1.21.12 Location, Location

Saturday, January 21, 2012

We recently purchased the old Cupola ski shop (Alpine Trader’s) on Route100 and it will open today.  I thought I would write a little to promote the rebirth of this familiar store but in the process I’ve taken a very interesting trip down memory lane.  If you like history, keep reading.

First, I need to thank some locals and staff members for their help -  Bill Palumbo, Tom Montemagni, Reggie Bartlett and Bob Leblond.  Between them, the timeline below was pieced together.  I am thankful for their good memories!

Cupola Timeline –

1962:  Walter Schoenknecht, Mount Snow’s founder, bought the land where the ski shop sits today and the land behind it (Mount Snow Village).  Bill Palumbo (owner of Kenyon Realty) told me that Walter sold staff,  friends and passholders land in Mount Snow Village to generate activity and add beds to the area.

1968:  Dick Kenyon (Kenyon Realty) bought the land from Walt.  Dick Kenyon built the north section (closest to the Silo) for his real estate office.  There used to be a big fireplace in the waiting area.  Sylvia Wright, who worked for Kenyon Realty, opened a wine and cheese shop in the late 60’s/early 70’s.  Eventually the cheese shop  moved to Wilmington.  Behind Sylvia’s cheese shop was Alan Seymour’s photography studio.     In 1971 Bill Palumbo also set up shop there, selling Mueller Lifts.  He and Lynne Matthews sold lifts to ski areas like Mad River, Haystack, Jackson Hole and they even sold a rope tow to Mount Snow that John Plausteiner (went on to own Ascutney) put on Fountain Mountain.  Imagine that, you could shop for a home, wine, cheese, artwork and a ski lift, all in one location!

1972:  The Levinson's bought the shop and turned it into the Cupola ski shop.  The Levinson’s added on the northern end of the building, a Rod Williams design.  Alan Levinson installed a windmill.  Bill Palumbo recalls hearing that the windmill was not very profitable but it was the only one of its kind in the valley.  The windmill was still there when Mount Snow purchased the Cupola in 1987.  Bob LeBlond, one of Mount Snow's longtime staff members, remembers the it was decided to take the wind mill down and it ended up in one of the Mount Snow boneyards.

1987:  Mount Snow bought the Cupola from the Levinson's.  Tom Montemagni had just graduated from law school and as Mount Snow’s attorney, his 1st contract was the Cupola.  Tom remembers being pretty nervous to start his career with such a large contract.  25 years later and Tom is still our attorney.  Little did he know that he would become quite proficient at buying and selling the Cupola.

1999:  Mount Snow sold the Cupola and it became Alpine Trader's.

2011:  Not being able to pass up a good location, Mount Snow buys “the Cupola” back.

When I think of the Cupola the name Reggie, comes to mind.  Reggie Bartlett started working for Mount Snow in 1962 and spent winters in our repair shop.  In 1970 Reggie became the Mount Snow rental shop manager and did this until 1976.

In 1976 Reggie went to work at the Cupola, which was owned by the Levinson’s.  Reggie spent the next 20+ years at the Cupola with folks like Spike, Rich, Dennis and Norma.  They were always there to help, whether you were buying skis and boots or just stopping in for a ski tune.

I met up with Reggie to get a little more background on the building and to find out what was in store for this winter.  I asked Reggie where the skier weathervane came from.  He wasn’t sure but told me that he built the cupola the same year that they took the fireplace out.  The shop was actually named The Cupola before the cupola was erected.  He brought me on a tour of the cupola.

Pictured below:  The weathervane, Reggie climbing up into the Cupola/attic where he found an old golf poster.



I asked Reggie what the old Cupola was known for.  He said it used to be the premiere ski shop in the area.  Reggie said they sold a lot of hard and soft goods and had a large repair area.  He bragged that they were the first “Skis on Demand” and Reggie remembers driving around the valley in a Volvo van, delivering equipment.

I asked Reggie to clear up a few rumors I’ve heard.   "Was it ever a gas station?"  "Was it ever a convenience store?"  Reggie said “no” to both.

For this winter, the shop will be called MOUNT SNOW SPORTS at the Cupola.  Moving forward, we are not exactly sure what the shop will be.  We have a lot of ideas and are putting together a business plan.  And I am sure you will give us a few of your ideas.  What does this valley need?

I finished up by asking Reggie what people can expect when they stop by this winter.  Reggie said that the shop will offer equipment rentals and high performance rentals.  The biggest advantage to renting is if there is a problem with your rentals you can get it fixed right at the mountain.  MOUNT SNOW SPORTS at the Cupola will also sell Mount Snow lift tickets and be open until midnight on Friday's.

There will be a good assortment of ski gear and accessories, including helmets.  And there will be a section that offers very good deals, up to 50% off.    Our staff have put the shop together in the shortest amount of time!  As of Wednesday, you will see that the store was still empty.  I invite you to stop by and see what has happened in the last 72 hours!

Below - Robbin sets up the point of sale system and Donna cleans the front window .

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