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March 2022

This winter’s weather was challenging for alpine activities throughout New England, especially when compared to last year’s bountiful snow and wide-open back country terrain.  Thankfully, our tubing lift and rope tow operate with limited snow cover, so we were able to have a stand-out season for our school and youth programs. 
In other news, we are thrilled to announce that AO was just awarded a very generous grant from the Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative (VOREC).  See below for highlights of the winter season and more on the VOREC grant!

Highlights of the Winter Season

Over 2,500 skiers and tubers took to our slopes on weekends this past year, not counting all the local students who came for after school programs during the week.  We had some very good days of weekend community skiing – sure would have liked more – but the mountain remained particularly busy for school programs, as you’ll see: 
  • 100+ students and staff from Windsor Elementary and Albert Bridge School participated in the school winter sports program on the Rope Tow.
  • AO hosted a ski/tubing day for foreign exchange students attending local VT and NH high schools.
  • 50+ students and staff from ABS used the Tubing Lift for a winter sports day.
  • AO hosted school educational/recreational trips hiking and snowshoeing on the Discovery Trail.
  • The ABS After School program (The Adventure Club) came on weekday afternoons for skiing, sledding, tubing, hiking, forest play and a myriad of other outdoor activities.
  • AO hosted a Vermont Emergency First Responder Course for local FAST Squad members and AO’s Safety Patrol.
  • Provided skiing and tubing rewards for students who successfully completed goals in the Upper Valley Trails Alliance’s Passport to Winter Fun Program. 
As always, these activities were made possible by our operations team and the tireless efforts of our volunteers who donated their time for over 200 sessions!  To bring this point home, you'll enjoy this letter we recently received from a happy family.

VOREC Community Grant

Ascutney Outdoors and the Ascutney Trails Association were selected to receive $262k from the FY22 VOREC Community Grant Program, a State program designed “to support communities in building their economies with outdoor recreation at the center.”  The Grant provides funding for several longer-term capital projects of AO and ATA that will improve and sustain our offerings on the mountain.  The funding is project specific, with AO receiving a bit more than half of the Grant.
Our application stood out amongst 104 letters of interest and ultimately 30 finalists.  At the end of the day, twenty-four projects received a total of $4.5mm.  A big shout out to AO Board members Natalie Starr for initiating and leading the grant proposal and Glenn Seward for scoping out the longer-term requirements for our rope tow, and to Aaron Day and Erik Schultz who joined the project team from the Ascutney Trails Association.   
The Grant funding will be used:
For AO to replace the antiquated gas-powered rope tow motor with an electric motor and controls.  This will increase the reliability and uphill capacity, which is particularly important for larger school events, and it will make the operation safer and more user-friendly for our volunteers.
For AO to extend the popular Discovery Interpretive Trail to the village and the Ascutney Resort, as well as to create and distribute a professional brochure and map.
For ATA to construct a “flow trail” (on the eastern slope, mostly above the old double chair) and “skills park” (above the event field) as part of the mountain bike network within the Conservation Easement.   The flow trail is a less technical and will appeal to a broader range of bikers, and the skills park will enable newer riders to learn technical biking skills before venturing out to the rest of the trail network.
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Mt Ascutney Outdoors · PO Box 101 · Brownsville, VT 05037 · USA

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