Skiing has been a popular winter sport and pastime in the United States for more than a century. It has been boosted by some important developments since then. The world’s first chairlift was installed in Sun Valley, Idaho in 1936 and chairlifts and gondolas are now ubiquitous – you wouldn’t think of hiking up to the top of your favorite slope five or six times in a day.
Skiing got a big lift after WWII, when veterans of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division created new ski areas and developed new ski technologies. (Bob Dole, the longtime Republican Senator who died recently, served in the 10th Mountain Division.) Also, when the war ended there was a surplus of ski equipment, which became available and affordable to many more people. (Here are some other commonly used products developed by the military.)
24/7 Wall St. has identified the oldest ski area in every state, using data compiled by the National Ski Areas Association.
The prize for the oldest goes to Howelsen Hill Ski Area in Colorado, which opened in 1915. Many states opened their first ski areas in the 1930s, including Arizona, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Alaska, Connecticut, Minnesota, and Nevada all opened ski areas in the 1940s, shortly after WWII. The most recent entrant on our list is Hidden Valley Ski Area in Missouri, which opened in 1982. (This is the best winter destination in every state.)
To identify the oldest ski area in every state, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data compiled by the National Ski Areas Association, the trade association for ski area owners and operators. Only ski areas recognized by the NSAA were considered. Ski areas are ranked by their opening year. In states where two ski areas opened in the same year, both are listed as a tie. There are 13 states with no ski areas recognized by the NSAA. In states with only one ski area, the ski area listed is the oldest by default only.
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