Nonprofit Ski Resorts Are Gaining a Foothold Nationwide

It's a less intimidating face of the sport

There's a growing alternative to big ski resorts out there.
Anne Nygård/Unsplash

The current ski season has, over the last few months, brought numerous reports of lift tickets increasing in price. For skiers who can afford it, that’s not a problem — but it does raise some questions over the sport’s viability. If a younger generation of skiers ends up priced out of skiing, what effect could that have in the long term?

A recent Associated Press article (via Denver Post) looks at an intriguing alternative to large ski resorts. Around the country, smaller resorts that have gone dormant are finding a new life as nonprofit, community-centered spaces. And the appeal of these ski resorts isn’t hard to ascertain.

In an article published earlier this year by Condé Nast Traveler, Erin Vivid Riley discussed some nonprofit ski resorts and shared her experiences skiing at less-populated resorts. “It makes a ski day feel less like a huge endeavor and more like spending a couple of hours in a friend’s backyard,” Riley wrote.

As the Associated Press’s reporting points out, turning unused ski resorts into nonprofits is a concept that’s taken hold across the country, from Vermont to Wyoming. But they still face logistical challenges — the article mentions that Wyoming’s Antelope Butte Foundation reviewed decades’ worth of snow records as they decided whether or not to go through with re-opening the facility.

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And for a casual skier, the prices offered by spaces like the Antelope Butte Foundation may be hard to beat. Right now, the organization is selling season passes for the 2023-24 season for $325. To cite another example, an annual membership for central New York’s nonprofit Skaneateles Ski Club will cost you $275. It’s a promising development for the future of the sport.

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