Dating back to the first CCC ski trail in 1933-34, Mt. Mansfield has long been one of the best known ski centers in the Northeast.
Lift serviced skiing at present day Stowe started when Sepp Ruschp and the Mt. Mansfield Ski Club opened a rope tow on the Toll House slope on February 2, 1937.
A Chairlift Is Built
On November 17, 1940, Ruschp, Lowell Thomas, and Roland Palmedo's Mt. Mansfield Lift, Inc. made national headlines when it opened what was billed as the longest and highest chairlift in the world, at 6,330 feet in length and 2,030 feet in vertical. Though it broke down on the first day (with dozens of reports on board), the single chairlift would remain a fixture at the mountain for nearly half a century.
Two years later, American International Group (AIG) founder Cornelius Van der Starr visited Stowe and quickly fell in love with the area. His long history of financing and owning the ski area started circa 1946, when the Mt. Mansfield T-Bar opened, thanks in large part to his funds. Around that time, five separate companies owned the various aspects of the ski area. Starr gradually purchased majority shares and had them all rolled them into Mt. Mansfield Co. by the time 1950 drew to a close.
Spruce Peak debuted for the 1949-50 season, initially served by rope tows. While a chairlift was initially planned for the following season, only a T-Bar would be constructed. The Spruce Peak double chairlift would be installed for the 1954-55 season.
Snowmaking arrived at Stowe for the 1967-68 season, initially on the West and East slopes of Spruce Peak.
A Gondola Is Built
Stowe's largest expansion to date took place starting in the late 1960s, as new terrain was developed between the existing chairlift pods. A gondola started service to the new Chin area in either November or December of 1968. Including in the complex were a base and summit lodge, as well as five trails.
The gondola (2011)
A major modernization effort took place during the 1980s and early 1990s, as original lifts were replaced with new ones. The original single chairlift was amongst the last to go, as the Forerunner Quad, the first high speed detachable quad in New England, took its place. The famous Stowe gondola was replaced with a new Poma gondola for the 1991-92 season.
In the midst of a major development in the 2000s, Stowe was eventually affected by the financial problems owner AIG. As a result, AIG spun off Stowe to a new subsidiary company called Chartis at the end of 2009.