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Mt. Tom in 2014
Mt. Tom
Woodstock, Vermont
Status: Lost/Defunct
First Season:1935-36
Last Season:1977-78
Vertical Drop:500 feet
Standing Lifts:
Past Lifts:Surface lifts
Left: Mt. Tom in 2014
Recent NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News:
Located adjacent to the Marsh Billings Rockefeller National Historic Park in Woodstock, Vermont, Mt. Tom was a small ski area that attracted families and beginners alike.

Early Rope Tow Years

Lift served skiing on Mt. Tom likely dates back to the winter of 1935-36, when the slopes were owned by veterinarian Dr. Walter Pulsifer. Two years earlier, Bob and Elizabeth Royce of the White Cupboard Inn had approached Pulsifer to see if they could construct a rope tow on Mt. Tom. At the time, Pulsifer reportedly refused to remove fencing, resulting in the Royces entering into an agreement to use Clint Gilbert's pasture a few miles north of town. After this first rope tow in the United States became a smash hit, Pulsifer may have allowed Jim Parker to construct a rope tow on his property. Following the winter of 1935-36, Parker went on to develop ski areas across the country (including Sheep Hill and Winhall Snow Bowl in New England) before perishing during the filming of Otto Lang's movie Search for Paradise. The ski area became known as Pulsifer's Ski Hill and later Mt. Tom.

Meanwhile, in 1934, Laurance Rockefeller married Mary French in the Congregational Church in Woodstock. The grandson of Standard Oil founder John D. Rockefeller, Laurance had recently graduated from Princeton and was embarking upon a career in venture capital. Mary French was the daughter of John French and Mary Billings French, owners of a large estate in Woodstock.

A ski school lesson at Mt. Tom
A ski school lesson at Mt. Tom

Maurice Wood likely took ownership of Mt. Tom during the 1950s. Meanwhile, Mary Billings French passed away in 1951, leaving the Woodstock estate to her daughter. In 1956, Laurance Rockefeller founded RockResorts, a luxury resort company.

Rockefeller Era

In 1960, Rockefeller purchased Mt. Tom with the plan to "develop a simple ski area" near his Woodstock house, according to the Bennington Banner. Plans soon evolved, as he decided to operate it as a community ski area. A Poma lift was constructed for the 1960-61 season, as well as a Larchmont snowmaking system, new base lodge, and parking lot. Around this time, Rockefeller also took over nearby Suicide Six, marketing it to experts and Mt. Tom to novices (with Claude Gaudin as manager) under his RockResorts enterprise. In addition to the ski area acquisitions, Rockefeller also took over the Woodstock Country Club, which would later feature a golf course designed by family associate and noted golf course architect Robert Trent Jones, as well as the nordic skiing center.

The main Pomalift at Mt. Tom
The main Pomalift at Mt. Tom

The 1961-62 season saw the addition of a novice Poma lift at Mt. Tom, as well as expanded snowmaking. Around this time, Mt. Tom and Suicide Six began to offer a joint lift ticket. By the end of the decade, the Mt. Tom snowmaking system covered some 60 acres. While Mt. Tom would not see any new lifts in its future, a new trail was cut for the 1965-66 season. By 1967, snowmaking covered the terrain adjacent to both Poma lifts, totaling 12 acres. Additional snowmaking improvements were reportedly made for the 1967-68 and 1968-69 seasons.

Meanwhile, Rockefeller acquired the Woodstock Inn in 1967, which he rebuilt for the 1969-70 season. A new nordic touring center debuted in 1970. Rockefeller also acquired the White Cupboard Inn circa 1967 and donated it to the local historic society. With the diverse holdings, RockResorts was able to market ski weeks including skiing at its two areas, lessons, lodging at the Woodstock Inn, banquets, and cocktail parties, all in the immediate vicinity of the village of Woodstock.

A 1970 Mt. Tom-Suicide Six advertisement
A 1970 Mt. Tom-Suicide Six advertisement

By the mid 1970s, RockResorts had two small ski areas with aging infrastructure amidst larger, more modern resorts elsewhere in New England. A series of investments commenced at Suicide Six starting in 1975, when a double chairlift was installed and trails smoothed. For the 1975-76 season, RockResorts President Robert Barton announced the areas had been renamed "Woodstock's Six and Tom" to leverage the Woodstock image while also differentiating Mt. Tom from the Massachusetts ski area of the same name.

By early 1978, Rockefeller's holdings constituted 10% of the Town of Woodstock's total value, including half of its comercial property. Meanwhile, rumors circulated about the creation of a major museum.

Closure

Mt. Tom in 2016
Mt. Tom in 2016

Two new beginner lifts were subsequently installed at Suicide Six, the latter of which was complemented with the construction of a new lodge in 1978. The newly renovated Suicide Six was now a more balanced area, making Mt. Tom redundant. As a result, the area closed circa 1978, though some sources place the closure as late as 1981.

In 1992, the Rockefellers donated the Billings estate to the Federal government, creating the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park.

Mary French Rockefeller passed away on April 17, 1997 at the age of 86. Laurance Rockefeller passed away on July 11, 2004 at the age of 94.

As of 2020, the lifts are long gone, but the ski slopes remain, often used by sledders.

Image Gallery
1961-62 Eastern Ski Map1962-63 Eastern Ski Map1964-65 Eastern Ski Map1965-66 Eastern Ski Map1966-67 Eastern Ski Map1967-68 Eastern Ski Map
View All Images in Mt. Tom Image Gallery
Lifts
Click on lift name for information and photos
Standing Lifts
Installed

Past Lifts
Seasons
The former lift line (2016)
Baby Poma

Platter
1961-62
-
The former lift line (2014)
Poma

Platter
1960-61
-

Maps
1968-69 Mt. Tom Trail Map1975-76 Mt. Tom/Suicide Six Rendering
View All Mt. Tom Trail Maps

Year by Year History
Adult Weekend Full Day Lift Ticket; Adult Full Price Unlimited Season Pass
1970s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1978-79$10.501978-79 Ticket Price Graph1978-79 Season Pass Price Graph1978-79 Skier Visit Graph
1976-77$7.751976-77 Ticket Price Graph1976-77 Season Pass Price Graph1976-77 Skier Visit Graph
1975-76$7.501975-76 Ticket Price Graph1975-76 Season Pass Price Graph1975-76 Skier Visit Graph
1974-75$7.251974-75 Ticket Price Graph$90.001974-75 Season Pass Price Graph12.4 days1974-75 Skier Visit Graph
1973-74$6.501973-74 Ticket Price Graph1973-74 Season Pass Price Graph1973-74 Skier Visit Graph
1972-73$6.501972-73 Ticket Price Graph1972-73 Season Pass Price Graph1972-73 Skier Visit Graph
1971-72$6.001971-72 Ticket Price Graph$85.001971-72 Season Pass Price Graph14.2 days1971-72 Skier Visit Graph
1970-71$6.001970-71 Ticket Price Graph1970-71 Season Pass Price Graph1970-71 Skier Visit Graph
1969-70$5.501969-70 Ticket Price Graph1969-70 Season Pass Price Graph1969-70 Skier Visit Graph
1960s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1968-69$4.751968-69 Ticket Price Graph1968-69 Season Pass Price Graph1968-69 Skier Visit Graph
1967-68$4.751967-68 Ticket Price Graph1967-68 Season Pass Price Graph1967-68 Skier Visit Graph
1966-67$4.501966-67 Ticket Price Graph1966-67 Season Pass Price Graph1966-67 Skier Visit Graph
1964-65$4.501964-65 Ticket Price Graph1964-65 Season Pass Price Graph1964-65 Skier Visit Graph
1963-64$4.501963-64 Ticket Price Graph1963-64 Season Pass Price Graph1963-64 Skier Visit Graph
1962-63$4.501962-63 Ticket Price Graph1962-63 Season Pass Price Graph1962-63 Skier Visit Graph
1961-62$4.001961-62 Ticket Price Graph1961-62 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 15March 311961-62 Skier Visit Graph

Visitor Memories
"first skied mt. tom in 1960. in 1965 got in major trouble with coach Dailey for skiing before the state basketball championship game. lol"
Bruce Douglas class of 1965, May. 30, 2018
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External Links
  • Mt. Tom (VT) - New England Lost Ski Areas Project
  • Last updated: October 1, 2020

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