For many New Englanders, the voice of Bob Beattie will forever embody the thrill and excitement of alpine ski racing. And that voice will be missed. Beattie, the Manchester, N.H., native and Middlebury College graduate who founded the U.S. Ski Team and meant so much to the sport of ski racing, died in April at the age of 85.
Beattie worked as an ABC commentator for four Winter Olympics from 1976-88 and called many of the most thrilling races in the sport’s history, including Franz Klammer’s electrifying gold-medal run in the downhill at Innsbruck, Austria, in 1976.
His professional career in the sport began at Middlebury. A three-sport athlete, Beattie remained at Middlebury after graduating in 1955 with an education degree to serve as an assistant ski coach, and he was named acting coach a year later. In 1957, he became head coach of the ski team at the University of Colorado at Boulder, winning NCAA national titles in 1959 and 1960. That success launched Beattie into national prominence. He was named head alpine coach for the U.S. Ski Association team in 1961.
Under his direction as national coach, the United States won its first-ever medals in Winter Olympics competition when Billy Kidd won bronze and Jimmie Heuga silver in Austria in 1964.
Beattie co-founded the World Cup for alpine skiing in 1966 and founded the World Pro Ski Tour in 1970. The then-U.S. Ski Association awarded Beattie its highest honor, the Julius Blegen Award, in 1964 for his leadership in forming the U.S. Ski Team.
He was awarded the AT&T Skiing Award in 1983 for his lifetime contributions to the sport. He was inducted into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in 1986.
The U.S. Ski Team and International Ski Federation presented Beattie the FIS Journalist Award in 1997. He also was honored with the U.S. Ski Association’s Russell Wilder Award in 2000 for his contribution to youth through NASTAR.
WHEELIN’ FUN AT ATTITASH
Attitash/Bear Peak is the place for rollicking good times on four wheels — or three — this September.
The Red Parka Pub World Championship Grand Prix Downhill Tricycle Race hits Bear Peak on Sept. 16 for a day of thrills and spills on the country’s most challenging downhill tricycle course. Compete solo, race as a team or watch the action from the deck of the Bear’s Den. Proceeds benefit the Dewey Mark Red Parka Scholarship Fund.
Helmets are required. Bring your own helmet and trike, or the resort will have plenty available to use that day. All competitors must be 21 or older, but all ages are welcome to watch and cheer racers on to the finish. The Bear’s Den will be open serving up burgers, beverages and more. Pricing and tickets on attitash.com.
On Sept. 22, Attitash Mountain Resort will be invaded by more than 150 Jeep Wranglers from White Mountain Jeeps and Granite State Offroad, in addition to Jeep accessory companies with the latest and greatest modifications. Get up close and personal with these offroad machines while enjoying the Attractions Park, and live music from 1-4 p.m. by The Dean Machine.
Proceeds from the raffle will be donated to AbilityPlus Adaptive Sports. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is free for all ages.
LOON MOUNTAIN RACE SET FOR JULY 8 ASCENT
Named the “Most Competitive Hillclimb” by Runner’s World Magazine, this ridiculously tough race will force you to climb over 2,000 vertical feet over the course of six and a half miles.
The legendary climb straight up Upper Walking Boss makes another appearance this year, providing one of the toughest, most awe-inspiring kilometers in the fast-growing sport of mountain running. This year, the race will serve as the US Mountain Running Championships.
To register for the Loon Mountain Race, check out the websit www.acidoticracing.com.
The backcountry skiing movement in New Hampshire has cause for celebration as two projects proposed by Granite Backcountry Alliance have been awarded historic approvals by the White Mountain National Forest, and work is expected to get under way this summer.
The decision to permit the clearing of backcountry ski trails in two locations — Bartlett Mountain in Bartlett and Baldface Mountain in Chatham — represent the first authorized tree-skiing projects within National Forest boundaries. In its decision to approve the projects, the WMNF stated it will work collaboratively with the GBA to promote partnerships and stewardship of public lands.
“We commend the WMNF for recognizing the surge in skier demand for backcountry terrain and look forward to working with the National Forest on these projects and others in the future,” said Tyler Ray, president of GBA’s board of directors. “Today’s decision marks a new normal in how public lands are managed for glade skiing — through a thoughtful, transparent and candid partnership. This decision will provide a significant boost to our community of backcountry skiers.”
GBA, a New Hampshire nonprofit organization, was formed in 2016 to develop human-powered backcountry skiing opportunities in New Hampshire and western Maine. “We are incredibly excited to partner with the WMNF in implementing these historic backcountry skiing projects,” Ray said.
Bartlett Mountain is the former home of the Maple Villa Ski Trail, cut by the Civilian Conservation Corp in 1933. The permit authorizes GBA for “vegetation removal, and installing and maintaining signs for the backcountry ski zones” in a 410-acre zone on the mountain’s north slope.
Baldface Mountain, also known as Evans Notch, is located near the Maine border. The authorized area for developing glade skiing terrain is 600 acres and the vertical drop is 2,500 to the bottom. “It has the potential to be a classic glade, a slightly smaller scale yet modern version of Tuckerman Ravine flowing into the John Sherburne Ski Trail,” said Ray. “We expect this zone to appeal broadly to all ability levels and incorporate an existing on-mountain lean-to.”
BOYNE RESORTS TO ACQUIRE LOON AND SUNDAY RIVER
Boyne Resorts announced March 12 an agreement with Ski Resort Holdings LLC, an affiliate of Oz Real Estate, to acquire six mountain resorts and a scenic chairlift attraction currently leased by the resort company. As operator of the assets and owner of additional resorts, Boyne Resorts has a 70-year history of ski industry innovations and is the third-largest mountain resort company in North America.
Included in the transaction are Loon Mountain in New Hampshire; Sugarloaf and Sunday River resorts in Maine; Brighton Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon near Salt Lake City, Utah; Cypress Mountain in Vancouver, B.C.; Gatlinburg Sky Lift in Gatlinburg, Tenn.; and The Summit at Snoqualmie near Seattle. The transaction is expected to close later this year and well ahead of the 2018-19 ski season, once regulatory approvals are granted.
“Our intention all along has been to regain and acquire ownership of these resorts,” said Stephen Kircher, president and chief executive officer of Boyne Resorts. “We are pleased to see this come to fruition and also really proud of our long-term achievements and diligence that primed us for this acquisition. Boyne Resorts has been a long-term operator of these assets — some for decades. This transaction therefore poses no business interruption or integration risk. This opportunity now at hand will enable us to accelerate and fine tune the execution of our reinvestment plans for these spectacular properties, which will boost our competitive advantages and support our focus on continuous enhancement of the guest experience.”
“Boyne Resorts is a world-class owner and operator of ski resorts and attractions,” said Steven E. Orbuch, founder and president of Oz Real Estate. “We have enjoyed our association with them during our ownership of these properties and wish them continued success in the future. We look forward to the consummation of this mutually beneficial transaction as it allows for Boyne Resorts to again fully control these resorts while resulting in a positive outcome for our investors.”
Boyne Resorts and its 11 resorts and attractions are positioned for continued and notable growth within the ski, outdoor recreation and resort industries. Founded in 1947, Boyne Resorts has maintained a heritage of innovation, highlighted by its recent unveiling of plans to install an eight-seat, high-speed chairlift at its Big Sky Resort in Montana — the first in North America. Development of patented and proprietary snowmaking systems, installation of the world’s first triple and quad, America’s first high-speed six-place chairlifts, and being the first to transform ski resorts into four-season operations are just a few examples of a lengthy list of additional innovative launches exemplifying the pioneering spirit that has been celebrated throughout the company’s history.
SUMMER IMPROVEMENTS AT KILLINGTON
Killington Mountain Resort is investing in $16 million in upgrades over the summer that officials say will improve mountain access and guest experience. Enhancements will include a new six-person high-speed bubble chairlift, new lift service at South Ridge, upgrades to the K-1 Express Gondola, new intermediate trails and improvements to existing intermediate runs, and installation of RFID technology at both Killington and Pico.
“While we are committed to staying core to our beastly advanced terrain, we are also putting the focus on our blue family-friendly terrain,” said Mike Solimano, president and general manager of Killington Resort. “The investments we’re making will reshape the guest experience for years to come. Uphill capacity will increase to 48,000 riders per hour, and the downhill enhancements will create more diverse terrain for all levels of skiers and riders.”
Summer operations continue to expand at Killington. A Woodward Wreck- Tangle and additional summer attractions will be added to the Adventure Center. Additionally, Killington’s Mountain Bike Park will make improvements to beginner terrain, unveil the newly completed Krusty Trail on Ramshead and extend riding hours.
NH’S FIRST 8-PERSON GONDOLA IN THE WORKS
The Bethlehem, N.H., zoning board voted unanimously to approve a special development exception that clears the way for Bretton Woods to break ground this summer on what will be the state’s first eight-passenger gondola.
The gondola, expected to be opened for the 2018-19 ski season, is the first part of Omni Hotels & Resort’s $15 million project that also will include the construction of a two-story mountaintop restaurant and events center. The new facility will replace the existing Latitude 44 restaurant and is anticipated to be completed in summer 2019.
The gondola line will start in the base area, cross over the Bethlehem Quad, and terminate at the top of Fabyan’s Triple. The lift will be about 6,000 feet long, climbing 1,300 vertical feet before terminating about 100 feet below the summit of Mount Rosebrook.
CANNON TRAM, FLUME GORGE SET FOR SUMMER SEASON
One of the must-see attractions in the Granite State, the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway is set to open from May 25-Oct. 14 this season.
An 80-passenger cable car brings visitors to the 4,080-foot summit of Cannon Mountain in under 10 minutes. On a clear day, you can see the mountains of four states and Canada. At the summit, you’ll find spectacular scenic walking paths, a 360-degree observation deck, a cafe, bar and restrooms.
It is New Hampshire’s highest lift-accessed point and an exciting ride for all ages.
Franconia Notch State Park’s other main draw, The Flume is a natural granite gorge extending 800 feet at the base of Mount Liberty. Towering granite walls rise to a spectacular height of 90 feet. The Flume Gorge and Visitor Center is scheduled to be open daily May 12 through Oct. 21
Buy a Discovery Pass good for one entry to the Aerial Tramway and the Flume Gorge and save.
Check out cannonmt.com for more information.
BIG PLANS FOR CATAMOUNT
Set for July 8 ascent, the owner of Berkshire East Mountain Resort has entered into an agreement to buy Catamount Ski Area, with management in place. The transaction is scheduled to close in May with no interruption of operations at Catamount.
This acquisition unites two longstanding southern New England ski area owner operators, whose owners share a common vision for the growth and potential for western Massachusetts.
Catamount straddles the Mass./N.Y. border and operates on approximately 385 acres. Catamount’s 36 trails cover 100 acres of terrain. Summer operations at Catamount include an aerial adventure park with 12 self-guided tree-top courses including three zipline courses.