Family-owned ski areas compete with corporate-backed resorts

Published: Jan. 8, 2023 at 8:02 AM EST
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RICHMOND, Vt. (WCAX) - While some of Vermont’s ski areas are owned by big corporations like Vail, POWDR or Alterra, others stay in the family.

Cochran’s Ski Area in Richmond still operates as a family-owned nonprofit ski area. Other nonprofit ski hills in the state include Northeast Slopes in Corinth and Hard’Ack in St. Albans.

Cochran’s aims to offer up the opportunity to ski to anybody, regardless of their economic status.

Barbara Ann Cochran, a daughter of the hill’s founders and an Olympic gold medalist, says they blow snow on eight of their trails whenever possible, but increasingly warm winter weather makes it difficult for them to keep up with corporate-backed resorts.

However, she says, the goal for the area was never to make money.

“With these corporate places, the prices seem like they just keep going up and up. It’s incredible. But for us, our prices have actually come down, so I think that’s a big difference,” Cochran said. “There’s a lot of magic here.”

She says they also prioritize engaging with the community through various programs, like Ski Tots and after-school activities with local schools.

They’re running a camp over February break called Rippers and Racers to introduce the joy of ski racing. You can find more information here.