Litchfield, CT --
Contact: Janet L. Serra
For Immediate Release
It was in 1947 when a visionary skier named Walt Schoenknecht set out to create the first ski resort in his home state of Connecticut. The site he chose was Mohawk Mountain in Cornwall, in the Litchfield Hills of Northwest Connecticut. The mountain celebrates its 60th birthday this winter as Connecticut's oldest and largest ski area, still family run and welcoming families with a smoke and alcohol-free policy.
One year later Schoenknecht assured the success of the sport even when Mother Nature was stingy with the necessary white covering, pioneering the first experiments in making snow. The rest, as they say, is history. Snowmaking revolutionized the ski industry, allowing earlier openings, later closings, and ski able terrain even in snow less winters.
In the beginning, Schoenknecht harvested ice from local lakes and bought more adding up to some 500 tons of ice plus an ice crusher. He spread the resulting flakes on Mohawks trails, but found that ice melts too quickly. The next step was using water, pressure, and the natural cold air. When tiny water droplets were blown into the cold air, they froze, producing man-made snow.
Schoenknecht went on to build Mount Snow in Vermont, snowmaking technology continued to improve and Mohawk has now provided 60 years of winter fun to generations of families. With two dozen trails covered by snowmaking, a terrain park, 12 trails lit for night skiing and riding, expert grooming and six chairlifts, Mohawk offers the closest thing to a big mountain experience for skiing enthusiasts in metropolitan areas like New York City and Hartford.
Mohawk offers 107 ski able acres on 950 scenic acres of state forest. Half the mountain is rated intermediate, 20 percent expert. The longest trail is 1.25 miles. Thirty percent is set aside for beginners, who have their own lift, the Wonder Carpet. Group lessons for all abilities are available for skiers age 14 and up. Younger learners have their own Snow Hawk groups or Parent and Tot programs.
The homey base lodge houses all skier services including a ski shop. With its warm stone fireplace surrounded by antique skis and sleigh, the lodge is a nice place for a steaming cup of hot cocoa or lunch at the cafeteria or on the deck. Mohawk?s first base lodge, the Pine Lodge, has been remodeled for a more leisurely dining experience among the evergreens.
Cross-country skiing is available in nearby state-run Mohawk State Forest when snow cover allows. The nearby town of Cornwall is the home of a famous covered bridge, shops, cafes, and galleries. Within 25 minutes or less of the ski area, are at least, a dozen country inns, lodges and B&sBs.
Money-saving Ski and Stay packages offering one free lift ticket with each night?s stay are available at several inns, including the Cornwall Inn (800-786-6884); Fife 'n Drum (860-927-3509); Interlaken Inn (800-222-2909); Litchfield Inn (800-499-3444); Toll Gate Hill Inn, (860-567-1233); and Wake Robin Inn (860-435-2000). In addition to country inn packages, each of the following Bed and Breakfasts have partnered with Mohawk Ski Area to offer Ski Escapes starting at $299. This package includes a Saturday night stay for two with breakfast, two ski packages including lift, rentals and lessons, plus dinner for two at Pine Lodge Restaurant at Mohawk Mountain. Participating Bed and Breakfasts include Interlaken Inn- Sunnyside House, (800-222-2909); Locust Tree Bed and Breakfast (860-824-7163); Marigold Gardens (860-868-0462); Starbuck Inn (860-927-1788); and The Inn at Kent Falls (860-927-3197). For more information, phone 800-895-5222 or see www.mohawkmtn.com. For Complete Winter Package information, visit www.litchfieldhills.com.
The Litchfield Hills area also offers two other mountains popular with families. Ski Sundown in New Harford (860-379-SNOW) is popular for night skiing with 95% of its terrain under the lights until 10 p.m. nightly. Woodbury Ski and Racquet in Woodbury (203-263-2203) offers a choice of skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, skating, sledding, and tubing.
For more information about winter activities and a free copy of UNWIND, a 112-page color guide to lodging, dining and all the attractions in the Litchfield Hills of Northwest Connecticut, contact Northwest Connecticut Convention and Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, (860) 567-45606 or check the Internet at www.litchfieldhills.com.