Newly formed non-profit group hopes to purchase Prospect Mountain
WOODFORD — A non-profit group has entered into a sales contract to purchase Prospect Mountain Nordic Ski Center from longtime owners Steve Whitham and Andrea Amodeo.
Members of the newly formed association said Tuesday they will continue to operate the Woodford center as a Nordic facility and expect that Whitham and other staff members will remain as employees. Whitham would oversee maintenance and grooming of the cross-country trails.
"It's time to step back and take a lesser role in the area," Whitham said of the planned sale.
The not-for-profit Prospect Mountain Association is comprised primarily of ski enthusiasts from Bennington, Wilmington and Williamstown, Mass. About a dozen people have been involved in the initiative over the past couple of years, but that number is expected to grow as the group seeks financial support from individuals and other sources, said attorney Jonathan Cohen, of Bennington.
He said they are asking "everybody who enjoys Prospect to consider contributing."
Under the sales contract, details of the transaction aren't being released at this time, Cohen said, but a closing on the property is expected by mid-May.
"This is a great community resource," said group member David Newell, of Wills Insurance of Bennington, adding that part of the motivation for those involved is to ensure the property remains a "family focused" Nordic facility and under local ownership.
Prospect Mountain opened during the 1930s as a small downhill ski area, with a rope tow and later two T-bars. For the past 26 years, it has been exclusively a cross-country facility, offering 17.8 miles of trails, according to Peter Stromgren, another member of the group.
He and Cohen said 9.8 miles of trail within the Prospect Mountain trail system are located on Green Mountain National Forest land in Woodford and maintained by the center under a permit from the U.S. Forest Service.
The Prospect Mountain center encompasses about 144 acres off Route 9 in the mountain town, seven miles east of Bennington. According to the website, the base lodge elevation is 2,250 feet.
The group plans to continue work with the youth skiing organizations and the high school and college Nordic teams that train and hold competitions at the center. They also will consider adding events or programs during the off-season months.
Prospect is the home facility for the Mt. Anthony Union High School ski team and is used as a venue for events involving teams from Mt. Greylock Regional High School in Williamstown and other schools in Berkshire County, Mass.
Williams College trains at Prospect Mountain and hosts events there.
In addition, the Bill Koch League has offered ski lessons for kindergarten through 8th grade students at the center for many years. Koch, a member of the 1976 U.S. Olympic team and the first American to win a Nordic gold medal in Innsbruck, Austria, skied at Prospect as a youth.
Bennington native David Jareckie, a two-time Olympic biathlon skier, participated in the Koch League program at Prospect, as did Newell's son, Andy Newell, of Shaftsbury, a current member of the U.S. Olympic Nordic team.
Anyone interested in supporting the efforts to purchase and operate Prospect Mountain should contact David Newell, at 802-688-7807; Sarah Fisher, in the Wilmington area, at 802-236-0901; or Jack Miller, in Williamstown, at 413-441-3568.
More information about the center is available at https://prospectmountain.com
Jim Therrien writes for New England Newspapers in Southern Vermont and VTDigger.org. @BB_therrien on Twitter.
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