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.”
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.