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Fisher and Chair 2 (2015)
Lost Valley Ski Area
Auburn, Maine
Status: Open
First Season:1961-62
Vertical Drop:240 feet
Standing Lifts:2 doubles, 1 T-Bar
Past Lifts:Surface lift
Left: Fisher and Chair 2 (2015)
Recent NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News:
8/2/2020: Signs of Uncertainty for the 2020-21 Ski...
11/6/2017: Lost Valley Announces Three New Trails
6/6/2017: Lift Construction Ramping Up Across New...
4/11/2017: Brewery, Snowcat Development Facility to...
SkiNewEngland.net Profile
Located in Auburn, Lost Valley has been serving Lewiston area skiers for over half a century. Over the years, the ski area has been noted for being an early adopter in snowmaking and powdermaker grooming.

Early Years

Construction of Lost Valley in 1961
Construction of Lost Valley in 1961

Plans for a new lift served ski area in Auburn were formed starting in the 1950s by local businessmen Otto Wallingford, Dr. "Doc" Camille Gardner, and Willis A. Trafton Jr. Only a few years removed from being Maine's Speaker of the House and an unsuccessful run for Governor, Trafton had long been advocating for recreational facilities in the Lewiston-Auburn area. A passionate skier, Trafton helped with the planning of the enterprise and served as the company's clerk. Wallingford and Gardner had been friends since childhood and owned land in a "hidden valley" that had potential for ski development. Like Trafton, Wallingford and Gardner were also World War II era military veterans. Wallingford ran his family's B.H. Wallingford Orchards, while Gardner was a veterinarian.

Construction likely started in 1961, when an access road was built, the Lapham Brook rerouted, and numerous trails and slopes cleared. Lost Valley opened for the 1961-62 season as a rope tow served ski area. Starting in February of 1962, Wallingford, noted for his technological advancements related to his family's apple farm, reportedly began experimenting with snowmaking at Lost Valley.

For its sophomore season, Lost Valley added three new trails and a T-Bar. Soon, it was hosting regional ski races.

Otto Wallingford adjusting a snowgun in the mid 1960s
Otto Wallingford adjusting a snowgun in the mid 1960s

A 25 meter ski jump was added for the 1963-64 season, while plans for a cross country ski course were developed.

Thanks to the ever-improving snowmaking system, Lost Valley saw a record number of skier visits despite poor weather during the winter of 1964-65. Future Maine Ski Hall of Famer Richard Kendall served as ski school director.

Chairlift Era Begins

Auburn native and nordic skiing Olympian John Bower took over as manager of the ski area for the 1965-66 season, while a double chairlift was added (only the fifth to be installed in Maine), the base lodge expanded (more than doubling the floor space), and a new access road constructed (along with more parking). Nordic trails were also available by this point.

An early snowstorm ushered in a great 1965-66 holiday season, resulting in 8,000 skiers in just one week. With the improved facilities, Lost Valley was a hotbed of ski lessons and racing. Each Monday, hundreds of Lewiston-Auburn students received free ski lessons. Meanwhile, hundreds of students took part in high school racing programs, while nearby Central Maine Vocational Technical Institute (later known as Central Maine Community College) and Bates College also made Lost Valley their ski destination.

Snowmaking capabilities were tripled on the alpine ski area for the 1966-67 season. Meanwhile, the nordic ski facility hosted the New England Schoolboy Ski Championships. Constantly tinkering, Otto Wallingford installed a photo-surveillance machine to targeting ski theft. By having taking photos of the ski racks and access road, Wallingford credited the system with eliminating ski theft that winter.

In December 1967, Auburn native Fernand "Fern" Pontbriand inquired with Otto Wallingford about teaching skiing. A fellow University of Maine graduate, Pontbriand had developed a passion for skiing at Sugarloaf while helping to operate his family's Auburn hardware store. Despite having never skied at Lost Valley, Pontbriand was hired on the spot and asked to help manage the business. Decades later, he reflected that "the first three years I was there were the best years of my life, because I'd go out teaching at ten o'clock in the morning, then come back in and do the office work, have lunch, and then go out teaching at one o'clock in the afternoon and then come back in, it was beautiful."

Chair 1
Chair 1

Meanwhile, Otto Wallingford was making huge technological advances for the ski industry with his new company, Valley Engineering. In April 29, 1968, he filed for a patent for a grooming invention involving "two foraminous drums" that "sift the scraped particles of snow and deposit a powdery layer that is suitable for skiing." His powder maker invention was sold to ski areas across the country and in Europe. Valley Engineering was eventually acquired by Kassbohrer (maker of PistenBully snow cats), which continues to operate a facility in Auburn today.

More terrain was added for the 1969-70 season, with plans to eventually serve it with a new double chairlift. Snowmaking was also improved, while night skiing was expanded.

Following a difficult 1969-70 season, Lost Valley expanded its snowmaking coverage for the 1970-71 season. Other improvements included overhauling the lifts and renovating its food service facilities.

The recently added terrain on the northern side of the ski area finally received direct lift service for the 1971-72 season, as a new double chairlift was installed with a base terminal over the top of Lapham Brook. Five new trails were advertised, all complemented with night skiing and snowmaking. A 1,000 square foot addition was constructed on the north side of the lodge, providing additional cafeteria space. A conference room was also constructed, named the Evergreen Room.

No only was Wallingford considered an expert in snow grooming technology, but he was also labelled "the foremost authority on snowmaking in the state" by the Bangor Daily News. In 1973, he served as a consultant for the installation of a new snowmaking system at Camden Snow Bowl.

While Lost Valley alumnus Karl Anderson raced in the 1976 Winter Olympics, a young family was developing their skills at the small Maine area. Rob, Julie, and Anne-Lise Parisien all went on to represent the United States in the Olympics.

A new novice trail (likely Rabbit Run) was added for the 1977-78 season, connecting the top of Chair 1 to the Chair 2 complex.

For the 1978-79 season, the rental shop was tripled in size and a ski shop added. In addition, Lost Valley boasted a "fully-automated ticket-dispensing system."

Like many other ski areas, Lost Valley struggled with the poor 1979-80 season. Lift ticket revenue in December declined by over 80%. Pontbriand, by now part-owner of the ski area, commented, "Every week was like the beginning of a new season. We didn't know what to do to get people out. We couldn't motivate them, because people didn't think there was snow." A small business loan was needed to keep the area afloat.

The following season had a better start, however the February vacation week was severely impacted by April-like weather. Pontbriand reacted to the financial woes by joking, "We're going off of caviar and back to the basic peanut butter and jelly."

Despite back to back rough seasons, investment in the area continued, as snowmaking and night skiing were expanded to 100%, including new lighting on Bull Moose.

Ownership Changes

Lost Valley circa the 1980s
Lost Valley circa the 1980s

Circa 1988, Fern Pontbriand bought out Dr. Gardner and Wallingford.

1990-91 was yet another difficult season, as Lost Valley only managed to operate for two days of the Christmas school vacation week. With another rough start in 1992-93, Pontbriand responded to a press inquiry by joking, "You'd like to see a grown man cry. But I'm laughing now because I'm tired of crying."

Tiring of the work and rough seasons, Pontbriand handed over operational control of the ski area to Lincoln Hayes, Diane Moreau, and Connie King. A five-year agreement was later signed, giving the operators up a 48% stake in the area. Moreau served as snow sports director and King as general manager.

Lost Valley experimented with allowing Cresta Sleds on the slopes during the winter of 1999-00. A rental fleet of 20 sleds was offered, with hopes of the sport becoming as big as snowboarding.

Lost Valley founder Otto Wallingford passed away on January 2, 2000 at the age of 76. Wallingford was posthumously inducted into the Maine Ski Hall of Fame in 2003. The induction ceremony of the inaugural class, which also included former Lost Valley manager John Bower, was held at Lost Valley that fall.

Julie Parisien at Lost Valley circa 2001
Julie Parisien at Lost Valley circa 2001

After a successful racing career that included three World Cup wins and a silver medal at the World Championships, Julie Parisien returned to Lost Valley as a race coach circa 2000.

Owner Fern Pontbriand passed away on August 10, 2003 at the age of 75.

In 2004, Lincoln Hayes, Diane Moreau, and Connie King purchased late owner Fern Pontbriand's 64 percent stake in Lost Valley, declaring, "We're in this for the long haul."

Former owner Camille Gardner passed away on May 8, 2014 at the age of 92.

Rescue from Near Closure

Bull Moose and Chair 1 (2015)
Bull Moose and Chair 1 (2015)

In June of 2014, Lincoln Hayes announced that due to ten consecutive seasons of losses, Lost Valley would not open for the 2014-15 without outside help. Locals soon rallied and raised tens of thousands of dollars, ensuring the area would operate for the 2014-15 season.

In the fall of 2015, Aerial NDT Inspection, Inc. President Scott Shanaman purchased the ski area, easing concerns about Lost Valley's future.

After stabilizing the area and laying the groundwork for future improvements, Lost Valley took major steps forward for the 2017-18 season. Air Force veteran and longtime Lost Valley skier John Herrick was named General Manager as three new trails were opened, including an expert trail on the east side of the area. In addition, the former Spruce Peak Triple from Sunday River was acquired for future use. Finally, in February 2018, the Lost Valley Brewing Company debuted.

NewEnglandSkiConditions.com Reports
Month Average Percent of Terrain Open
December35%    (2 reports)35 Open
January43%    (2 reports)43 Open
February73%    (3 reports)73 Open
Recent Conditions Reports
Jan. 13, 2021 by newenglandskier13
Packed Powder, Variable Conditions
Jan. 6, 2021 by newenglandskier13
Packed Powder, Packed Powder
Dec. 23, 2020 by newenglandskier13
Packed Powder, Powder
Feb. 7, 2020 by newenglandskier13
Powder, Powder
Dec. 19, 2019 by newenglandskier13
Golf Balls, Packed Powder
Lost Valley Ski Area on NewEnglandSkiConditions.com

NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News
Recent Articles
Signs of Uncertainty for the 2020-21 Ski Season - Aug. 2, 2020
Lost Valley Announces Three New Trails - Nov. 6, 2017
Lift Construction Ramping Up Across New England - Jun. 6, 2017
Brewery, Snowcat Development Facility to be Added to Lost Valley - Apr. 11, 2017
EXCLUSIVE: Interview with New Lost Valley Owner Scott Shanaman - Nov. 5, 2015
Lost Valley Sold - Nov. 1, 2015
Lost Valley to Open for 2014-15 Season - Oct. 1, 2014
Sunday River Donates $5,000 to Save Lost Valley Fundraiser - Sep. 26, 2014
Lost Valley Fundraiser Reaches $10,000 Mark - Sep. 23, 2014
Lost Valley Starts Fundraising Campaign to Continue Ski Operations - Sep. 11, 2014
Lost Valley Ski Area NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News Page

Image Gallery
1967-68 Eastern Ski Map1970-71 Eastern Ski Map1971-72 Eastern Ski MapFebruary 12, 1981 Lewiston Daily SunNovember 19, 1981 Bangor Daily NewsDecember 29, 1981 Lewiston Evening Journal
View All Images in Lost Valley Ski Area Image Gallery

Lifts
Click on lift name for information and photos
Standing Lifts
Installed
The lift line circa the 1980s
Chair #1
Hall
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1965-66
Chair 2 circa 2009
Chair #2
Hall
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1971-72

Past Lifts
Seasons
The bottom terminal (2014)
T-Bar
J W Penney
T-Bar
1962-63
-

Maps
2020-21 Lost Valley Trail Map
1973-74 Lost Valley Trail Map1997-98 Lost Valley Trail Map1998-99 Lost Valley Trail Map1999-00 Lost Valley Trail Map2000-01 Lost Valley Trail Map2001-02 Lost Valley Trail Map
View All Lost Valley Ski Area Trail Maps

Year by Year History
Adult Weekend Full Day Lift Ticket; Adult Full Price Unlimited Season Pass
2020s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
2020-21$60.002020-21 Ticket Price Graph$595.002020-21 Season Pass Price Graph9.9 daysDecember 19March 212020-21 Skier Visit Graph
2019-20$60.002019-20 Ticket Price Graph$575.002019-20 Season Pass Price Graph9.6 daysDecember 6March 152019-20 Skier Visit Graph
2010s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
2018-19$55.002018-19 Ticket Price Graph$549.002018-19 Season Pass Price Graph10.0 daysDecember 14March 312018-19 Skier Visit Graph
2017-18$49.002017-18 Ticket Price Graph$499.002017-18 Season Pass Price Graph10.2 daysDecember 15March 312017-18 Skier Visit Graph
2016-17$45.002016-17 Ticket Price Graph$499.002016-17 Season Pass Price Graph11.1 daysDecember 16April 22016-17 Skier Visit Graph
2015-16$45.002015-16 Ticket Price Graph$499.002015-16 Season Pass Price Graph11.1 daysDecember 30March 132015-16 Skier Visit Graph
2014-15$40.002014-15 Ticket Price Graph$399.002014-15 Season Pass Price Graph10.0 daysJanuary 1March 292014-15 Skier Visit Graph
2013-14$45.002013-14 Ticket Price Graph$455.002013-14 Season Pass Price Graph10.1 daysDecember 20March 292013-14 Skier Visit Graph
2012-13$45.002012-13 Ticket Price Graph$455.002012-13 Season Pass Price Graph10.1 daysMarch 172012-13 Skier Visit Graph
2011-12$45.002011-12 Ticket Price Graph$455.002011-12 Season Pass Price Graph10.1 daysDecember 22March 182011-12 Skier Visit Graph
2010-112010-11 Ticket Price Graph2010-11 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 232010-11 Skier Visit Graph
2009-102009-10 Ticket Price Graph2009-10 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 18March 142009-10 Skier Visit Graph
2000s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
2008-09$45.002008-09 Ticket Price Graph$455.002008-09 Season Pass Price Graph10.1 days2008-09 Skier Visit Graph
2007-08$35.002007-08 Ticket Price Graph$399.002007-08 Season Pass Price Graph11.4 daysDecember 152007-08 Skier Visit Graph
2006-07$35.002006-07 Ticket Price Graph$399.002006-07 Season Pass Price Graph11.4 daysMarch 252006-07 Skier Visit Graph
2005-06$33.002005-06 Ticket Price Graph$376.002005-06 Season Pass Price Graph11.4 days2005-06 Skier Visit Graph
2004-05$31.002004-05 Ticket Price Graph$440.002004-05 Season Pass Price Graph14.2 daysDecember 232004-05 Skier Visit Graph
2003-04$31.002003-04 Ticket Price Graph$440.002003-04 Season Pass Price Graph14.2 daysMarch 142003-04 Skier Visit Graph
2002-03$31.002002-03 Ticket Price Graph$440.002002-03 Season Pass Price Graph14.2 daysDecember 132002-03 Skier Visit Graph
2001-02$30.002001-02 Ticket Price Graph$440.002001-02 Season Pass Price Graph14.7 daysDecember 262001-02 Skier Visit Graph
2000-01$30.002000-01 Ticket Price Graph2000-01 Season Pass Price Graph2000-01 Skier Visit Graph
1999-00$30.001999-00 Ticket Price Graph1999-00 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 261999-00 Skier Visit Graph
1990s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1998-99$30.001998-99 Ticket Price Graph$450.001998-99 Season Pass Price Graph15.0 daysDecember 261998-99 Skier Visit Graph
1997-98$30.001997-98 Ticket Price Graph$450.001997-98 Season Pass Price Graph15.0 daysDecember 171997-98 Skier Visit Graph
1996-971996-97 Ticket Price Graph1996-97 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 26March 231996-97 Skier Visit Graph
1994-951994-95 Ticket Price Graph1994-95 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 161994-95 Skier Visit Graph
1993-941993-94 Ticket Price Graph1993-94 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 27April 21993-94 Skier Visit Graph
1991-921991-92 Ticket Price Graph1991-92 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 81991-92 Skier Visit Graph
1980s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1988-891988-89 Ticket Price Graph1988-89 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 161988-89 Skier Visit Graph
1987-881987-88 Ticket Price Graph1987-88 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 201987-88 Skier Visit Graph
1985-86$14.751985-86 Ticket Price Graph1985-86 Season Pass Price Graph1985-86 Skier Visit Graph
1983-84$12.501983-84 Ticket Price Graph1983-84 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 231983-84 Skier Visit Graph
1982-83$11.501982-83 Ticket Price Graph1982-83 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 211982-83 Skier Visit Graph
1981-821981-82 Ticket Price Graph1981-82 Season Pass Price GraphMarch 141981-82 Skier Visit Graph
1980-81$9.751980-81 Ticket Price Graph1980-81 Season Pass Price Graph1980-81 Skier Visit Graph
1979-801979-80 Ticket Price Graph1979-80 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 201979-80 Skier Visit Graph
1970s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1978-79$8.751978-79 Ticket Price Graph1978-79 Season Pass Price Graph1978-79 Skier Visit Graph
1977-78$8.001977-78 Ticket Price Graph1977-78 Season Pass Price Graph1977-78 Skier Visit Graph
1976-77$8.001976-77 Ticket Price Graph$110.001976-77 Season Pass Price Graph13.8 days1976-77 Skier Visit Graph
1975-76$7.001975-76 Ticket Price Graph1975-76 Season Pass Price Graph1975-76 Skier Visit Graph
1974-75$7.001974-75 Ticket Price Graph$80.001974-75 Season Pass Price Graph11.4 daysDecember 51974-75 Skier Visit Graph
1973-74$6.501973-74 Ticket Price Graph1973-74 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 311973-74 Skier Visit Graph
1972-73$6.001972-73 Ticket Price Graph1972-73 Season Pass Price Graph1972-73 Skier Visit Graph
1971-72$6.001971-72 Ticket Price Graph1971-72 Season Pass Price Graph1971-72 Skier Visit Graph
1970-71$5.501970-71 Ticket Price Graph1970-71 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 31970-71 Skier Visit Graph
1969-70$5.501969-70 Ticket Price Graph1969-70 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 201969-70 Skier Visit Graph
1960s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1967-681967-68 Ticket Price Graph1967-68 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 91967-68 Skier Visit Graph

Visitor Memories
"Worked at Lost Valley from 73-76 than again from 93-03 as part of the lift crew. Like a ball club sometimes it takes a new coach/manager to turn things around. The new owners might just do that. "
Gary Henault, Nov. 3, 2015
"Lost Valley has been in my family since 1963. I hope the current owners can see what it takes to continue I love it here"
Mike Cyr, Jan. 18, 2015
"where I learned to ski in 1978 from Brunswick Rec Department Ski Club. Great fun!!!"
John Paddock, Jun. 7, 2014
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External Links
  • Lost Valley Ski Area - official site
  • Lost Valley - SmallSkiAreas.com
  • Last updated: March 29, 2021

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