Magic’s Resident Wizard

Filed Under (History Updates, Mountain Snapshots) by admin on 10-08-2010

If you have ever been to Magic you have to know this building.  Much like the Blue Gentian, The Alpina Haus was part of Hans Thorner’s master plan to build a Swiss Village in Southern Vermont.

Kenneth and Wilma Birdsey ran this Motel/Restaurant/Dairy Bar during Magic’s early years.  The hotel was eventually sold and renamed the Posthorn.  The Posthorn featured a restaurant and bar.  In the Late 80‘s it was sold again and renamed the Country Hare Inn and run by Bev and Wally Plachta. The inn section of the building has since been converted to apartments.

Most current Magic skiers will recognize this building as Snow Wizard’s.  Magic’s resident ski shop is run by one of the finest men in the ski industry, Dick Stillson.  Snow Wizards specializes in expert repair work and rental equipment, but has plenty of clothing, snowboards, skis and accessories to go around.  Snow Wizard’s also organizes the annual Craig Potter Memorial Black Magic Challenge, now an official Ski The East event.  Look for Snow Wizard’s new website this fall!

See what it is like to visit a ski shop where the staff takes the time to learn your name.  Think that ski has seen its day?  Bring it to Dick and watch the Wizard work his Magic.

The Trivial Pursuit of Liftlines

Filed Under (History Updates, Mountain Updates) by admin on 06-08-2010

Back in the 80’s when Magic had four lifts, the mountain suffered from a phenomenon called lift lines.  To tame the restless skiers itching for another bump run, a lifeguard chair was brought to the lift maze.

“The Liftguard” had no easy job.  His or her craft required extreme multitasking.  The Liftguard would tell which row to move forward in line all while checking tickets and shouting out Trivial Pursuit questions!  The first skier with the correct answer got a piece of candy.

If you were at Magic this season you may have experienced these lift lines returning on many weekends.  At first we did not know what to do making a line like a snake.  Suddenly these orange ropes appeared, but they were not long enough on powder days.

I for one think a “liftguard” armed with Trivial Pursuit and a bag of 100,000 Grand bars would make the wait for the powder go a little quicker.  I will kick in the pursuit set and some of my time and I think I know a few others who would too.  If you want to “liftguard” this season email savemagicvermont@gmail.com and we will see if we can work with Matt to make it happen.

Let’s bring back this great Magic tradition because at Magic, we view lift lines as a positive sign.   Keep spreading the word, its working.

Mountain Snapshot: The Blue Gentian

Filed Under (History Updates, Mountain Snapshots) by admin on 21-07-2010

Look Familiar? It should, The Blue Gentian has been lovingly maintained by Lisa Sicotte and Kenneth Alberti since 1994.

The Gentian opened in 1962 and was part of Hans Thorner’s original Swiss themed base village plan.  The inn was first run by Beth and Harry Littleton and featured “Homemade Bread & Country Cooking.” The Kidde family bought the hotel in 1972 and ran it for 24 years.

In 1994 the current owners took a leap of faith and purchased The Gentian with Magic shuttered and the lodge in need of great repair.

The Lodge has been renovated in accordance with the original design.  New bathrooms, and other extensive renovations provide a spotless, modern, yet authentic Magic experience.

One of my fondest memories is staying at the Gentian the night before the biggest blizzard of 2003.  My Wrangler couldn’t make it any further up Route 100 to my friend’s house, so we stayed there last minute to get the powder in the morning.

If you really want to try the authentic Magic experience, stay at The Gentian this winter one weekend and walk to the lifts, Goniff’s Den or the Loose Moose Tavern.  Forget about your car for 2 days and get to understand what Magic is all about,.

“Where the Mountain and Village are One”

Magic History 2 – The Dawn of the Red Chair

Filed Under (History Updates) by admin on 08-07-2010

In the Late 1960’s and 70’s Magic was hitting its stride with the famous Hans Thorner Ski school.  “A hand picked staff of international teaching professionals” was making a name for itself as one of the finest ski schools in the East .   Each season Hans imported instructors from Europe who lived in the bunkhouse (Ski Patrol Building).  Legend has it they were quite popular around the Abracadabra Lounge as part of Magic’s famous après ski scene.

Crowds were growing and Magic needed a second way to the top. In 1971 the Red Chair was built bringing the mountain’s vertical to 1600 feet.  The lift was engineered by the Heron/Poma Company of Woodstock Vermont.  Bob Heron who ran Heron/Poma is credited with building one of America’s first 2 double chairs.  His designs were known to be strong and last for years.

The liftline that resulted from the construction eventually became known as the Redline.  Now an eastern classic, cliff bands and steep pitches make for a spectators paradise as skiers try and master Magic’s signature run.

Magic History Lesson One

Filed Under (History Updates) by admin on 29-06-2010

Check out Magic in the swinging sixties!  While it is clear that Upper Redline did not yet exist, skiers had other things to take advantage of.  The Hocus Pocus “Beginners Paradise” had a Hall brand double chair all its own.  Magic hopes to reopen this area with a lift one day when the partnership kicks in.

Showoff had a T-bar going up skiers right giving intermediate skiers quick access to lower mountain trails.  This was a nice feature but tough for snowboarders in later years.

The Black Chair was the Blue Chair and it was a double!  How many of you can still remember the mid-station?  This used to be the only way to the top Until the Red Chair was built in 1971.  It had a center pole and safety bars that swung around from the side.

We love Goniff’s, but can we party like they did with “Gaiety and Glamour at the Abracadabra Lounge?” Look at how cool the lodge was sporting its original Swiss motif.

The place might not be as polished and new as in this postcard but some things don’t change.  It was nice to see the party atmosphere return this season and to see many new friendships made in the lodge and liftline.

Hope you fellow ski nerds out there enjoyed this quick little history lesson.  Stay tuned for our next history update, “The Dawn of the Red Chair.”