The 2010 closure of Ascutney Mountain resort was a blow to the hearts and spirits of the residents of West Windsor, the surrounding communities and visitors from all over. After many cycles of successes and failures, the ski area was once again quiet and awaiting its next managing entity. Though the town had ridden out closures before, this was different; this closure had indications of a permanent ending. Not only was the ski area not in operation, it was being dismantled. Lifts were sold, taken down in pieces, and trucked away.
Meanwhile, on the ski land and the adjacent town forest land, a group of volunteers from Sport Trail of the Ascutney Basin were busy hand building a mountain bike trail network . When the town’s select board realized other communities in Vermont were reviving their economies through mountain bike tourism, they wondered if an expanded recreational trail network could make Ascutney a thriving destination again. There was one obstacle in the way of expansion however: the unknown future of the resort land. This changed in 2013 when the resort came back on the market. The town worked with The Trust for Public Land to develop a plan to purchase 469 acres of the resort land and add the acreage to the current town forest, thereby securing the trail network. At a special town meeting in October of 2014, voters of West Windsor overwhelmingly approved a ballot for the select board to move forward with negotiations to purchase the land. Many voted with the hopes a small ski area would reopen and the mountain bike trails would be preserved. The town itself was not in a position to operate a recreational network or ski area, but was hopeful a not-for-profit would be willing to lease the land.
In the spring of 2015, when it appeared as though the purchase was probable, a small but excited and energetic group of community members began meeting in the living room of a condominium at Mountain’s Edge. From the first meeting their goal was clear: if the acquisition was going to happen, then a newly formed non-for profit named Mt Ascutney Outdoors, now a registered 501(c)(3), would be ready to begin operations.
The purpose of Mt Ascutney Outdoors is to harmoniously manage, develop and protect the recreational, educational and environmental assets of the West Windsor Town forest and adjacent land on Mt. Ascutney, while maintaining affordable access for all, for their year round enjoyment.