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West Windsor’s solution was Ascutney Outdoors, an indepen- dent nonprofit launched in 2015 to manage the mountain on the town’s behalf. The new organization secured the benefit of experience in the form of executive director Laura Farrell. A passionate advocate for accessibility in the outdoors, she founded Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports at Ascutney back in 1987, as well as two popular fixtures on the New England adventure-race circuit: the Vermont 100 Endurance Run and Ride and the Vermont 50 mountain bike race. Both draw thou- sands of visitors to Ascutney. Today, Ascutney Outdoors runs on donations and volunteer muscle. About 50 people have put in time to help install a new rope tow, refurbish the warming hut, clear some of the old trails, and install lights for night skiing. Farrell says the orga- nization hopes one day to restore lift access to mid- mountain, granting both skiers and mountain bikers easier access to more terrain. Meanwhile, Lyall and others are working on a plan for flow trails: smooth mountain bike tracks with berms and jumps, accessible by the lift. Wanner predicts this community-driven approach to an all-season mountain could become a model for ski hills across the Northeast. In the face of warming winters, most of the re- gion’s resorts are projected to close by the end of the century.


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