Stu Winchester - Writer/Editor and Podcaster of The Storm Skiing Journal and Podcast wrote an article titled -
15 Developments That Defined Lift-Served U.S. Skiing in 2023
You can read the entire article at https://www.stormskiing.com/p/15-developments-that-defined-lift by joining "The Storm".
We thank Stu Winchester for allowing us to share this portion.
#11 is Holiday Mountain, New York steps back from the brink
Of the 140-ish ski areas I’ve hit over the past five winters, the most beat-up and dour was Holiday Mountain (not to be confused with Holiday Valley), a 400-footer rising off Route 17 in southern New York. More than two-thirds of the ski area sat abandoned, lifts rusting in place. The website was cartoonishly disorganized. Buying a lift ticket was a whole process that involved a phone call and a dice roll. The staff seemed to be plugged into some kind of acid-trip VR goggles, lost on a planet that had little to do with my intention to ski at Holiday Mountain. This, I thought, was going to be New York’s next lost ski area.
It won’t be. Earlier this year, a local businessman named Mike Taylor bought the mountain, which sits on land that his grandmother once owned. A longtime patroller at Plattekill, he knows enough about skiing to know that the only way to win is to launch catapults full of money at the hill until some of it starts bouncing back.
Taylor entered on a war footing, documenting every swipe of the paintbrush on the mountain’s Instagram and Facebook pages. He has an affinity for big machines, big projects, and big changes. It’s impossible to itemize everything he’s done, but imagine one of those TV shows where they buy some old mansion that looks as though it will disintegrate in the next rainstorm, and then they bring in 500 contractors and suddenly the place looks like a set piece on Gone With the Wind. Taylor just did skiing’s version of that. He plans to revive all the lost terrain and replace all the crappy broken chairlifts – he already bought Massanutten’s old quad to replace the rickety double chair that’s been sitting idle for five years (though he fixed that up just for this season). He’s gutting and replacing the snowmaking system and cutting new trails. The updated trailmap reflects the scope of his ambition:
The crummy old map, for context:
So why does this matter? Because America is filled with Holiday Mountains, worn-out community hills whose owners lack the ambition, know-how, capital, and/or energy to do anything but watch the place fall apart.
But this template – a successful businessman who knows how to get things done even if he doesn’t necessarily know how to do them at a ski area – works. It’s the same playbook that the Monette family – who run a variety of businesses at the tip-top of New York – deployed to save the doomed-but-now-thriving-and-ever-expanding Titus Mountain. Charles Jefferson, an urban real-estate developer who had never skied, pulled the same trick at Montage Mountain in Pennsylvania. It’s not a perfect solution, but that combination of steady revenue from other businesses, the understanding that investment eventually yields returns, patience, and a refusal to quit is a formula for transforming distressed ski areas. How to replicate it, I have no idea, but ask Taylor, and he’ll be happy to share.