Photos contributed by Bill Jenkins
By Bryanna Allen-Rickstad

Plump flakes fall with ease as they blanket the ground in a sea of white. The stunning silence is broken by a sudden SWISH of skis and a wall of powder. 

Eric Nichols, who spends summers on Lake Bomoseen, also finds the time to make trips to the area in the winter to visit the abandoned Birdseye Ski Resort.

Nichols hikes the overgrown slopes; his skis strapped to his back, boots slung over his shoulder. It’s a hefty effort to enjoy a few short minutes of backcountry skiing. 

“I love the tranquility of this old place,” said Nichols, munching on a Clif Bar. “It has a lonely but peaceful atmosphere to it.”

The resort was not always so lonesome. Built in 1961 by Bill Jenkins, it boasted a total of two lifts and six trails. For several years, the business thrived. Although small, it offered night skiing and was one of only three ski resorts in the region to have snowmaking equipment, said Jeremy Davis,  founder of the New England Lost Ski Areas Project.

However, the resort was soon to see a turn of fate. A board of directors insisted on removing the snow making machine and adding another, larger, extremely expensive lift in its place. 

The next two winters brought very little snow and the resort did not generate enough income to pay debt on the new lift, forcing it to close, Davis said. 

For several years following the resort’s demise, there were attempts to keep it an active part of the community through camping and events including ATV and sledding races.

But the place slowly began to dissolve. The people stopped coming and the surrounding woods began to take over. For years the land sat undisturbed, while the trails grew over and the ski equipment rusted. 

Davis feels a connection with the old resort, and hopes that one day it may come back to life. 

“I always love to see lost areas come back in some form or another,” said Davis. “But I’m not expecting it….it should just be appreciated as local history.”

But life did start to return to the old place. 

Several years ago, Castleton State College professor Steve Lulek started taking his Winter Mountaineering class on overnight trips up Birdseye. The students loved it.

“It was great to be in this old, hidden place that no one knows about,” said Henry Wilton, a mountaineering student. “It’s kinda sad that it’s been forgotten about … but also kinda great.”

Even though Birdseye Mountain sees only the annual college class and the occasional hiker, it is still a part of the town’s history and Davis would be willing to bring more light to the “little lost resort.” 

“If anyone wants to see it come alive again, it might be something we could do as a community.” 

Photos contributed by Bill Jenkins
Chuck Arnold
3/25/2013 01:04:06 am

The current owner is a good friend of mine and has expressed on many occasions that he would like to start a camping and ATV friendly recreation area. It was also mentioned that it would be nice to get the old snowmachine races going again. I hear that was quite the attraction back several years ago.
Indeed, Bird Mountain and the area now known as Birdseye is a wonderful area with many spectacular views and an abundance of wildlife.


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