It appears the Mount Ascutney Ski Area will not open this season, and now there's concern about the ripple effect on the local economy.
To get the pulse of just about any community, the local general store is a good bet, and the mood inside the Brownsville General Store Thursday matched the dreary weather outside. "I just think it is very disappointing," said local resident, Jim Saudade.
Word has been quickly circulating throughout this community that the new owners of Mt. Ascutney do not plan to open this year. The mountain was foreclosed on this summer after previous owners, Steve and Susan Plausteiner, had piled up nearly 2 million in debt.
"Well it's a shame. Obviously it's a mainstay of the community. Kids love to ski there. My son is at the school here and we have, we had a program there where they ski six Friday afternoons and its a shame that the kids can't do that," said Jill Arthur, another local resident.
The lifts have not yet had their annual inspection by the state, another sign that they will not be running this year. "It's a community mountain. We would all ski together on Sundays and you would see your friends and neighbors and kids on Friday afternoons, so it is really a loss," Arthur said.
For those who had seasonal jobs at the resort, the news comes as a blow. "I think a lot of people in this area may not have derived their principle income from the mountain, but they supplement their income," Saudade said.
As businesses like the ski shop on site sit locked up with no inventory, there are also other economic concerns. "Real estate values went up dramatically over the last 15 years but now they are plummeting again and there are lots of properties on the market," Saudade said.
It is not just the people at the mountain who will be affected by the closure. Business owners in downtown Windsor are also fearful of what the lack of skiers will mean to the local economy. "We look forward to the snow and the ski business taking off because we always get a bump in our business," said Rice Yordy, a wine shop owner. "The reality is that these people who own the condos and everything are probably going to ski other mountains, and when they ski other mountains, they are going to shop other places."
Those who have spent years swooshing down the slopes here are hopeful it has not been there last. "It was a great place to ski and I certainly hope it opens again someday," Saudade said.
Thursday, March 6 2014 11:41 PM EST2014-03-07 04:41:04 GMT
The Randolph man who admitted to murdering his niece in 2008 will be sentenced this spring. In August Michael Jacques struck a deal with federal prosecutors. He gave up his right to an appeal and pleadedMore >>
The Randolph man who admitted to murdering his niece in 2008 will be sentenced this spring.More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 11:40 PM EST2014-03-07 04:40:13 GMT
It's a real estate deal between UVM and the Queen City that could end up kicking some non-profits to the curb. The Burlington School District voted Thursday night on half of the multi-million dollar deal.More >>
It's a real estate deal between UVM and the Queen City that could end up kicking some non-profits to the curb.More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 7:53 PM EST2014-03-07 00:53:09 GMT
'Tis the season-- as winter winds down frost heaves and potholes arrive. The ups and downs of the 2014 winter can be seen and felt. No route or road is spared. And just adding to the frustration-- theMore >>
The deep freeze is making for some rough roads across our region and it's also contributing to a fuel shortage. Shelby Cashman has more.More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 7:56 PM EST2014-03-07 00:56:36 GMT
The pothole problem knows no boundaries. Our neighbors to the north are also dealing with rough roads. The Quebec Transportation Ministry budgeted $260 million for winter road maintenance. But crews haveMore >>
Our neighbors to the north are also dealing with rough roads.More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 4:23 PM EST2014-03-06 21:23:33 GMT
Investigators now say a fire that damaged a student housing complex at St. Michael's College was not caused by the building's heating system. The fire last month damaged a row of townhouses. All of theMore >>
Investigators now say a fire that damaged a student housing complex at St. Michael's College was not caused by the building's heating system.More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 4:50 PM EST2014-03-06 21:50:24 GMT
Vermont police say a New Hampshire woman was driving drunk with two kids in her car. The incident happened Wednesday at the Intersection of 1-91 and Route 302 in Newbury, Vt. Vermont state police sayMore >>
Vermont police say a New Hampshire woman was driving drunk with two kids in her car.More >>