Netop Mountain Vermont

Netop Mountain stands at 3,290 feet and was part of the ski area proposal.

It’s difficult to imagine Dorset Hollow as anything other than a six-mile, scenic road with beautiful mountain views, forestland, open fields, and gorgeous homes.

But nearly 50 years ago, the Dorset Associates investment group planned a massive, four-season resort in Dorset Hollow, complete with an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, 100 chalet sites, and a 3,000-foot vertical drop ski area with four base lodges, sewage plants, and access from Emerald Lake State Park.

Ski Dorset Hollow

Plans for the resort, announced in 1965, included one aerial tramway, nine double chairlifts, two t-bars, four base lodges, 16 miles of ski trails, and 70 acres of open slopes that would cover six mountain peaks, according to NewEnglandSkiHistory.com.

The developers anticipated a December 1966 opening of the Dorset Hollow ski area, which was marketed at the time as having the largest vertical drop of any ski area in eastern North America. The first part of the ski area that would have been developed was Netop Mountain, which stands at 3,290 feet.

A Hot-Button Issue

Not surprisingly, the proposal was a contentious issue among locals.

“The townspeople were divided in support and opposition to the project,” says Jon Mathewson, curator at the Dorset Historical Society. “Bumper stickers with “Save Dorset Hollow” and “Ski Dorset Hollow” adorned cars, and there was a large public debate that ensued.”

Dorset Hollow Road

Dorset Hollow Road in the spring.

Preserving Dorset Hollow

Ultimately, the entire project was cancelled because of local opposition. In 1967, several citizens formed the Dorset Hollow Corporation, which bought the 900 acres owned by Dorset Associates in order to preserve the existing character of Dorset Hollow and to only allow residential development. (It’s worth noting that Dorset Hollow now has its share of pricey estates, and some large homes dot the landscape in noticeably higher elevation areas).

Still, Dorset Hollow is a beautiful spot to walk, run, or go for a ride. It’s also a place to appreciate the peaks of Netop Mountain, Owl’s Head, and Mount Aeolus in all their natural glory.

 

**If You Go: Dorset Hollow Road is located off Route 30, just north of the Barrows House in Dorset.

14 Comments

  1. Scott
    June 3, 2014

    Cool. Never knew that. Dorset isn’t far from where I usually go, so maybe I’ll check it out next time.

    Reply
    • Erica
      June 3, 2014

      Hi Scott — I never knew about it either until a week ago! Hard to envision ski trails and chalets up there. I’m glad the good people of Dorset had the foresight to oppose the project.

      Reply
  2. Scott
    June 3, 2014

    True. Once a beautiful place is transformed like that, it seems it can never go back. Still, I imagine there would have been good economic benefits for the area over the years.

    From a ‘Flatlander’s’ perspective, I think Vermont has done a pretty good job at balancing the two in many cases.

    Reply
  3. Rachel
    June 3, 2014

    I totally want a “Ski Dorset Hollow” bumper sticker.

    Reply
    • Erica
      June 3, 2014

      Hi Rachel – That would be a good find! Hope all is well. Are you heading to VT soon for a visit?

      E

      Reply
  4. Jack
    June 3, 2014

    I remember hearing about this as a kid but always thought it was a made up story. Thanks for researching and clarifying . I’m happy this never happened. Dorset Hollow is way too beautiful and should be left as is! There are plenty of great ski resorts nearby!

    Reply
    • Erica
      June 4, 2014

      Hi Jack — It sounds like a fake story, doesn’t it? I had never heard of this until recently. I love skiing, but I’m glad Dorset Hollow stayed as is as well. Thanks for saying hello! -Erica

      Reply
  5. Mary K. Larkin
    November 1, 2014

    The site for the Dorset Ski Area was a family farm many years ago. Leave the ski areas for othe areas. Too much History in Dorset that development of a Ski Area
    would ruin it.

    Reply
    • Erica
      November 1, 2014

      Hi Mary — It is hard to imagine a ski area in Dorset, isn’t it? Glad the people of Dorset knew better than to allow a ski area there. Thanks for saying hello! -Erica

      Reply
    • Mary Olson
      December 4, 2016

      Hi Mary K Larkin. So funny to be seeing this article today. I just sent out a picture of the Kelley Farm to Susan’s daughter Sara. Maureen Kelley Hill just commented on it yesterday as well. I have the painting over my fireplace. It was painted for my father many years ago. Thank goodness they never turned that land into a ski industry. Too many Kelley memories from the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. The new owner has always been gracious for allowing us to hunt, hike, and slide down there still. Its strange without the house, barns, and sugar shack. Still many memories. If you ever want to see the picture contact me on FB and I’ll send it to you.

      Reply
  6. Dorset Hollow: Barns, Mountains and History
    February 11, 2015

    […] Nearly 50 years ago, an investment group planned a massive, four-season resort in Dorset Hollow, complete with an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, 100 chalet sites, and a 3,000-foot vertical drop ski area with four base lodges, sewage plants, and access from Emerald Lake State Park. Eventually, the project was (thankfully) shelved because of fierce opposition among locals. (Read my post, “A Dorset Hollow Ski Area That Never Came to Be.”) […]

    Reply
  7. Dorset Hollow: Barns, Mountains and History - Stratton Magazine - Southern Vermont's Journal of Living
    February 13, 2015

    […] Nearly 50 years ago, an investment group planned a massive, four-season resort in Dorset Hollow, complete with an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, 100 chalet sites, and a 3,000-foot vertical drop ski area with four base lodges, sewage plants, and access from Emerald Lake State Park. Eventually, the project was (thankfully) shelved because of fierce opposition among locals. (Read my post, “A Dorset Hollow Ski Area That Never Came to Be.”) […]

    Reply
  8. Mike
    July 27, 2015

    Thanks for this. Here’s another “what never came to be” that I came across a few years ago, although for a much different industry. Politics did not inspire me to send this comment, just thought it might be of historical interest to you and those who follow your well composed blog.

    http://vtdigger.org/2013/09/08/bushnell-vermonts-other-nuclear-plant/

    Reply
    • Erica
      July 31, 2015

      Thank you, Mike! Very interesting!

      Reply

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