40 Years Young: Attitash Set to Celebrate

By AlpineZone News |
Dec 02 2004 - 02:18 PM

BARTLETT, NH ??” Attitash first opened its slopes to the public on Jan. 26, 1965. On Jan. 26, 2005 Attitash will begin the 40 Days and Nights of Attitash celebration that will include an induction of historical figures into the Attitash Hall of Fame, ticket deals, special events, giveaways, and a grand finale on March 5-6 that will feature the high flying stunts and fireworks of the crowd favorite All-Star Aerial Show. Ongoing information about Attitash’s 40th anniversary is available at attitash.com/40.

“It’s our ruby anniversary,” said Tom Chasse, managing director of Attitash. “This is a great time to give thanks to everyone who has made Attitash what it is today. We’ll be acknowledging the major players with an induction ceremony and also the skiing and riding public with 40 days and nights of deals and events.”

The Attitash of today came to be in the early 1960’s when two groups of people building ski resorts next to one another decided it was in their best interest to team up rather than compete. It turned out to be a good match. The group that was developing Bear Peak had manpower and good connections but little money, while the Attitash developer had plenty of cash but not enough hands on board.

Robert Holloran, who was part of the group developing Bear Peak in the early 60’s, has bore witness to the trials and tribulations of the resorts’ entire life span as well as the industry at large. “I thought snowmaking was a joke when it first came out,” said Holloran. “Mother Nature was taking care of us pretty well until one year when we only had six days of skiing and three of them were lousy. Snowmaking wasn’t as funny after that, it was serious.”

“Every ski area had to have a gimmick back then. For a while we though ours would be the monorail. It didn’t turn out that way because the thing wasn’t practical at all. The red carpet is what people remembered and Attitash became known as the red carpet ski area – because there was red carpeting and because of the treatment,” said Holloran.

Holloran still skis Attitash regularly at the age of 86 and is quick to show off his credentials as a ski patroller during the 1960 Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley.

Another forefather of the resort that will be commemorated during the 40th anniversary is Thad Thorne. As a member of the 10th Mountain Division ski troops, Thorne returned with a passion for skiing and Attitash stood to benefit as he moved from operations manager to general manager to president.

“Building the resort was the most challenging thing and the most enjoyable,” said Thorne. “I really took heart in the physical aspects like our employees and facilities. I was less enthusiastic when it came to the lawyers and bankers that got involved when we would expand.”

Both men call the Mount Washington Valley home to this day. Noted Thorne, “I loved the ski business, but now I’ve got a farm with cattle and a lumber mill. I’m busier than a one armed paper hanger.”