002011-12 Ticket Price Graph$449.002011-12 Season Pass Price Graph7.6 daysDecember 26March 172011-12 Skier Visit Graph
2010-112010-11 Ticket Price Graph$439.002010-11 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 18April 1019,4582010-11 Skier Visit Graph
2009-10$56.002009-10 Ticket Price Graph$429.002009-10 Season Pass Price Graph7.7 daysDecember 19April 319,0372009-10 Skier Visit Graph
2000s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
2008-09$56.002008-09 Ticket Price Graph$439.002008-09 Season Pass Price Graph7.8 daysDecember 2216,7252008-09 Skier Visit Graph
2007-08$56.002007-08 Ticket Price Graph$449.002007-08 Season Pass Price Graph8.0 daysApril 616,8702007-08 Skier Visit Graph
2006-07$49.002006-07 Ticket Price Graph$349.002006-07 Season Pass Price Graph7.1 daysDecember 3116,3772006-07 Skier Visit Graph
2005-06$49.002005-06 Ticket Price Graph$599.002005-06 Season Pass Price Graph12.2 days5,0002005-06 Skier Visit Graph
2004-05$49.002004-05 Ticket Price Graph$549.002004-05 Season Pass Price Graph11.2 daysDecember 2310,0002004-05 Skier Visit Graph
2003-04$46.002003-04 Ticket Price Graph$549.002003-04 Season Pass Price Graph11.9 daysDecember 16March 2113,7502003-04 Skier Visit Graph
2002-03$42.002002-03 Ticket Price Graph$499.002002-03 Season Pass Price Graph11.9 daysMarch 302002-03 Skier Visit Graph
2001-02$42.002001-02 Ticket Price Graph$499.002001-02 Season Pass Price Graph11.9 daysMarch 312001-02 Skier Visit Graph
2000-01$38.002000-01 Ticket Price Graph$595.002000-01 Season Pass Price Graph15.7 daysApril 825,0002000-01 Skier Visit Graph
1999-00$38.001999-00 Ticket Price Graph$695.001999-00 Season Pass Price Graph18.3 days1999-00 Skier Visit Graph
1990s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1998-99$35.001998-99 Ticket Price Graph$295.001998-99 Season Pass Price Graph8.4 daysMarch 281998-99 Skier Visit Graph
1997-98$32.001997-98 Ticket Price Graph1997-98 Season Pass Price Graph30,0001997-98 Skier Visit Graph
1990-91$36.001990-91 Ticket Price Graph1990-91 Season Pass Price Graph1990-91 Skier Visit Graph
1989-90$34.001989-90 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$32.001988-89 Ticket Price Graph1988-89 Season Pass Price Graph1988-89 Skier Visit Graph
1987-88$30.001987-88 Ticket Price Graph1987-88 Season Pass Price Graph1987-88 Skier Visit Graph
1986-87$28.001986-87 Ticket Price Graph1986-87 Season Pass Price Graph1986-87 Skier Visit Graph
1985-86$24.001985-86 Ticket Price Graph1985-86 Season Pass Price Graph1985-86 Skier Visit Graph
1984-85$22.001984-85 Ticket Price Graph1984-85 Season Pass Price Graph1984-85 Skier Visit Graph
1983-84$22.001983-84 Ticket Price Graph1983-84 Season Pass Price Graph1983-84 Skier Visit Graph
1982-83$20.001982-83 Ticket Price Graph1982-83 Season Pass Price Graph1982-83 Skier Visit Graph
1981-82$20.001981-82 Ticket Price Graph1981-82 Season Pass Price Graph1981-82 Skier Visit Graph
1980-81$17.001980-81 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$15.001978-79 Ticket Price Graph1978-79 Season Pass Price Graph1978-79 Skier Visit Graph
1977-78$13.001977-78 Ticket Price Graph1977-78 Season Pass Price Graph1977-78 Skier Visit Graph
1975-76$10.001975-76 Ticket Price Graph1975-76 Season Pass Price Graph1975-76 Skier Visit Graph
1974-75$10.001974-75 Ticket Price Graph1974-75 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 211974-75 Skier Visit Graph
1969-70$10.001969-70 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$7.501967-68 Ticket Price Graph1967-68 Season Pass Price Graph1967-68 Skier Visit Graph
1966-67$7.001966-67 Ticket Price Graph$95.001966-67 Season Pass Price Graph13.6 days1966-67 Skier Visit Graph
1964-65$7.001964-65 Ticket Price Graph1964-65 Season Pass Price Graph1964-65 Skier Visit Graph
1963-64$6.501963-64 Ticket Price Graph1963-64 Season Pass Price Graph1963-64 Skier Visit Graph
1962-63$6.501962-63 Ticket Price Graph1962-63 Season Pass Price Graph1962-63 Skier Visit Graph
1961-621961-62 Ticket Price Graph1961-62 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 22March 301961-62 Skier Visit Graph

2003-2004 through 2009-2010 visits include snow tubing

Visitor Memories
"Been going here since I was 6. Always my favorite place to go. This year is gonna be LIT"
McHale Burgess, Dec. 11, 2016
"I was a ski instructor at Magic Mountain on weekends from 1964 to 1974. We had a house in Vt at Timber Ridge. I have wonderful memories of Hans Thorner and his family and all my old friends in Londonderry VT. Best time of my life!!"
jay shaw, Aug. 10, 2016
"William 'Bill' Ingraham was a partner with Hans Thorner in the founding of Magic. I recall their planning sessions in Bristol, CT. The fire in the first year of operation also took out the T-bar lift but they continued operations ferrying skiers to the top in the snowcat. Bill Ingraham spilt ways with Hans early on and started Glebe Mountain later to be Timber Ridge on the backside of Magic."
Wade Treadway, Jul. 8, 2015
"I skied Magic Mountain for the first time 3/1/2015. Me and my two sons. We are all good skiers. I loved the place. It reminds me of a old ski area. Very challenging and great snow. Not overly groomed and narrow trails. It is truly a skiers mountain. There were some snowboarders but they were into cruzing and we all got along great. I can't remember when I had more fun on the slopes. No crowds and very friendly operations staff. "
Paul Baldasarre, Mar. 4, 2015
"Fond memories."
Douglas Mitchell, Mar. 15, 2013
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External Links
  • Magic Mountain Ski Resort - official site
  • Save Magic Mountain Vermont
  • Last updated: August 22, 2016

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