Bring back the Norwich ski lift


We have all complained about Norwich one time or another. Whether it be the wind tunnels we travel through in between classes, the massive snowbanks we trot around and have all gotten our leg lodged in, or the food provided to us at the Chow Hall, we all elected to go here and continue to stay here.

It is a Friday night at Norwich University – what are you doing? Some students are in their rooms catching up on some sleep, watching a movie capping off a comfortable night in, while others gear up for a night on the town and walk into a house party. Yes, this is “fun”, but is a night out in Northfield, Vermont truly fun?

What do you do in a state known for skiing on the weekend? You ski. Most travel to Killington, Sugarbush, Bolton and Stowe but imagine skiing Norwich. The Norwich University ski lift was introduced by the Norwich Ski Club in the late 1930’s as a small rope tow area and lasted about 25 years, only providing limited skiing. In 1970, major strides we’re taken to develop this area. The town of Northfield and the University collaborated adding a lift that stretched 3680 feet and allowed for double chair capacity. Furthermore, there was variety of trails for all classes of skiing.[1]

An online forum, where alumni of Norwich University at the time of ski lift and other skiiers of the area discuss the times at on the slopes can be found at “”. Paul Allison wrote that he grew up with the ski lift pretty much in his back yard, and that later he “went to Norwich for (his) undergraduate degree and was fortunate enough to be the Ski Patrol Leader there for 5 seasons during the ‘”hay days”’ 1972-1977.” He also wrote that he “will always remember it as a very special time in a special place and frequently recount any number of stories and great times shared by all. Shout out to all my former ski patrol friends!”. Rik Anderson on October 26th, 2021 stated that the Norwich University Ski Area was the first place his three-year-old daughter skied and that it had “(e)xcellent trails and facilit(ies)”. He continues to say that it is “nothing but a plain shame this facility was abandoned” and later called it a “(s)hort sighted nickel and diming gave up an irreplaceable invaluable community resource.”[2]

This past fall, Norwich University welcomed back the men’s golf team and lived up to the hype as they “secured a pair of first-place finishes in the Tony Mariano Vermont Invitational on Sept. 16 and EC Invite on Oct. 6.” Furthermore, a member of the team, freshman Matt Printup “earned a pair of GNAC Rookie of the Week awards in addition to cementing himself as the conference’s Rookie of the Year.”[3] During the same season, the university announced that Norwich would be bringing back the Rifle team for the first time since the 2004 – 2005 season – where they finished first place at the ROTC Smallbore.[4] As the rifle team continues to make strides, head coach Patrick Knapp says that “The entire team has shown vast improvement and has represented Norwich University in the best possible manner” and furthermiore that “(w)hile many thought that this year would be a ‘”rebuilding”’ year, the student athletes have shown that they are ready to compete on the largest of stages”. [5]

Although today at Norwich University there is a “Ski & Snowboard Club”, after looking at Norwich University’s club platform, they only plan, as of January 14th, 2023, to ski two times in the month of February, and one time in late March.[6] Could Norwich University Athletics perhaps introduce a Ski Team? And could it have the potential to be as successful as Norwich Men’s Golf and Norwich Rifle was in their first season at Norwich?

After sitting down with current Norwich Cadet, Norwich Men’s Lacrosse player, and avid skier Aaron Broom, he expressed his interest in both bringing the ski lift back to Norwich University and was stoked about the idea of the Norwich ski team. Aaron throughout his childhood grew up skiing at Mount Sunapee in New Hampshire. He expressed that “there is a recent rise in popularity among freestyle skiing among college students that attracts a lot of people to attending schools in New England.” He believes that “…the introduction of a competitive ski team would be met with open arms.” Other schools in the area such as the University of Vermont (UVM), The University of New Hampshire (UNH), and Plymouth State University, have begun to see large following of students interested in “free” skiing. While it is mostly just small Instagram followings and get togethers at local mountains, these students are eager to spread the stoke and possibly compete for bragging rights. Broom says, “I think it would be great if Norwich took this idea seriously, and gave hundreds of students what they’re looking for, a ski lift on Paine.”

On the same forum mentioned previously, Stephen Bellows writes: “”Let’s try to reopen the ski area.” He proposes ideas of the engineering department to help design the lift, solar lights, driven snow making, and making it student run. Furthermore, he believes that it would get many alumni to participate and would promote a healthy lifestyle for Norwich students. Furthermore, most of the time the typical student spends at Norwich for a school year Broom, deemed “skiable”.

There are endless possibilities and benefits for the ski area at Norwich University to make a comeback. Let’s keep driving the conversation and pushing the initiative as the ski lift would create memories for Norwich University students that would last a lifetime!

[1] Davis, Jeremy. Norwich University Ski Area

[2] Norwich University Ski Area History – Vermont

[3] Norwich University. “Men’s Golf: Printup Named GNAC Rookie of the Year, Cadets Conclude First Season in 23 Years with Fourth-Place Finish in GNAC Championship.”

[4] Norwich University. “Rifle: Patrick Knapp Tapped as Cadets Head Rifle Coach.”

[5] Norwich University. “Rifle: Cadets Narrowly Fall to John Jay in First Home Match of Season, Top Bloodhounds in Small-Bore Competition.”

[6] Norwich University Activities and Clubs