Indy Pass, Unofficial Networks Team Up to Help Hickory, New York Re-Open
Throwback ski area has been dormant since 2016
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There’s throwback, and then there’s Hickory.
Throwback is the illusion of rough-and-tumble, a brand fueled by nostalgia but retrofit with subtle trappings of modernity. Throwback is Mad River Glen, with its single chair (completely rebuilt in 2007), limited (but modern) snowmaking (up to 2,300 feet), and wild terrain complemented by way more grooming than you might suppose (done with modern Snowcats). Mad River Glen sells you 1945 but gives you 2023 (so long as those 250 inches of average annual snowfall show up).
Hickory, a surface-lifts only relic in New York’s Adirondacks, sells you 1965, and that’s exactly what you get. No snowmaking. Snow-packing versus grooming (and mostly on the lower mountain). A pair of oil-dripping, shoulder-jerking Pomas that yank skiers uphill like a shuttle lifting out of the Kennedy Space Center.
Sixty years ago, every ski area in America gave you some version of Hickory. Rough and novel, a low-tech doorway to interact with the snow whenever it decided to fall. But these places modernized or died. Less because seasonlong snowfall totals declined (which they generally haven’t, at least in America), and more because consumer expectations evolved. You can’t find the ungroomed, surface-lift-only, natural-snow experience much anymore for the same reason that you can no longer buy a VCR or a tube TV or a rotary phone – we came up with better ideas a long time ago.
Still, nostalgia is powerful, simplicity appealing. And that’s why, since those Pomas last tugged skiers summit-ward in 2016, so many people have spent so much time trying to keep Hickory from fading forever. Finally, after endless starts and stalls, the lifts may spin again this winter.
Below the paid subscriber jump: Hickory joins Indy Pass, which, along with “Unofficial Networks” will provide financial assistance to help the ski area re-open.