Friday, September 14, 2012

Recommended reading: Lost Ski Areas of the Southern Adirondacks

Lost Ski Areas of the Southern Adirondacks, by Jeremy Davis.
I make no pretensions about this being an unbiased review of author Jeremy Davis’s latest book. I’ve long been a fan of NELSAP (the New England Lost Ski Areas Project), the organization Davis founded in 1998 to document the history of closed ski areas, and consider Davis a personal friend. But if you have an interest in history, the Adirondacks or skiing – or all three – you will find Lost Ski Areas of the Southern Adirondacks to be a fascinating read.

Like Davis’s two previous books (covering the Southern Vermont and White Mountains regions, respectively), Lost Ski Areas of the Southern Adirondacks methodically details the history of nearly 40 ski areas that once operated in the region. More than just a collection of dates, facts, figures and photographs, Davis’s book chronicles the stories of the people who were involved in and enjoyed these ski areas: the founders, employees, instructors, ski patrol and the skiers themselves.

The platter/rope tow at Alpine Meadows, near Saratoga Springs

While Davis had originally envisioned a book encompassing the entire Adirondack region, he soon found that there were simply too many areas to include in a single volume. Therefore, Lost Ski Areas of the Southern Adirondacks includes areas from Ticonderoga to Blue Mountain Lake and Old Forge and south to the Adirondack foothills.

Burned-out rope tow remains at Blister Hill, located in Warrensburg.
The new book is approximately 160 pages long and contains 75 photos. Davis and I recently talked about the new book and some important differences from his earlier Lost Ski Areas books. “I really wanted to cover each ski area in depth, so the new book has more text and fewer photos. The new book comes out to about 44 thousand words, or more than 1,000 words per ski area on average.” Another important change is that Davis has included directions for locating each lost ski area, along with information for exploring those areas that are available for public viewing. Harvey Mountain in North River, for example, is recommended as a good lost area to visit.

When pressed, Davis concedes that the Northern Adirondacks will likely be the focus of his next book, probably several years down the road. He’s not likely to run out of material anytime soon: Davis estimates there may be as many as 300 – 400 lost ski areas in New York State alone.

Lost Ski Areas of the Southern Adirondacks can be purchased at many local ski shops and book stores, through NELSAP's website, or by contacting the author.

Click here for earlier posts covering Davis, NELSAP, and Lost Ski Areas of the Southern Adirondacks.

Click here to visit NELSAP’s website.

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