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   New Hampshire: Tenney Mountain: Expansions
Ski Area Expansions
Tenney Mountain
Plymouth, New Hampshire
Overview
Tenney Mountain Overview
Tenney Mountain: Upper Mountain | Eclipse Area | Summit Area | 2003 High Speed Quad
Upper Mountain - 1964 - Abandoned
Tenney Mountain 1986 trail map
Tenney Mountain 1986 trail map
While ski trails had been cut for the Tenney Mountain development as far back as 1959, it operated as small, T-Bar lift area for almost half a decade.

Tenney moved to major mountain status for 1964-65 when a new Stadeli centerpole double was installed. 5,985 feet long by 1,285 feet vertical, the lift made Tenney the largest in the region (until the development of Waterville shortly thereafter).

The Hornet chairlift opened on January 10, 1965, serving five new trails, as well as existing terrain.

The lift was overhauled in 1986, perhaps with a new drive terminal and new trails.


The bottom terminal of the Hornet Double (2003)
The bottom terminal of the Hornet Double (2003)

The bottom terminal of the Hornet Double (2003)
The bottom terminal of the Hornet Double (2003)

Looking down the lower portion of the summit triple chairlift lift line, now the Sweet William trail
The top terminal of the Hornet Double (2006)

Eclipse Area - Abandoned
The Eclipse Area as seen in 2010 on Google Earth

Tenney Mountain 2009 trail map showing the Eclipse Area
Tenney Mountain 2009 trail map showing the Eclipse Area
By the mid 1980s, Tenney was an aging ski area in need of new facilities in order to drive a proposed real estate development. At this point in time, the ski area was served by two double chairlifts, including a 1,356 foot long 1970 Heron-Poma double chairlift.

In 1986, the Heron Poma chairlift was to be replaced with a new Poma chairlift. Lawsuits regarding lift towers were filed by both Tenney and Poma that summer, halting construction. With work also being done on the Hornet double chairlift, the delays resulted in Tenney operating with only novice surface lifts for the first half of the 1986-87 season.

Finally, for the 1987-88 season, the new 622 foot vertical by 3,124 foot long triple chairlift was completed by Borvig. Serving primarily intermediate terrain, the new chairlift also created easy access to a planned summit area expansion.


The Eclipse Triple (2006)
The Eclipse Triple (2006)

The bottom terminal of the Eclipse Triple (2006)
The bottom terminal of the Eclipse Triple (2006)

Summit Area Complex - 1988 - Cancelled
1988 Summit Area as seen in 2010 on Google Earth

Tenney Mountain 1986 trail map
Tenney Mountain 1986 trail map
Like other mid-sized New England ski areas, Tenney Mountain planned a condominium development in the mid 1980s. Up to this point, the ski area had one non-beginner lift, the Hornet double chairlift. An aging 1964 Stadeli, the lift climbed nearly 1,300 vertical feet, serving generally intermediate terrain.

As the first part of the expansion, new trails of all abilities were cut and a 1986 or 1987 Borvig triple chairlift, called the Eclipse, was installed.

The following year, either 1987 or 1988, a second triple chairlift was planned - likely also to be a Borvig. The lift was to start partway up the mountain, requiring a ride on either the Hornet Double or Eclipse Triple to reach the bottom terminal. The top terminal was to be adjacent to a present-day communications tower, near the true summit of Tenney Mountain.

The lower portion of the summit complex as seen from the top of the Eclipse Triple in 2006
The lower portion of the summit complex as seen from the top of the Eclipse Triple in 2006

This lift would have added about 150 vertical feet to the ski area, perhaps allowing for an advertised drop of 1,600 feet. The lower portion of the complex's trails, already open, featured some of Tenney's best sustained steeps. The planned new terrain above these trails, however, was extremely flat. While the trails had already been cut, the real estate market crashed. Soon thereafter, Tenney was taken over by Bill Krikorian and renamed Lookout. The area would close in the early 1990s, prior to being reopened as Tenney Mountain.

While the complex was still planned as late as 1992, the ski area struggled in subsequent years due to bad weather, a difficult market, undercapitalization, and image problems. As of 2010, the summit area trails are largely grown in.


The trail that would have connected from the summit to the top of the Hornet double chairlift
The trail that would have connected from the summit to the top of the Hornet double chairlift (2010)

The likely area of the top of the cancelled summit triple chairlift
The likely area of the top of the cancelled summit triple chairlift (2010)

Looking down the lower portion of the summit triple chairlift lift line, now the Sweet William trail
Looking down the lower portion of the summit triple chairlift lift line, now the Sweet William trail (2006)

Looking up the lower portion of the summit triple chairlift lift line, now the Sweet William trail
Looking up the lower portion of the summit triple chairlift lift line, now the Sweet William trail (2010)

2003 High Speed Quad Expansion - Cancelled
The Hornet Double in 2007
The Hornet Double in 2007
With new ownership taking over the long-troubled Tenney Mountain in 2002, rumors were flying. A significant investment was planned in the area - apparently the choice was between replacing the 1964 Stadeli double chairlift with a high speed detachable quad or installing a high-tech snowmaking system.

In advance of the 2002-2003 ski season, the investment in a SnowMagic system was announced. The system, rumored to cost $1,000,000, would allow the ski area to stay open year round. There was some speculation that the runaway success of this new system would allow for the purchase of a high speed quad shortly thereafter.

Tenney was able to open during the summer and fall of 2003 thanks to the system, however numbers were disappointing and costs were high (especially considering it was only covering a small slope). Summer snowmaking operations were cancelled in 2004 as a result and within a year, SnowMagic was all but forgotten.

Under new ownership a few years later, rumors again circulated as all of the chairs were removed from the Hornet double chairlift. Once again, some thought the lift would be replaced with a high speed quad, perhaps extending downhill to a new base area. Instead, the chairs were eventually rehung and the lift reopened.

At this point, there are no known plans to install a high speed quad at Tenney Mountain.
Resources
  • Tenney Mountain - NewEnglandSkiHistory.com
  • Tenney Mountain Ski Area Official Site
  • Tenney Mountain - New England Lost Ski Areas Project
  • Tenney Mountain - FranklinSites.com Hiking Guide
  • Tenney Mountain - AlpineZone.com Ski Area Challenge

  • Last updated: March 10, 2011
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