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
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
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
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!