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Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
On December 15, 1956, Polly Case straddled a small disc attached to a cable – a "poma lift" – and rode to the top of Holt's Ledge in Lyme Center, becoming the first patron of the College's then-brand-new ski area. Case was awarded the honor of the first ride up the mountain for suggesting the name of the ski area: the Dartmouth Skiway.
An estimated 750,000 patrons and a succession of major improvements after Case's ride up the poma, the Dartmouth Skiway celebrates its 50th anniversary this winter. One of only a handful of American ski areas owned by colleges or universities, the Skiway has become a ski resource for the entire Upper Valley community.
"Dartmouth holds a significant place in the history of American skiing, with the Skiway as a prominent site in that history," says Skiway General Manager Doug Holler. "We're celebrating our history with events not just for Dartmouth but for the entire Upper Valley skiing community."
UPDATE: now that Mother Nature has cooperated with more than two feet of snow in the Valentine's Day Blizzard, the Skiway will commemorate its 50th anniversary on Saturday, March 3. Events planned for the day include family ski races, a treasure hunt, a "rail jam" and boardercross competition for boarders and freesliders and reduced ticket rates for skiers costumed from the past 50 years. The day concludes with an awards ceremony, costume contest judging and prize drawings. A portion of the day's lift ticket sales will be donated to a number of Upper Valley charities, including Headrest, WISE, The Haven, and the Visiting Nurse Alliance of Vermont & New Hampshire.
The past half-century has seen a number of significant changes since the old poma lift on Holt's Ledge, including the addition of snowmaking – now covering 64 percent of the Skiway's 104 skiable acres – in 1985; the installation of the Winslow Mountain quad chair across the road from Holt's Ledge in 1993; the construction of the McLane Family Lodge in 2000; and a significant upgrade to the Holt's Ledge chairlift last year.
The Skiway currently offers three lifts and 14 slopes and trails, with terrain for beginners to experts as well as terrain features for all users.
Home of the Dartmouth Ski Team, the Skiway has been host to NCAA championships and scores of racers who went on to compete in international and Olympic competition, as well as community based ski programs such as the Ford Sayre Memorial Ski Council and Team Spectra, and after-school ski programs from nearby Thetford, Chelsea, Strafford, and Bradford,VT and Orford and Lyme, NH.
For more information on the Skiway and its 50th anniversary celebration, see the Skiway website.
Dartmouth has television (satellite uplink) and radio (ISDN) studios available for domestic and international live and taped interviews. For more information, call 603-646-3661 or see our Radio, Television capability webpage.