Located northwest of Hartford, Ski Sundown is a popular regional facility for skiers of all abilities.
Ski Sundown’s lift…likely dates back to the 1963-64 season, when Satan’s Ridge ski area opened by Russell Smith and Frank Linnell. While it is possible that the area had a soft start on surface lifts in December or early January, the double chairlift to the summit did not open until Saturday, January 11, 1964. Night skiing and snowmaking were also installed for the debut season.
Over $100,000 was invested into the area for its second season, including trail improvements, more night skiing, and expanded snowmaking.
While additional improvements were made to a top to bottom trail for the 1966-67 season, Satan’s Ridge was running into trouble. The area closed after the 1967-68 season. The area, including the Mueller chairlift, Doppelmayr T-Bar, and a rope tow, headed to the auction block that August.
Butternut to the Rescue
After sitting idle for a season, Satan’s Ridge was brought back to life in 1969, when Channing Murdock of nearby Butternut Basin and his brother Robert Murdock purchased the 61 acre ski area from Harold Law, Russell Smith, and Frank Linnell. Shedding the Satanic name, the new ownership renamed the area Ski Sundown and quickly went to work on the snowmaking, lighting, and lifts for its reopening. In September of 1969, Richard Carter was named General Manager and Ski Sundown, Inc. was incorporated.
Operations were expanded to 7 days and 6 nights per week. To further enhance beginner offerings, a Pomalift was installed for the 1971-72 season. Two years later, Murdock made Carter part owner of the ski area.
The area’s first triple chairlift was installed in 1977, running next to the original double. Soon thereafter, Murdock transferred ownership of the area to Carter.
A second triple chairlift was installed in 1980, serving the new Sunnyside area. Seven years later, the original double chairlift was replaced with a new CTEC triple.
The Sunnyside complex was overhauled in 1994, when the Pomalift was replaced by the refurbished double chairlift. Two years later, an 8,000 square foot base lodge addition was constructed.
After owning Ski Sundown for nearly quarter of century, Richard Carter sold the area to General Manager and long time employee Robert Switzgable in 2002.
The Sunnyside complex was once again overhauled in 2013, when the Little Joe Double was replaced with a conveyor lift.
Taken with a Sony RX-100 M3.