For over 80 years, Mount Ascutney’s extensive trail network and challenging alpine terrain served as the centerpiece of community recreation in the Town of West Windsor. With the closure of the ski area in 2010, the Town rallied around a new concept to change the community’s future and energize the hearts and spirits of residents by creating more diversified outdoor activities, mountain biking and hiking, affordable winter activities, as well as community events and educational programs that appeal to all ages.
A New Era Begins
In December 2015, the Town, with assistance from the Trust for Public Land and the support of donors from the local community and beyond, led the charge to acquire 470 acres of land associated with the former Ascutney Mountain Resort. A conservation and recreation easement was conveyed to the Upper Valley Land Trust over what became the expanded 1,581 acres of town forest. We are honored to have our story told through this wonderful video from The Trust For Public Land.
Ascutney Outdoors (AO), an independent nonprofit, was formed to take responsibility for the management, oversight and development of recreational, educational and community activities and conservation on this land under a delegation of authority from the Town of West Windsor. The Trust for Public Land’s Kate Wanner, spoke of the origins of Ascutney Outdoors as a “community-driven approach to an all-season mountain [that] could become a model for the Northeast.”
Our community came together with determination and commitment. Local donors and volunteers are integral to keeping operations financially sustainable. Ascutney Outdoors has grown its scope of outdoor recreational programs and community events, appealing to people from a range of demographics in West Windsor and beyond. Our sister volunteer organization, Sports Trails of the Ascutney Basin (STAB) partners with AO to ensure continued success for biking on the mountain.
Building for the community
In late 2016, AO determined that an indoor meeting place was essential to achieving its vision for service to the greater community. AO raised capital for the project from the community and local partners and our new Ascutney Outdoors Center (AOC) opened in 2018. The AOC has become the gateway to the mountainside trail network and serves a variety of recreational activities. It’s the perfect setting for hosting events, cultural activities and educational programs.
The next phase of development was the installation of a handlebar lift for snow tubing. With the generous support of Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Mount Ascutney Resort, it was opened with great fanfare. Finally, AO received a donation of a 2,500’ high-quality, Doppelmayr T-bar, and the community came together once again to meet the challenge of raising funds for the installation of the lift. The T-bar was completed in 2019.
Our major building plans will soon be complete with the installation of a skills park for the mountain biking community and expansion of equestrian and hiking trails.
We invite you to explore our website to learn more and look forward to seeing you on the mountain!