History

Hans Thorner

Swiss born Ski Instructor, Hans Thorner, founded Magic Mountain, VT in 1961. Thorner was born in Switzerland but immigrated to New Hampshire in 1932 where he started the Hans Thorner Ski School on Cannon Mountain. Thorner had a second career in ski filmmaking. Thorner is responsible for a number of early famous ski films such as his footage of the 1948 Olympics and films he shot for Swiss Air.

It is no wonder Thorner was so selective in his search for a mountain at which he could create “A Little Corner of Switzerland.”  He ended selecting Glebe Mountain in Londonderry Vermont. Glebe’s separate valleys created diverse terrain heading in various directions from the lifts almost like miniature Swiss Valleys.   At the bottom of it all Hans built a miniature Swiss Village complete with hotels like Dostal’s and the Blue Gentian.   Every structure from the base of the access road to the summit was master planned.

In the early days Magic was equally famous for its nightlife whether it be the Abracadabra Lounge, on-mountain Swiss feasts or Dostal’s bar.  Each year Thorner would hand select a fleet of ski instructors from Switzerland who lived on the mountain creating arguably one of the best ski schools in the country.  The mountain was so successful that Thorner had to limit ticket sales.

In 1985 the mountain was sold and neighboring Timber Ridge ski area was annexed, the ownership eventually ended up in Bromley’s hands and Magic, Bromley and Timberside could all be skied on one ticket.  Unfortunately a few bad snow seasons coupled with bad real estate ventures forced the mountain to close in 1991.

For six long seasons the mountain remained dark with three of its lifts sold to other New England areas to pay off debt.  In 1996 a group of investors re-opened the mountain and it has slowly progressed into one of the East’s finest skiing hills.  Experts everywhere flock to the mountain on powder days.  Both the trail systems and the second hidden system of trails have become proving grounds for many of New England’s finest free skiers.

The nightlife in the lounge has also returned, only with a twist.  The friendly intimate atmosphere permits parents and 21 and over set to enjoy the Abracadabra Lounge (Now Goniff’s Den) with live music in full force.  Kids are busy in the tube park in full view of the lodge and dancing to the live music.  Generations of Magic faithful return to the hill each year because there is no other ski area that can provide this fun oriented mentality coupled with unbelievable ski terrain in a family friendly environment.

It cannot be ignored that the hill’s infrastructure is in need of great repair, especially the snowmaking system.   A cooperative form of ownership is being instituted by current mountain president Jim Sullivan.  The Magic Partnership has been designed to enable Magic to operate sustainably and make improvements to infrastructure. Magic Mountain needs you to survive, whether you buy a Share, T-Shirt or Sticker.  This page is intended to be a resource for those with an interest in seeing Magic succeed.  It is run independently of the mountain in an effort to raise awareness of our one of a kind ski area!