SERVING THE COMMUNITY SINCE 1923
The Lebanon Outing Club's history spans nearly a century from its beginnings as a high school student club through 86 years of continuous operation serving generations of Upper Valley ski enthusiasts. The first lift was installed in 1935 making Storrs Hill possibly the oldest continuously operating lift-served ski area in the country.
1923 Lebanon Outing Club founded as a Lebanon High School student club by Mechanical Arts teacher, Winter Sports, and Track coach Erling Heistad. Team members included Fred Hansen, captain, who in 1948 led the design and construction of Mt. Sunapee Ski Area and later Ernest Dion, Edward Gignac (at Kimball Union Academy, American fighter pilot) and others. Heistad’s teams dominated eastern competitions over several decades. His vision of a ski jump within walking distance of every child in Lebanon was realized as he designed and oversaw construction of 13 ski jumps in New England, including 8 in Lebanon.
1925 First ski jump built at Storrs Hill at “The Scrape” just upstream from the current 50-meter hill, so called because jumpers who “dove in too deep” would scrape their bellies on the landing.
1931 First alpine ski trail cut on Storrs Hill by Heistad, Harold and Dutch Townsend, Fred Hansen, and Nils Backstrom who competed for the US in the ’32 and ’36 Olympic Games. Then working as a machinist in Lebanon, Backstrom used the trail to get to work quickly from the Townsend farm above Storrs Hill where he was living. This began what remains one of the oldest alpine ski areas in the country.
1932 Alpine Trail expanded and lengthened becoming a regular on the informal New England racing circuit with a jump over a stone wall and a penalty for crashing on “Dead Man’s Curve”. Dick Durance was noted for his ability to master the obstacles. Slalom training was begun on the trail above the wall as the concept of turning skis emerged and the sport evolved.
1934 Lower trail widened to allow for more turning practice; first ski jump built at Storrs Hill.
1935 First rope tow installed on the lower section of the alpine trail.
c.1935 First lodge built.
1939 Second jump built at Storrs, a 35-meter wooden structure on the site of the current Erling Heistad 50-meter jump. A gala opening included the Governor of New Hampshire and an early American appearance of Norwegian jumping prodigy Torger Tokle later killed in action fighting for the US in WWII.
Lighting installed for night skiing.
1945 Additional slope expansion and lift improvements to serve the entire hill.
1947 20-meter training jump built.
1952 40-meter steel-structured jump built and dedicated to Erling Heistad.
1969 Second lodge built, later replaced by the current lodge in 1997 and moved to become the “Jump-Inn” jumper’s hut near the current 50-meter hill.
1972 Slopes expanded further with the help of New Hampshire state funding and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
1973 Former jumper, Storrs Hill Ski School founder, and developer of Snow Crest ski area (later Whaleback) Ernest Dion returns to Storrs to lead modernization, a multi-generational effort that included another member of the “Flying Dions”, Ernest’s son Roger, father Delfice, Howard Townsend, and many others who had been involved with the hill over the years. Poma lift installed, new lighting, and plans for snowmaking (photo link) developed. Dedication featured New Hampshire Governor Meldrim Thompson.
1986 Lebanon Outing Club reorganized, becoming a 501c3 non-profit organization and assuming responsibility for ski area operations from the city of Lebanon. First snowmaking system installed by dint of sheer determination of the younger Erling Heistad and support from larger New England ski areas.
1997 Third and current lodge built through a significant community effort. Second lodge moved and repurposed as the “Jump-Inn” next to the Heistad 50-meter hill.
2002 Olympic torch passes through the Upper Valley and off the Storrs 35 meter jump through the “ring of fire”.
2004 The young Mikaela Shiffrin trains at Storrs with Lebanon Outing Club Alpine.
2016 Lift refurbish begun: new 50 hp motor, gearbox.
2018 Byrne Foundation grant enables installation of stainless steel tracks on main jumps alleviating snow management demands. Lift refurbish continued: new bearings, pulley tires.
2019 Winch Cat groomer purchased enabling winch grooming of jump landings.
2020 Lift upgrade: Byrne Foundation grant enables lift platter pole replacements increasing uphill skier capacity. Lodge expansion begun to double square footage – phase one provided an outdoor staging area to comply with COVID guidelines.
2021 Lake Placid, New York’s Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) donates landing mats for 25 and 50 meter jumps for installation in summer 2022 enabling year-round jumping at Storrs.
Lodge expansion phase two begins, improves/enlarges Ski Patrol and Kitchen facilities, completes enclosure of new building footprint. Winch cat groomer refurbished.