Just as it seems as if New Hampshire might be plucking one ski area off the pile of its now-defunct, another seems destined to become but a memory.
Granite Gorge, a small ski area located in Keene, N.H., will be up for foreclosure sale next month. According to the Keene Sentinel, John Baybutt, the owner of Granite Gorge, said last December that the Route 9 ski area was unlikely to reopen after closing at the beginning of the pandemic in March, 2020. A public auction for the property is scheduled for June 3, according to the legal noticed published in the paper.
“I’ve pretty much decided to move on from it,” Baybutt said last December.
Granite Gorge has had quite the challenging history, not unlike nearby Tenney Mountain, which might experience a resurrection from its own hibernation now that it has new owners. In 1999, Baybutt Construction purchased the former Pinnacle Mountain, which had not seen operation as a ski area since the mid-1970s. In 2003, Pinnacle re-opened as Granite Gorge. The ski area saw significant expansion, including a chairlift addition and more snowmaking, in the immediate years to follow.
According to New England Ski History, “Granite Gorge scaled back operations for the 2018-19 season, as it ceased operating the chairlift and instead focused on snow tubing and skiing on the Bunny Buster trail.” After nearly being auctioned off in the summer of 2019 (the auction was cancelled when the ski area met the bank’s terms), the ski area continued to operate its surface lifts during the winter of 2019-20. A few months after closing in March, 2020, co-owner Fred Baybutt died, and the ski area has been in limbo ever since.
Granite Gorge’s auction listing in 2019 valued the property — including a lodge, a bar and grill, and a rental center — at close to $544,000, according to the Sentinel. The listing said more than $13,000 in unpaid taxes were owed on the site.
This year’s foreclosure auction will take place on June 3 at the ski area.