For 75 years, Mount Ascutney’s extensive trail network and challenging alpine terrain served as the centerpiece of recreation in the Town of West Windsor. The history of the ski area was highlighted by the first snow making in Vermont, which was built with the ingenuity of the local towns folk. Unfortunately, ever since the first ski runs opened in 1947, turning a profit on skiing has been tough. Over the years, the area saw cycles of unpredictable snowfall, expansion and bankruptcy.
With the closure of the old ski area, the Town rallied around a new concept to energize the hearts and spirits of residents by creating more diversified base of outdoor activities, including affordable and sustainable community skiing, hiking and mountain biking, as well as events and educational programs. Our community came together with determination and commitment. Today a conservation easement coupled with a well-managed multi-use recreational area offers a new approach to long-term stability – both for the local community and the land they cherish.
We have achieved our vision through the tireless support of our volunteers and donors. We invite you to explore our website to learn more and look forward to seeing you on the mountain!
History of Ascutney Outdoors
In December 2015, the Town, with assistance from the Trust for Public Land and the support of individual donors, 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, 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.”
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 1,800’ 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.
Ascutney Outdoors latest effort on behalf of the community was the opening of a new ‘Discovery Trail’, an interpretive walking trail starting and ending at the Ascutney Outdoors Center. The roughly one-mile loop includes stops with panels that engage visitors to understand and explore the natural and human history of the area. The trail is an extension of our programs and will attract many families, school children, and visitors to the mountain.