Old Ski Hill Becomes New Backcountry

What’s happening at Dutch Hill?  The former ski area in Readsboro, Vt., went out of business in the mid 1980’s.  Now it’s part of the Green Mountain National Forest, and the lifts and buildings were removed long ago.  But skiers will be returning to Dutch Hill this winter.

To let the public know what is happening at Dutch Hill, the Dutch Hill Alliance of Skiers and Hikers (DHASH) will be holding a public information session on Tuesday, Nov. 14, from 7-8:30 pm at the Readsboro Central School in Readsboro, VT.

No, you won’t hear any plans at this meeting about the ski lifts coming back.  Skiing at Dutch Hill will be the do-it-yourself variety, with terrain for backcountry skiing, both in glades and on former ski slopes, and trails suitable for intermediate cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.  Plans even include enlarging the sledding hill that has been a local favorite for decades.

In fall 2016, the US Forest Service issued a management plan that covered timber harvest, wildlife enhancement, and recreation goals for the thousands of acres of Green Mountain National Forest south of Route 9.  An 87-acre section that covered the north half of the Dutch Hill Ski Area was designated for non-motorized winter recreation.  But Forest Service funds and staff weren’t available to do the work needed to re-open the overgrown ski slopes.

That’s where DHASH came into the picture.  The Dutch Hill Alliance of Skiers and Hikers was formed as a chapter of the Catamount Trail Association to organize a coordinated volunteer effort to bring skiing back to the mountain.  DHASH has signed an agreement with the Forest Service that lays out the scope of the volunteer work that will be done on the mountain, and the Forest Service has established protocols about what types of vegetation may be cut, when and where.  Please do not engage in any cutting on your own.  All work must be completed during organized work days under the supervision of the Green Mountain National Forest and DHASH.  Volunteer work days began in late September and will continue until the snow flies.

The public is invited to learn more about the Forest Service’s plan for Dutch Hill and the surrounding forest at the Tuesday, Nov. 14, 7:00-8:30 pm meeting.  DHASH members will share a brief history of the ski area, and Forest Service personnel will present an overview of the management plan for the area.  There will be plenty of time for questions.  The Readsboro Central School is located on Phelps Lane, off Main Street in the village of Readsboro.  For more information, contact DHASH at info@dhash4vt.org.  To see the schedule for volunteer work days or to become a member of DHASH, go to the website:  dhash4vt.org.

What’s Happening at Dutch Hill?  Public information session: Tuesday, Nov. 14, 7-8:30 pm, Readsboro Elementary School, Readsboro, VT, hosted by DHASH (Dutch Hill Alliance of Skiers and Hikers), with presentations by the US Forest Service.