Austerlitz Had a Ski Area.
1948 – Mid/Late 1960’s
Mountain Ten was a small ski area started by Howard Hirsch of New York City during the 1948-1949 season. It first operated with 600′ and 750′ rope tows, along with a few slopes and trails. Around 1950, the area installed two new tows near 1000′ each, while the 750′ got shortened to 400′. The vertical of the area was 400′. The last listing we have for this area is 1951. Several NY guidebooks from 1955-1960 do not list the area, and those guides are quite thorough.
To the right is an overhead map of the area. Notice that the slopes have grown in quite a bit. A parking lot can be seen at the bottom of the slope. It is unknown where the rope tows were located.
Dan Hegeman used to ski here and brings this first person perspective: I’d like to mention to you that Mountain Ten did not go out of business in the 50’s. I skied Mountain Ten into the mid-to-late 1960’s. The place was operating at that time as a cooperative, as I remember. (I was very young at the time and the details of ownership were of no importance to me.) As I remember it, we had a family membership. The place boasted having the longest rope tow in North America. Legend had it that there was a longer one in Russia. It was really too steep for a rope tow, and you had to have a strong grip to make it to the top. Wool mittens were not permitted, as they would sometimes freeze to the rope by the time you got to the top. The rope tow would eat through a pair of leather mittens in a day. We used to wrap our mittens in friction tape, which would be worn away by the end of the day, sparing the leather for another day. I don’t think I skied there past 1968, although my memory is not really clear on the years. I graduated to skiing the mountains in the Berkshires, such as Brodie. I suspect the other members did too.
Bill Kimok: I read Dan Hegeman’s piece on Mountain Ten with nostalgic interest for a number of reasons. I bought my first pair of used skis from Dan’s little brother Clint, with whom I skied at Mt. Ten almost every Sunday for two years during the late 1960’s / early 1970’s.
I also engaged in my first competitive skiing at Mt. Ten. Every year during that era they had slalom and downhill competitions for various age groups. These games were scheduled usually during the early spring, and without any real snow-making equipment at that place we were always at the whims of nature. I remember one year when the snow was so sticky and my skis were so pathetic that I pretty nearly walked down the slope during the downhill; no match for the couple of big fish-little pond ringers who brought expensively waxed K2s to the dance.
Nonetheless, you couldn’t beat the prices. I paid maybe $10 for a full year’s membership there. Nor could you beat the ambiance. Many of us were school chums from Chatham High School – coming from neighboring villages such as Red Rock, Spencertown, Austerlitz, and East Chatham – and Mt. Ten made for a convenient rendezvous point on weekends when we didn’t have transportation or couldn’t afford lift prices at the Western Massachusetts and Southern Vermont slopes. Moreover, there was a nice little cozy lodge and fireplace at the base of the hill, and you couldn’t beat the prices on hot dogs and hot chocolate, which were sold to us by volunteer members who rotated behind the snack counter.
Mountain Ten by the Year
|1948-49||600′ & 750′
|Unknown||Year area opened||1949-50
“Ski New York”
|1949-50||600′ & 750′
|Mountain Ten – 2000′ long, 400′ drop, 300′ wide, needs 6″ to ski, lighted
Howitzer – 2000′ long, 400′ drop, 15-35′ wide, needs 8″ to ski
Mule Run – 3000′ long, 400′ drop, 20-35′ wide, needs 8″ to ski
|$2.00 per day. Area opened in 1948-1949. Slopes are limited to 400 skiers.||1949-50
“Ski New York”
600′ & 400′
|Black Ridge – 1800′ long, 420′ drop, 75-150′ wide, needs 6″ to ski
Howitzer – 600′ long, 150′ drop, 100′ wide, lighted
Mountain Ten – 2000′ long, 400′ drop, 300′ wide, needs 6″ to ski, lower section lighted
Mule Run – 3000′ long, 400′ drop, 20-40′ wide
|Located 2 miles north of Austerlitz, warming house and restaurant. Road to slope has been widened and graded, parking facilities enlarged.||1951
“Ski New York”
Square Miles: 48.74
State Park Acreage: 3000+
Population/Sq Mile: 29.81