|Vertical Drop:||500 feet|
|Past Lifts:||Surface lifts|
|Left: Mt. Tom in 2014|
|Recent NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News:
Last updated: October 1, 2020
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.
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.
A ski school lesson at Mt. Tom
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 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.
The main Pomalift at Mt. Tom
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.
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.
A 1970 Mt. Tom-Suicide Six advertisement
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.
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.
Mt. Tom in 2016
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.
Click on lift name for information and photos
Year by Year History
Adult Weekend Full Day Lift Ticket; Adult Full Price Unlimited Season Pass
||Season Pass Price
||Season Pass Price
|1961-62||$4.00||December 15||March 31|
|"A Virginia native who always loved snow, I first skied Mt. Tom in 1976. I'd just watched the Olympics and could only make parallel turns for my first ever lesson. (really dumb) The hook went in deep that day and is still with me. Today, at age 72, I skied about 15,000 drop feet in 90 minutes and went back to work where I live in Utah's Big Cottonwood Canyon.
I still love Vermont, especially Woodstock, and of course black diamond runs.
|Jesse Glidewell, Jan. 26, 2021|
|"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|
Mt. Tom (VT) - New England Lost Ski Areas Project