Ski Resort Life

What's in a Name


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Okemo opened seven new trails this season as part of its Jackson Gore Expansion. While some resorts name their trails along a theme – e.g., Mad River Glen uses a bird/animal theme (Catamount, Ferret) – and others recognize resort founders – e.g., Stowe’s Lord trail, for trail engineer Charlie Lord – Okemo left trail-naming up to its employees. They held a contest with staffers coming up with names like Escape, for the entrance to Jackson Gore from the older Okemo trails, and Vortex, for one of the steeper pistes. Descriptive, perhaps, but bland. Some ski trails in New England actually have interesting tales behind their appellations. A sampling:

Alligator Alley (Jay Peak): The section of liftline under the new Green Mountain Flyer quad that slices through the Everglade glade.

Committed (Mount Snow): Before other trails were cut on the North Face, this trail led directly to Ripcord, the resort’s steepest trail with a 43-degree pitch.

Goat (Stowe): Originally called Chamois after a small cliff-dwelling mountain goat, this name sounded too delicate for a shaft-like piste that skied more like a cantankerous old farm goat bucking its way down the mountain.

Royal Flush (Killington): In Killington’s early days, the sewage pipes from the Killington Peak restaurant ran across this trail to a septic tank on Snowdon Peak.

Superstar (Killington): A new guy was grooming this steep trail right before it opened in the 1970s. He came over the top, saw the nose of his ‘cat dip precipitously down, and screamed the then-popular song title, “Jesus Christ Superstar,” into his radio.

Wilfred’s Gawm (Attitash): While excavating a trail, a guy named Wilfred missed the correct route, cutting a new trail. With no way to hide it, management dubbed it Wilfred’s Gawm – “getting away with murder.” Lucky Wilfred.