Evergreen Valley, in the towns of Lovell and Stoneham, Maine, is an exemplar of failure in the ski industry.
It’s also a mecca of sorts for enthusiasts of “lost” ski areas. Yesterday I spent some time at Evergreen Valley with seven students and two teachers from the White Mountain School in Bethlehem, NH. They were spending a week exploring the physical remains of a number of lost and still-going-strong ski areas, as part of a school project. The concept involved physical exploration — plus some skiing and snowboarding — as well as lessons in the economics of the snowsports business and its myriad interrelationships with federal, state and local governments.
I met the group at the Lovell Historical Society, where president Cathy Stone and I spoke about how the sad saga of Evergreen Valley began in 1961 and was largely played out by the mid-1990s. The most complete exposition of this story is contained in an essay I wrote some years ago for Cathy’s newsletter and later published in the Ski Museum of Maine‘s Snow Trail.
The whole article is also available online, under the title “Shooting for the Moon,” at the New England Lost Ski Areas website. Click here to call up the page and article.
Then we piled into the school’s bus and drove the half-dozen miles or so to the site of the ski area. The base lodge (two pix above) is the largest and most visible of the remains. We also found the concrete pedestals for the lift terminals. When Evergreen Valley opened, on Dec. 16, 1972, three chairlifts were spinning, the most at any one mountain in Maine.
Evergreen Valley operated for three seasons, beginning with 1972-1973, then closed for a year (one of the resort’s numerous bankruptcies and financial reorganizations) before opening for nine more seasons. Then it was defunct for good. I skied there twice while in college, and generally liked the place.
Brent Detamore, one of the teachers, joined by several students, hiked up one of the old trails and snowboarded down.
After lunch back at the Society, we got back in the bus and did a whirlwind tour of historical ski sites in nearby Fryeburg.
Photo credits: Base lodge ca. 1970s and summit photo ca. 1970s are from the collections of the Lovell Historical Society. Both pix are scanned postcards. The other pix are mine. SA.
A number of other Evergreen Valley photos can be viewed online by visiting the Lovell Historical Society’s website.