Black Mountain of NH 1/20/2008

And they are « Back in Black »… for this season.

Positive outcome - for now.

Still a bit of an uphill battle, but if Cranmore and Pleasant Mountain (Shawnee Peak) can make it, there could be a niche for Black Mountain. However, I think they need to be purchased by a group operating a mountain in the region:
  • Vail Resorts - Attitash, Wildcat
  • Boyne Resorts - Pleasant Mountain. (The Native American-themed ski areas are gone: Shawnee -> Pleasant, Squaw -> Palisades, Indianhead -> Jackson Creek at Snow River). Loon. Sunday River. Sugarloaf.
  • Fairbank Group - Cranmore. Bromley. Jiminy Peak.
The new owner should rip out all the lifts - and just scale it down to 2 - a summit lift and a beginner lift. Maybe keep the tow.
Black Mt.jpg

However, Black Mt is far from 'saved'.

Black Mountain, NH to Remain Open as Indy Pass, Entabeni Help to Seek New Owner
Owner John Fichera reverses decision that had shaken the New England ski community; ski area savior Andy Shepard to lead search for new owner
OCT 18

Black Mountain, New Hampshire will remain open for the 2023-24 ski season, ski area owner John Fichera has confirmed to The Storm Skiing Journal, reversing a decision announced last week on the mountain’s Facebook page.

Driving the reversal is a commitment, from a group led by Indy Pass and Entabeni Systems owner Erik Mogensen, to help Fichera find a new owner for Black Mountain and gather resources for a bridge season.

“We're not going to open so that John and Jane Fichera can be here for five more years,” Fichera told The Storm. “We're opening as a transitional year to find a new buyer, a new operator, a new steward for the ski area. And if it's possible, we'll have the season to work on it and then finalize the deal sometime next year in the offseason. If it's not possible, then the writing's on the wall.”

Leading the search for a new owner will be Andy Shepard, a New England ski luminary who has orchestrated the survival or resurrection of the Saddleback, Big Rock, Quoggy Joe, and Black Mountain of Maine ski areas.

“I've always respected and admired the ski community in Jackson,” Shepard told The Storm. “It's as authentic as you get. It’s a skiing heritage that deserves to be protected, to be cherished and honored. Having been asked to be a part of this project is an enormous honor to me, and I'm very excited about diving in.”

Shepard will work under contract with Indy Pass, which has partnered with Black Mountain since the pass’ inaugural season in 2019-20. Mogensen, who purchased the pass from founder Doug Fish earlier this year, views Indy Pass and Entabeni Systems – which provides software exclusively to small ski areas – as vehicles to help independent mountains compete against the larger ski companies, whose affordable multimountain passes and sophisticated data-analysis machines have rapidly redefined the consumer skiing experience.

“People don't understand that skiing at a place like Black Mountain is exceptionally fragile until it's broken,” Mogensen told The Storm. “I have a responsibility as the custodian of the Indy Pass, as a custodian of a large amount of data, to help keep skiing independent.”

While none of this week’s developments guarantee that Black Mountain will operate beyond 2024, the joint efforts of Indy Pass officials, Fichera, and Shepard at least temporarily halt a ski area closure that had blindsided and traumatized New England skiers. They provide a reset and re-evaluation of direction and priorities for the ninth-oldest operating ski area in America, which has spun its lifts for 88 consecutive winters. And they suggest a rough blueprint for how the nation’s hundreds of family-owned ski areas, assisted by Entabeni and Indy, can modernize their business practices to better compete against – and offer a compelling alternative to – the mass-market Epic and Ikon passes.