Along with lots of snowmaking improvements, fun events and program additions at all local areas, it's a season that will see at least two significant local ski area anniversaries:

Attitash in Bartlett will celebrate its 50th anniversary as part of the seventh annual Military Salute Weekend, Jan. 24 and 25, while Black Mountain in Jackson will celebrate its 80th season of lift-serviced skiing at what started out in 1935-36 as Moody's and became Whitneys' a year later before expanding into Black Mountain in 1948.

Phil Robertson, Ed Moody and George Morton built the first overhead cable lift at Moody's in 1935. Bill and Betty Whitney bought the inn in fall 1936 and renamed it Whitneys'. In what has become a beloved piece of local lore and ski history, Bill Whitney altered the lift in 1937 by attaching 72 shovel handles from Sears Roebuck and made the vertical bullwheel horizontal, thus improving the lift's rideability while also reducing the chances of snagged cable.

That lift is considered one of the first overhead cable lifts in New England, and became known as the Shovel Handle. The Shovel Handle Pub continues its namesake today at the base of the mountain at Whitneys' Village Inn, while Black's J-Bar runs the same route as the original Shovel Handle lift.

Several special events are planned for the season to commemorate the anniversary, according to owner/general manager John Fichera and marketing director Genn Anzaldi.

“We will be having events and promotions all season, with events to include a season pass holders' party Jan. 31, combined with an ‘ugly sweater day,’ and then we will have daily events February vacation week, including a birthday cake celebration which will be open to the public,” said Anzaldi.

For further information, call 383-4490 or visit www.blackmt.com.

ATTITASH'S 50TH

Attitash Ski Area opened in January 1965 and quickly became known as the "Red Carpet" ski area on account of the customer service and business philosophy of limiting the number of tickets sold daily.

For Attitash's 50th and as part of its Military Salute Weekend, Jan. 24 and 25, Attitash will celebrate 50 years of skiing and riding.

“We will also honor our nation’s defenders with free lift tickets for active duty, veteran and retired service men and women as well as discounted lift tickets ($45 all ages) for active duty family members with ID* on Jan. 24 and 25. While all events take place at Attitash, Wildcat Mountain, located in Pinkham Notch just 20 minutes from Attitash, will also be offering free lift tickets for active, veteran and retired service men and women on Jan. 24 and 25,” notes Attitash/Wildcat marketing director Thomas Prindle.

Event schedule

The ceremonies are to start with a special flag parade, led by an honor guard, which begins at the top of Attitash and concludes with the National Anthem at the base area at approximately 1 p.m. Après ski entertainment will take place in Ptarmigan's Pub from 3-6 p.m.

On Sunday, Jan. 25, get ready for some fun competition on the slopes in the 6th annual Battle of the Branches GS Race. Racers (including kids! will select which branch they are representing and their points will go toward each branch to determine a winner.

Event dates and times are subject to change; weather/conditions permitting. (*Active Duty personnel and must show their Common Access Card (CAC) or their DD Form 2ACT. Dependent family members of active duty personnel must show their DD Form 1173. Veterans must present their DD Form 214 and retired military personnel must show their DD Form 2RET.  Please note, the family member/dependent discount is only available for active duty military personnel).

For further information, call 374-2368 or visit www.attitash.com.

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