Please support the Valley News during the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the local economy — and many of the advertisers who support our work — to a near standstill. During this unprecedented challenge, we continue to make our coronavirus coverage free to everyone at www.vnews.com/coronavirus because we feel our most critical mission is to deliver vital information to our communities.

If you believe local news is essential, especially during this crisis, we are asking for your support. Please consider subscribing or making a donation today. Learn more at the links below.

Thank you for your support of the Valley News.

Dan McClory, publisher


Chair Pickers: Ski Runners Benefit From Lift’s Demise

  • Skiiers enjoy the view on Suicide Six's "Chair #1" in a file photograph dated 2008. "Chair #1" was decommissioned was is to be replaced with a four-seat lift in December. The Woodstock Inn, which owns Suicide Six, donated 60 chairs to the Woodstock Ski Runners club to sell to the public.

  • Skiiers enjoy the view on Suicide Six's "Chair #1" in a file photograph dated 2008. "Chair #1" was decommissioned was is to be replaced with a four-seat lift in December. The Woodstock Inn, which owns Suicide Six, donated 60 chairs to the Woodstock Ski Runners club to sell to the public.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/1/2016 11:19:29 PM
Modified: 10/1/2016 11:38:55 PM

Chris Adams couldn’t have been sure what to expect. Putting a piece of Vermont skiing history up for sale to the community at large was sure to get a response. But the reaction seems to have taken Adams, a board member of the Woodstock Ski Runners and Suicide Six ski team, by surprise.

On Friday, the Woodstock Ski Runners sold 60 of the 81 two-person chairs from the recently decommissioned Chair No. 1 at Suicide Six Ski Area for $350 each to benefit the Ski Runners’ various instructional programs that take place seasonally on the mountain. The chairs were donated by the Woodstock Inn and Resort, which owns the mountain, to help the club with its fundraising efforts.

The sale opened at 10 a.m. on Friday. All 60 chairs were sold within 15 minutes.

“The response was overwhelming,” Adams said.

Chair No. 1 at Suicide Six was originally installed in the 1970s and started showing signs of its age last winter. Adams remembered during last season’s International Ski Federation slalom race that the lift broke down, putting the club’s premiere event — also the longest consecutively run race in the United States, according to Adams — in jeopardy. Woodstock Ski Runners used a tractor to drag racers up on ropes.

“I woke up that morning with a fair share of dread,” Adams said. “But that was one of the more fun days I’ve had.”

But signs were clear that the lift needed to be upgraded. Gary Thulander, president and general manager of the Woodstock Inn, said after last winter the time had come to consider a replacement. The Inn recieved a $1.5 million grant from the Laurance S. Rockefeller Fund to help offset the cost of a new lift, which will hold twice the capacity of Chair No. 1 and offer “a more comfortable and rapid ascent to the summit,” according to a news release. Installation of the new lift is scheduled to be completed by mid-December.

“We’re very excited to bring the new lift to the property,” Thulander said. “It’s bringing new energy that we hope will last for years.”

For Thulander, donating chairs to the Ski Runners in order to help their fundraising efforts just made sense.

“We wanted to make sure our partner, the Ski Runners, had a jump start for this coming season,” he said. “Sixty of the 81 chairs went to the Ski Runners for fundraising for their programs, their facility and equipment needs.”

Half of the money raised will help support the Ski Runners’ Friday Program, a low-cost learn-to-ski program that serves as an introductory course to students who were not interested in skiing beforehand or lacked the means to take traditional classes. The other half will help support the Ski Runners’ ski teams.

“We offer an extremely low-priced opportunity for schoolkids to learn to ski at Suicide Six all winter long,” Adams said. “We usually have about 300 kids from about 15 area schools for two hours. … It’s a cool way for the mountain to give back.”

Thulander said two of the chairs from Chair No. 1 were donated to the Alpine Ski Museum in Stowe, Vt., while the remaining chairs are still up for grabs to other organizations looking for some support in their fundraising efforts.

For Adams and many who frequent Suicide Six, seeing Chair No. 1 broken up and sold is a little bittersweet. On one hand, Adams said, the time had come for an upgrade. But Thulander acknowledged that connections are made with skiiers and their lifts. Seeing Friday’s response from the public illustrated just how strong that connection was.

“It’s not only the chairs; it’s the connection to the property itself,” Thulander said. “That’s loyalty to the brand. It’s the memories they’ve enjoyed. Many people learned to ski there, that’s pretty powerful. It’s a piece of history.

“We had so much volume this morning, the website crashed. It was totally like buying concert tickets or something.”

Josh Weinreb can be reached at jweinreb@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.




Valley News

24 Interchange Drive
West Lebanon, NH 03784
603-298-8711

 

© 2019 Valley News
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy