Northeast Slopes Offers Nostalgia and Community Spirit
February 04, 2020
Northeast Slopes takes pride in what hasn’t changed since the ski area opened 84 years ago.
Northeast Slopes, located along Route 25 in East Corinth, got its start after a handshake agreement between a ski club president and a local farmer. When the small Vermont ski area opened in 1936, a rope tow was installed on the hill—and it’s now the oldest continuously operating rope tow in the United States.
Northeast Slopes: Volunteers Make it Happen
This volunteer-run small Vermont ski area is open Wednesdays and weekends, offering 12 trails and more than 35 skiable acres in eastern Vermont. A lift ticket costs $15, and skiers and riders can access the trails from two rope tows and a newer T-bar.
The main rope tow, which was installed in 1936 and now extends 1,250 feet up the mountain, includes some original parts. The wheels are from a Model-A Ford, and the wooden wheel spokes are from a 100-year-old Cadillac.
Powered by a 1960 Ford farm truck, it’s considered the world’s fastest rope tow, typically running at about 15 miles per hour but set a recorded speed of 27 miles per hour during a world-record speed attempt.
Just east of the main rope tow is a second, smaller rope tow for beginners that was installed in the 1940s. It’s powered by a 1973 Dodge Dart with a Slant-Six engine.
Skiing the Way it Used to be at Northeast Slopes
Wade Pierson started skiing at Northeast Slopes as a young child in the 1960s. He’s now on the ski area’s board of directors and volunteers at the mountain.
Nostalgia is one thing that people are looking for when they come to Northeast Slopes, he says, explaining that people want to experience what it was like to ski back in the 1930s and 40s.
“So many ski areas are commercialized,” Pierson says. “They have the RFID (radio-frequency identification) card in your pocket. You don’t actually have to see anybody at the (ticket) counter. You don’t have to talk to anybody in the lift line. You can just go do your thing. That is exactly the opposite here.”
Happy Vermont Podcast: An Interview with Wade Pierson
In my new Happy Vermont podcast, Pierson talks about riding the rope tows, what it’s like to operate a volunteer-run ski area, and why people keep coming back to this beloved ski hill in Orange County.