The ski area formerly known as Suicide Six officially has a new name, one that pays tribute to the “original inhabitants of the land and the mountain’s multi-generational legacy and values of community, inclusion, adventure, discovery, and fun.”
Suicide Six, the Pomret, Vt. area, owned and operated by the Woodstock Inn and Resort, had announced last month that a name change was imminent, “acknowledging “the feelings that the word ‘suicide’ evokes can have a significant impact on many in our community.” The new name honors the ancestral land of the indigenous western Abenaki people. The word, “saskadena” means “standing mountain,” symbolizing a deep connection to the original inhabitants and the land.
“The time has come to change the name of our historic ski area to better reflect its rich tradition of family fun,” Courtney Lowe, president of the Woodstock Inn and Resort, said in a release. “We embrace the need for the increasing awareness of mental health and share the growing concern about the insensitivity of the word and the strong feelings it evokes on those in our community who have been touched by the tragedy of suicide.”
Recognized as one of the oldest ski areas in the country, Suicide Six has a rich history that includes America’s first rope tow, introduced on nearby Gilbert’s Farm in 1934. That evolved into the opening of Suicide Six in 1936. It earned the name “Suicide Six” when Rhode Island native Wallace “Bunny” Bertram suggested it would be “suicide” to ski straight down the face of what was then called “Hill No. 6.” The nickname stuck for almost 90 years.
Now named Saskadena Six, the ski area has an elevation of of 1,200 feet and a vertical of 650 feet. It is home to 100 acres of skiing and snowboarding on 24 trails and slopes suitable for all skill levels.
Saskadena Six is only the latest ski area to retire a name. California’s Squaw Valley decided to change its name to Palisades Tahoe last year. In Maine, the mountain known as “Big Squaw” was re-named “Big Moose Mountain” after the state banned the word from public place names like towns, mountains and lakes.
The word, “Squaw,” is recognized as a derogatory term for Native American women.
“Much time, care, and thought has been invested in the process to choose a name more representative of our values, one that celebrates its 86-year history, honors the Abenaki tradition, and will welcome future generations,” Lowe said. “While the name might be changing, the experiences offered on this beloved mountain are not.”
Saskadena Six’s new logo, meanwhile, features the historic “6” red ball, first introduced in the early 1960s at the ski area. , The color palette in shades of yellow, red, and blue draws its inspiration from the Vermont landscape, grounding the Saskadena Six logo in its natural surroundings.
The Saskadena Six name and logo will change immediately. A complete changeover will take a little longer. “The loyalty and passion the community has for ‘S6,’ as we call it, is a blessing that will endure for generations to come,” Lowe said.
Eric Wilbur can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org