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Woodbury Ski Area
Woodbury
Woodbury, Connecticut
Status: Lost/Defunct
First Season:1963-64
Last Season:2015-16
Vertical Drop:300 feet
Standing Lifts:1 double, surface lifts
Past Lifts:
Left: Woodbury Ski Area
Recent NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News:
11/7/2018: STUDY: Probability of Lost New England S...
12/12/2017: Woodbury Ski Area Updates Status to Perm...
10/8/2017: Connecticut and Rhode Island Lift Ticket...
9/12/2017: EXCLUSIVE: Woodbury Ski Area For Sale,...
SkiNewEngland.net Profile
Located in western Connecticut, Woodbury was a popular small sporting facility for over half a century.

Tapawingo Ski Area

Woodbury ski area dates back to the 1963-64 season when Kermit Adams and Thomas Brownell opened Tapawingo ski area, the name derived from the Mohawk word for Place of Joy. Following his time in the Marine Corps, Adams had returned to Woodbury to work in the sand and gravel industry. Observing a lack of skiing in the area, he and Brownell reportedly searched for a site for two years before settling on a location of off Washington Road in Woodbury. Tapawingo Ski Area, Inc. was formed in August 1963, opening the ski area in December with a T-Bar, a rope tow, snowmaking, and night skiing. A second rope tow may have been added during the mid 1960s.

With a slogan of, "A Bit of Up North, Down South," Tapawingo did not aspire to be a big ski area. Founder Kermit Adams later reflected, "the economy was so good in those days that it made sense to create a small family area for skiing, especially since we had several prep schools that supported it."

Rod Taylor

US Ski Team member Rod Taylor
US Ski Team member Rod Taylor

Meanwhile, a Hartford native was making a name for himself in the ski racing world. Roderick G. Taylor attended Western State College in Colorado on a ski scholarship and quickly started winning prominent races. By the late 1960s, he was a member of the United States Ski Team, winning the national downhill championship in 1968 and 1970. Taylor enlisted in the Army in 1968, where he also became an accomplished tennis player while training for skiing. Following the winter of 1971-72, Taylor went pro.

Tapawingo branched out beyond skiing in July 1970, when it hosted a rock and rock concert that attracted some 3,000 attendees. Nevertheless, Tapawingo found itself in financial trouble in the early 1970s. While presenting ski films at Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury in 1972, Rod Taylor was asked by locals if he could help save the ski area.

Tapawingo Becomes Woodbury

The double chairlift
The double chairlift

Rod Taylor, John Stout, and attorney Perley Grimes acquired Tapawingo and renamed it the Woodbury Ski and Racquet Club for the 1972-73 season. With the new name, the group planned to create a year-round operation. Since Taylor was continuing to ski race, Chris Ashe was named general manager.

By the mid-1970s, Woodbury featured two bubble tennis courts and four summer courts, as well as regular summer concerts. Cross country skiing was also offered. By this time, Scott Berwick had taken over as general manager.

Following the best season of Taylor's ownership to date, a new Hall double chairlift was ordered for the 1976-77 season. The opening of the lift may have been delayed until 1977 due to weather. Other improvements for the season included three new trails and improved snowmaking capabilities.

Tragedy hit in May of 1980, when the lodge burned down. Taylor continued to invest, adding a new rope tow and leasing property for cross country skiing for the 1980-81 season. A new lodge was constructed soon thereafter.

Woodbury was recognized by Ripley's Believe It or Not in 1982, when Taylor and four others skied down the hill together on a single pair of skis.

Snowmaking was added to cross country ski terrain for the 1986-87 season. Meanwhile, Taylor made headlines during the mid and late 1980s as he competed and medaled in Masters ski races throughout the world.

Woodbury was one of the earliest adopters of snowboarding, allowing the sport on its slopes from its infancy. In addition, Woodbury constructed one of the earliest New England half pipes in the late 1980s.

In the summer of 1998, Woodbury had a grand opening for what was billed as the largest skateboard park in the Northeast.

The slope in November 2014
The slope in November 2014

Using money from his father's inheritance, Taylor boosted snowmaking capabilities, allowing Woodbury to cover its slopes when the surrounding areas were bare. Taylor told Ski magazine, "Everything I've owned, I've put into this area. I've never even taken a salary. To a business person, it's a money loser." He went on to add, "The best days are the days when you've just made snow and it's sunny. People come up to you and say the skiing's great. You look up the hill and then you think, it's you that did it. You provided that great skiing for them. That's probably why I'm still in the business."

Woodbury made regional headlines in the 2000s on multiple occasions for being the first ski area in New England to open for the season.

Two magic carpet lifts were installed for the 2005-06 season, modernizing the beginner ski experience.

Rod Taylor Passes Away

An idle Woodbury ski area in February 2017
An idle Woodbury ski area in February 2017

Owner Rod Taylor passed away unexpectedly on July 5, 2014, two days before his 71st birthday. While all summer recreational activities at Woodbury were temporarily suspended, the area was able to reopen for the 2014-15 season with longtime employee Scott Damato promoted to general manager. Improvements continued, including snowmaking enhancements, homologation of a racing slope, and acquisition of modern snow cats.

Co-founder Kermit Adams passed away on January 9, 2016 at the age of 80.

Closure

The Woodbury entrance in 2019
The Woodbury entrance in 2019

Dealing with a drought and an uncertain future, Woodbury did not open for the 2016-17 season. Though there was hope the area would rebound in 2017, the 2017-18 season was cancelled that fall, as the ski area was placed on the market.

Woodbury's last day of skiing was March 12, 2016. As of the spring of 2020, the 38 acre area is listed for sale at $890,000.



NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News
Recent Articles
STUDY: Probability of Lost New England Ski Areas Reopening - Nov. 7, 2018
Woodbury Ski Area Updates Status to Permanently Closed - Dec. 12, 2017
Connecticut and Rhode Island Lift Ticket Prices Up 2% - Oct. 8, 2017
EXCLUSIVE: Woodbury Ski Area For Sale, Preparing to Reopen - Sep. 12, 2017
STUDY: Probability of Lost New England Ski Areas Reopening - Apr. 24, 2017
Woodbury Ski Season Cancelled Due to Drought - Mar. 9, 2017
Opening Day Yet to Arrive at Multiple Ski Areas - Jan. 18, 2017
Continued Drought Affecting Some Connecticut Ski Areas - Dec. 28, 2016
Connecticut and Rhode Island Lift Ticket Prices Up 1% - Dec. 6, 2016
Lifts Operating in Four States Today - Nov. 24, 2015
Woodbury NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News Page

Image Gallery
1966-67 Eastern Ski MapDecember 22, 1966 Bridgeport Post1967-68 Eastern Ski Map1970-71 Eastern Ski MapJanuary 25, 1973 Watertown Town TimesDecember 21, 1977 Westport Fair Press
View All Images in Woodbury Image Gallery
Lifts
Click on lift name for information and photos
Standing Lifts
Installed
The Woodbury Double in 2015
Double Chair
Hall
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1976-77

Past Lifts
Seasons
T-Bar
Hall
T-Bar
1963-64
-

Maps
1969-70 Tapawingo trail map1970-71 Tapawingo Trail Map1999-00 Woodbury trail map2000-01 Woodbury trail map2001-02 Woodbury trail map2002-03 Woodbury trail map
View All Woodbury 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
2015-16$39.002015-16 Ticket Price Graph$399.002015-16 Season Pass Price Graph10.2 daysNovember 24March 122015-16 Skier Visit Graph
2014-15$39.002014-15 Ticket Price Graph$425.002014-15 Season Pass Price Graph10.9 daysNovember 152014-15 Skier Visit Graph
2013-14$42.002013-14 Ticket Price Graph$425.002013-14 Season Pass Price Graph10.1 daysOctober 262013-14 Skier Visit Graph
2012-13$42.002012-13 Ticket Price Graph2012-13 Season Pass Price GraphOctober 132012-13 Skier Visit Graph
2011-12$39.002011-12 Ticket Price Graph$550.002011-12 Season Pass Price Graph14.1 daysOctober 292011-12 Skier Visit Graph
2010-11$39.002010-11 Ticket Price Graph2010-11 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 122010-11 Skier Visit Graph
2009-10$39.002009-10 Ticket Price Graph$550.002009-10 Season Pass Price Graph14.1 daysDecember 52009-10 Skier Visit Graph
2000s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
2008-09$35.002008-09 Ticket Price Graph$525.002008-09 Season Pass Price Graph15.0 days2008-09 Skier Visit Graph
2007-08$32.002007-08 Ticket Price Graph$549.002007-08 Season Pass Price Graph17.2 daysNovember 82007-08 Skier Visit Graph
2006-07$31.002006-07 Ticket Price Graph$549.002006-07 Season Pass Price Graph17.7 daysNovember 32006-07 Skier Visit Graph
2005-06$29.002005-06 Ticket Price Graph$549.002005-06 Season Pass Price Graph18.9 days2005-06 Skier Visit Graph
2004-05$28.002004-05 Ticket Price Graph$549.002004-05 Season Pass Price Graph19.6 days2004-05 Skier Visit Graph
2003-04$27.002003-04 Ticket Price Graph$599.002003-04 Season Pass Price Graph22.2 daysNovember 92003-04 Skier Visit Graph
2002-03$25.002002-03 Ticket Price Graph$499.002002-03 Season Pass Price Graph20.0 daysOctober 242002-03 Skier Visit Graph
2001-02$25.002001-02 Ticket Price Graph$450.002001-02 Season Pass Price Graph18.0 daysApril 92001-02 Skier Visit Graph
2000-01$24.002000-01 Ticket Price Graph$399.002000-01 Season Pass Price Graph16.6 days2000-01 Skier Visit Graph
1990s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1995-96$20.001995-96 Ticket Price Graph1995-96 Season Pass Price Graph1995-96 Skier Visit Graph
1994-951994-95 Ticket Price Graph1994-95 Season Pass Price GraphMarch 261994-95 Skier Visit Graph
1992-93$20.001992-93 Ticket Price Graph1992-93 Season Pass Price GraphApril 41992-93 Skier Visit Graph
1991-92$20.001991-92 Ticket Price Graph1991-92 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 271991-92 Skier Visit Graph
1980s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1988-89$17.001988-89 Ticket Price Graph1988-89 Season Pass Price Graph1988-89 Skier Visit Graph
1986-87$15.001986-87 Ticket Price Graph1986-87 Season Pass Price Graph1986-87 Skier Visit Graph
1980-81$9.501980-81 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
1972-73$6.001972-73 Ticket Price Graph1972-73 Season Pass Price Graph1972-73 Skier Visit Graph
1971-72$6.001971-72 Ticket Price Graph$110.001971-72 Season Pass Price Graph18.3 days1971-72 Skier Visit Graph
1970-71$4.501970-71 Ticket Price Graph$50.001970-71 Season Pass Price Graph11.1 days1970-71 Skier Visit Graph
1960s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1968-69$4.501968-69 Ticket Price Graph$50.001968-69 Season Pass Price Graph11.1 days1968-69 Skier Visit Graph
1967-68$4.501967-68 Ticket Price Graph1967-68 Season Pass Price Graph1967-68 Skier Visit Graph
1964-65$4.001964-65 Ticket Price Graph1964-65 Season Pass Price Graph1964-65 Skier Visit Graph
1963-641963-64 Ticket Price Graph1963-64 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 141963-64 Skier Visit Graph

Visitor Memories
"I grew up about 30 minutes away in Monroe CT and as soon as I got a license to drive I was going to Woodbury almost every weekend. I loved the Big Birtha jump at the crest in the hill. You could hit it at any speed and have a nice slopes landing. I remember having a birthday party there with friend when I was in my early 20’s we all had such a blast tubing. There were always injuries but that comes with the tubing, snowboarding, skiing. I’m now 42 and live in Oxford, I have 2 boys and was very upset to hear that this place was no longer open. I have such great memories there and was hoping to share some of those with my kids. Maybe someone will step up and buy this place and bring it back to life."
Robert Pearson, Jul. 27, 2020
"I worked there my last 2 years of high school and first 2 winter breaks of college. It was a very fun place to ski and work if you were my age. Rod ran the place like a crazy captain of a ship in a huge storm. Never a dull moment. What I remember most were the lack of rules, huge jumps he made with his snowcat, and a lot of partying by young employees and kids alike."
Lars McGee, May. 10, 2020
"I worked for Rod from 1983-86 as a salesman, ski instructor and National Ski Patrol. I skied with him in Vermont and Jackson Hole. He was always a pleasure to be with on and off the mountains. "
Robert Tartaglia, May. 9, 2019
"I learned how to ski on the Tapawingo Mountain somewhere around 64-65. My father was one of the tow rope operators. My mother and I rode up on a T-bar, got to the top, she pushed me down the hill and skied away! Halfway down I fell, lost one of my ski's, and she's down at the bottom of the hill yelling "get up, get up!" LOL. Needless to say, I never did acquire much of a taste for downhill skiing. Now, all those Reggae and other concerts that happened in the 70's-80?? There was same darn good times. Rod got in some amazing artists and I never saw one bad show there! Always a fabulous party indeed. :) Heard recently there is someone working on getting the old ski area back in some kind of operation..... "
Margie Scott, Apr. 2, 2019
" I learned to ski at Woodberry ski and racquet in 1970 Rod Taylor was my childhood hero , Lots of race programs and lessons. I remember he would spend a day or two setting up a giant jump on the top of the knoll. Then he would get up his courage after about an hour or so and hit the jump ,usually doing a backflip, of course he would crash horribly ,lay there for about an hour moaning and groaning , he would eventually get up and ski away. Us kids just standing there in amazement . I ended up becoming a ski instructor working in Vermont and Jackson hole Wyoming for years .good memories of Rod Taylor. A life well lived. "
Robert Reid, Jun. 16, 2016
"Learned to ski from age 6 (1964)here.Sunshine Set was name of ski school run by Mr Rigby and Mrs Benson.Skied there thru 1985.Wonderful memories,night skiing 4 nights a week,Rod taylor tried to make a go of it.Did a good job adding snow cat,better martin thycol snow making ,concerts ,saw Earl Scruggs& Vassar Clemons,Brewer and Shipley,Arlo Guthrie ,Phish..then turned to reggae,Yellowman,Steel Pulse,Black Uhuru ect....Rod sold me his Dynamic VR 17's undrilled from 1968,amazing ski's still saved them for posterity"
Sandy Davidson, Feb. 13, 2016
"Skied there on weekend trips 1964 to 1968....with other families from Long Island. H a picture climbing upt to the T Bar.Went to Westover School in Middlebury CT 1967 to 1969.After College ...went to Aspen COfor one winter. Stayed for 42 years..Started and operated SnowPuppies Ski School at Aspen Highlands for 3to 6 year olds from 1965 to 2000, when spenSki Company took over and took over all previously owned independent businesses.Still teach children to ski at Snowmass Ski Area. ...aspenCO.Nice to know that Tapawingo. (Woodbury Ski Area) is still operating.L"
Kristin Lawrence, Jan. 1, 2016
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External Links
  • Woodbury Ski Area - official site
  • Last updated: June 3, 2020

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