Thursday, December 20, 2007
R.I.P. Pine Ridge
I sort of knew it was eventually going to happen. All the really cool places never last (with the exception of Ralph's). Pine Ridge is gone. The place where half of Central Massachusetts learned to ski has closed its doors for good. It will probably be sold off to developers.
There was no way Pine Ridge could make it in the 21st century. It was just way too funky downscale bohemian to ever register on the radar of the soccer moms, which is what it needed to survive. There's a certain crowd that will go to Ward Hill, and there's a certain crowd that will go to Pine Ridge, and they are two VERY seperate crowds. You know the kind of skier that wears a color-coordinated ski-suit and skis twice a year on brand new Rossi's? Ward Hill. You know the kind of skier that wears a down jacket patched with duct tape, has skis that are beat up beyond belief from skiing on rocks in the Spring, is probably wearing jeans and is not averse to sleeping in a van for a weekend if it means catching some prime powder? Pine Ridge.
Pine Ridge was a dump, but, man, it was OUR dump. The lodge was a cinderblock bunker. The T-bars were ancient. The conditions were usually terrible. The snowmaking was a joke. But it had a vibe you couldn't find anywhere else. I learned to ski there. My kids learned to ski there. My sister almost got killed there when she skied INTO the rental shop. The one thing Pine Ridge was NOT was pretty. Wachusett. Ward Hill. Those places are for the pretty folks. Pine Ridge was for the rest of us.
I will miss it terribly.