Even if you’ve never skied Whaleback Mountain, you have undoubtedly driven by the small ski area just off I-89 en route to Vermont. Sadly though, it will be no more. Owners Evan Dybvig, Frank Sparrow, and Dylan Goodspeed posted a message on their website Thursday that the mountain would be ceasing operations.
Here’s the letter:
Thanks to you and your support Whaleback Mountain is an incredible resource for this community. It is also one that has been a great joy to be a part of. In tomorrow's local paper there will be news about the mountain's future, and we want to try to let you know what is happening.
It is with deep regret that Frank, Dylan and I, owners and managing members, inform you that we have no option but to close our business. We sincerely hope that our departure is not the end of skiing and riding at Whaleback. On the contrary, we believe that this is an opportunity for the community to Save the Whale and continue to maintain this beloved place. We strongly believe that Whaleback could be a sustainable and vital resource with appropriate funding and leadership, especially after our 8 years of developing strong programs and relationships. It would be a tremendous loss to this region and the industry if Whaleback closes for good.
Currently, multiple schools and towns utilize Whaleback for after school ski and snowboard programs. Every Thursday Night 47 teams of 4 racers eagerly anticipate a night of racing under the lights. The Whaleback Core Team and Whaleback Mountain Club thrive with families who choose to spend their weekends and nights on the slopes here. Whaleback also has been a resource for Ford Sayre Ski Club, which utilizes our great terrain to train future stars of ski racing. Whaleback has become a favorite spot for people to host events of all types from weddings to skiing and snowboarding competitions to motor sports events.
Unfortunately, the positive gains that we have made over the years have not been enough to overcome our debt. We have tried numerous avenues to recapitalize the business to put ourselves on surer footing without success. Our only option at this point is to close. We thank you so much for your support and for believing in the value that our small mountain has for you, your friends and family. Needless to say, we believe in it too.
There have been many discussions and plans are emerging to raise money through a non-profit to purchase the mountain and continue operating. This is an option that many believe is the best hope for the future of Whaleback. If you would like to comment or contribute, please contact Frank directly (email@example.com). When this plan is ready to go live you will be among the first to know.
Finally, while this a certainly a bittersweet time for all of us, we want to relish the remainder of the season together. Please join us to say goodbye and to enjoy a few more runs down favorite trails as we all contemplate what this place means to us. For us it has been a big family that we will dearly miss.
Evan, Dylan, and Frank
Whaleback will be open Thursday though, and lift tickets are free from 4-8 p.m.
Eric Wilbur is a lifelong recreational skier who spends most of his winter and spring in the mountains of New England. He does not ski in jeans. You can read more of Eric's work here.
Heather Burke is an award winning ski journalist with over a decade of ski news coverage. As a former ski instructor and a ski parent, she knows the ski biz from the inside out. She and her family visit New England ski resorts, as well as the West and Canada, to report on the latest trends and their best family finds. Her husband Greg takes all the accompanying photos, and their work can be seen at www.familyskitrips.com and www.luxuryskitrips.com.