A NELSAP Special Event sponsored by the new Snow Valley owner allowed NELSAP’ers a rare chance to earn turns at the Private lost ski area Snow Valley. The owners plan to develop a Private Ski Club with Private Real Estate and lodging for club members. Snow Valley is private property and earning turns at the Ski Area is not normally allowed making this powder day an extra special treat. Six inches of blower powder, sweet!
Skinned up Mount Watatic in Ashby, Massachusetts after my plans to drive to Magic Mountain were scrapped due to early morning car difficulties. After fixing the the vehicle’s dysfunction, it was too nice of a day to not get some turns in, so I turned to NELSAP for suggestions. Mount Watatic fit the bill for a less than two hour drive to a mountain with a decent but not over whelming vertical drop. I decided it would be a perfect mountain for a late afternoon skin. I quickly packed up the gear and set off for Route 119 leading towards the New Hampshire border.
Despite having closed down in 1984, Mount Watatic’s old ski trails have not grown in much. This has much to do with the high amount of activity on the mountain I found out. Snowmobilers and Winter Hikers alike were out in strong numbers on this Saturday afternoon enjoying blue bird skis and distant views from the summit. A summit access road exists for four wheeled vehicles during the Summer, but my turns would have to be earned by skinning up the old ski trails.
For the Martin Luther King Holiday weekend, I had to work both Saturday and Monday. I dreaded the crowd potential of any ski area during the holiday weekend. I decided this would be a perfect weekend to explore trails off the beaten path. Way off the beaten path. Such as Lost Ski Areas that are no longer in operation.
For Sunday, I choose local Sea View Ski Area in Rowley, MA. I had previously made a summer hiking trip to this lost area for exploration purposes. I thought some fun and interesting turns could be had down the narrow trail that is currently a leg of the Bay Circuit Trail. So I embarked on a solo expedition to the Lost Ski Area formerly known as Sea View which is also known as Prospect Hill.
On my way to Jay Peak, I stopped by a ski area on I-89 that was no longer in operation. Whaleback stopped operations after it’s 2000-2001 ski season; however, the area was sold and reopened for the 2005-2006 Ski Season. The ski area is currently marketing itself towards the freestyle and park crowd.
I had never skied Whaleback; but looking at the mountain, I sure wish I had had the opportunity! Whaleback does have rather limited vertical, but they make excellent use of what little they do have! From the base area, a number of interesting runs are visible; including a couple of decently pitched and fairly narrow trails (including a sweet looking glade trail). The trails seem to have a decent pitch and are cut into natural fall lines. Although probably not the most challenging terrain, given the right conditions I am sure Whaleback offers tons of fun.
As far as their facilities, they are all in tact and surviving a winter of inactivity just fine. The blue double chairlift still looked to be in fine condition and none of the trails have grown in. In a matter of fact, several of the trails featured ski and snowmobile tracks! Had I some company, I would have gladly earned some turns myself!