After Almost 8 Years Of Being Closed Ski Area Plans To Reopen

Inside new lodge at Cockaigne Ski Resort in Western New York during a sunny winter day Image appears courtesy: Cockaigne Resort

This article may contain affiliate / compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer here.

Running a ski area is a difficult task. Like farming, you’re susceptible to the weather and the economy. When people are feeling a tight pinch on their wallets or the snow decides to not fall, folks won’t come out. So, when we heard the rumors on the slopes that Western New York ski area of Cockaigne plans to reopen this season, we couldn’t be more excited!

What Made Cockaigne Resort Close

Aerial shot of Cockaigne Ski Resort in Western New York during a cloudy winter day
Image appears courtesy: Cockaigne Resort

Forest fires are a painful occurrence. Emotionally, spiritually, and physically. But once the flames have been stoked, one positive for the environment is the benefit of returning otherwise trapped nutrients to the soil. They also act as a disinfectant removing disease-ridden plants and harmful insects from the eco-system. Just like a forest fire, Cockaigne’s prized Austrian Pavilion from the 1964 World’s Fair went up in a towering inferno. The flames were so massive that it could be seen over 5 miles away.

Big Blow To The Economy

When the fire happened, it forced the ski area to close. A HUGE blow to the Chautauqua County’s pride and the local economy. The original owner, Van Scoter, was 82 years old and didn’t have insurance or the energy to rebuild. Year after year as the property sat dormant questions arose as to what would happen.

Eight Years Later… Cockaigne Resort Is Back Better And Stronger

Inside new lodge at Cockaigne Ski Resort in Western New York during a sunny winter day
Image appears courtesy: Cockaigne Resort

That’s where Rex Butcher, Adam Pirtz, and Isaac Gratto came in. With experience in the industry, they saw an opportunity. Instead of just a ski area, their vision is to make it into a four season resort. With a $6.2 MILLION investment, there’s a new ski lodge and a new stage built for musical acts (like the Cockaigne Bluegrass Festival). And of course, the most important piece is bringing back the skiing!

What To Expect At Cockaigne Resort

New trail map of Cockaigne Ski Resort in Western New York
Image appears courtesy: Cockaigne Resort

The cozy ski area has two chair lifts plus a J bar and magic carpet that provide access to about 80 acres of skiing with a 430 vertical foot descent. The terrain has wide open slopes for beginners to get comfortable as well as classic New England style narrow trails, cut to follow the topography of the mountain.

Snow? They got it!

So, what makes Cockaigne resort special? Due to its geographical location, it gets HAMMERED with snow. Located only 18 miles from Lake Erie and a 1,000 feet higher than the lake itself, once the legendary Great Lakes snow machine kicks on, they get over 275 inches of the white stuff annually.

Congrats Cockaigne on re-opening bigger and better than before. Here’s to a record year with tons of snowfall!

4 thoughts on “After Almost 8 Years Of Being Closed Ski Area Plans To Reopen

  1. What a refreshing story! I grew up ski racing there and my mom was a coach! Great memories of long days on the slopes! At day’s end when my mom was ready to go home, I would be at the top of the trails scanning the bottom for her and would scurry to the trail she wasn’t at the bottom of. I’d race to the bottom and jump on a chair before she could catch me. I was so mean to her, but skiing was my joy in life. ?

    1. No way! Thanks for sharing Gina. That’s the reason I try to find unique things to write about like this ski area. 😀 Happy Skiing!

    2. Hello Gina,
      Ron Swing here. I am a 57 year old former Oregonian. I coached ski racing at Cockaigne three winters, while studying at The Ohio State University, in the late 80s. It was balsam for my skier sole to be able to make the long drive each weekend to continue to coach ski racing while living in flat Ohio. Great people and family owned energy at that little place. I always say; “Some of the best up-hill skiing in the world”. :-). What wonderful coincidence it would be if you were around in that time period, and might remember me.
      Thank you.
      Kind Regards
      Ron Swing
      P.S. Now living in Austria since 1994. They know skiing over here. We live in the Birthplace of alpine skiing in the Alps.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *