Located northwest of Brattleboro, Maple Valley was a mid-sized ski area that operated for nearly 40 years. While there have been attempts to reopen it, the ski area has remained closed since 2000.
Terry Tyler Develops Ski Areas in Dummerston
During the 1950s, Dummerston native Terry Tyler developed two rope tow areas in town, Little Prospect and Big Prospect (not to be confused with Prospect Mountain near Bennington). Bigger prospects existed for this skier and competitive ski jumper, however.
In 1963, Tyler teamed with brothers Angelo, Joe, and Frank Pirovane of North Haven Construction Company to develop a larger ski area in West Dummerston. Maple Valley Ski Area, Inc. was incorporated that May. Tyler and the construction company designed and built the ski area.
Maple Valley Opens
For its debut season of 1963-64, Maple Valley featured a lift network consisting of a pair of Hall brand installations - a 3,038 foot long double chairlift and a 775 foot long T-Bar. In terms of terrain, the ski area debuted with 5 trails of all abilities. In addition to the downhill facilities, the area also sported 25 and 45 meter ski jumps. Terry Tyler served as General Manager for the first few seasons.
Maple Valley in the 1960s
To help reduce lift lines, a shorter Hall, the North Double Chairlift, was added for the 1964-65 season.
Big changes took place at Maple Valley in 1966, as Connecticut banker Charles "Chuck" Purinton became General Manager of the ski area. Efforts were made to spread out Maple Valley's revenue generating potential by adding night skiing. In addition, with a relatively low elevation, as well as the less than optimal microclimate created by the West River, the lack of natural snow was finally addressed with the installation of a snowmaking system on the lower mountain.
Corresponding with a real estate development, more changes took place for the 1969-70 season, as an expert trail was added, the main lodge expanded, and other base area buildings constructed. In addition, the ski jumps were removed for that season, making way for a larger practice slope.
For 1972-73, a cross country ski course was added, as was a novice surface lift. Unfortunately for Maple Valley and the rest of New England, the following season was terrible weather-wise, resulting in the worst financial results in years.
While big mountain resorts were growing and Interstate highways were being completed around New England, Maple Valley became somewhat stagnant. Over the next decade and a half, the ski facilities neither grew nor were significantly updated. By the end of the 1980s, Maple Valley was on the ropes.
On June 13, 1989, the 370 acre Maple Valley was sold via a satellite auction for $1.2 million. Due to financial issues, much of the area's infrastructure was run off diesel generators.
The cafeteria in the shuttered Maple Valley base lodge (2002)
Foreclosure and Closure
Maple Valley once again found itself on the auction block circa 1995, this time not selling. As a result, the ski area closed following the 1995-96 season.
In February of 1997, Maple Valley was purchased at a foreclosure auction by Winchester Stables, Inc. and Frank Mercede & Sons, Inc. owner Nicholas Mercede.
Maple Valley reopened in early 1999, then operated for skiing and snow tubing on weekends and holidays during the 1999-2000 season. The ski area then ceased operating and was put up for lease or sale.
On December 3, 2010, Maple Valley founder Terry Tyler passed away at the age of 78.
After sitting idle for a decade, the ski area started to receive some attention in 2010. In June of 2011, the Dummerston Development Review Board reviewed a permit filed by Mercede, proposing possible year round activities, such as mountain biking and music concerts. After complaints about what other activities might occur, as well as concerns about light and noise pollution from skiing and snowmaking, the board requested more information before considering the application.
In December of 2011, Mercede withdrew his permit application. In the meantime, lifts have been repainted, while the base lodge has been used for some small functions.
It is not known when or if Maple Valley ski area will reopen.
my first ski in vermont. family had a place in east jamaica and we went here as a family for the first vt ski. felt like real skiing, being from ct. been skiing 35 years or so now. wish i could go back, buy it, and make it happen again for other families. just went to berkshire east for the first time. fun ! have a great season. 2/3/2014 bill, stonington ,ct. bye.
mack cunningham Feb. 25, 2013
From 1964 to 1969 Maple Valley was the Cunninghamfamiy (6) mountain destination for Sunday get-aways.We would drive up Fridays (sometimes Thursdays)fromsouthern New York to stay with friends in Brattleboro and ski Magic,Haystack or Mt Snowone or two days and go Maple Valley on our Sunday getway day. A lot fun and memories.