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Afton Alps
Alfton, Virginia

Today, there is an Afton Alps Ski Area in Minnesota, offering 41 trails with 18 lifts. But there used to be an Afton Alps resort here in the Mid-Atlantic, in Afton, Virginia - and presumably much smaller than the Minnesota version.

Details about this ski area have been hard to come by, but Helen Pannell, a long-time resident of Afton, provided some memories. She remembers seeing a ski lodge at Afton Alps when she was young, in the early 1970s. She reports that there may also have been a ski lodge at the site of today’s Swannanoa Country Club, a golf resort located in Afton.

Mark Bedle writes the following:

    “I was doing some research on historical aerial photographs and topographic maps and I think I have some additional information on the lost area called Afton Alps. It was mentioned by one of your readers that this may have been near or on land where Swannanoa Golf and County Club is now located. A topographic map, dated 1966, shows the location of the club with one building. The 1968 map shows the same location with additional buildings and a cleared area in the forest running from the peak, down a ridge, to the base. It looks like it might have been a trail with an approximately 800 foot vertical. There are no lifts shown on the map. The clearing is not as long on the 1974 map and is still present today.”

Mark Bedle provides this aerial photo, marking the location of the cleared area in 1966. Photo provided by Mark Bedle.

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ggnagy
9 years ago
Looks like there was a ski lift near the I-64 and blue ridge pkwy interchange. Appears on the terraserver topo map.
Rick
8 years ago
Yes, there was a ski area along I-64 on top of Afton Mountain. If I remember correctly, there was a double chairlift and one run. I think it was operated by one of the hotels on the mountain. I skied there once in the early 70’s. I don’t recall it being named Afton Alps.
Rick
8 years ago
Yes, there was a ski area along I-64 on top of Afton Mountain. If I remember correctly, there was a double chairlift and one run. I think it was operated by one of the hotels on the mountain. I skied there once in the early 70’s. I don’t recall it being named Afton Alps.
Rick
8 years ago
Yes, there was a ski area along I-64 on top of Afton Mountain. If I remember correctly, there was a double chairlift and one run. I think it was operated by one of the hotels on the mountain. I skied there once in the early 70’s. I don’t recall it being named Afton Alps.
Tim Miller
7 years ago
Yes, there absolutely was a ski area at Afton Mountain. I know this as fact as I worked there. It was co-owned by Pete Lang, owner of Swannanoa golf course. I worked there in the winter of 1973. We blew snow from a pond located higher up on the ridge. We had a double chair lift. One slope with 300 vertical. Typical east coast skiing, ice but lots of fun. The ski area was located on the hill behind the former Howard Johnson restaurant. To make this even more interesting. Pete had a prior slope on the golf course. It had a very primitive rope tow, and from what I know, it was open in the 60s and relied solely on natural snow. I remember seeing the remnents of the rope tow in the late 60s. Pete had cut in a new slope near the golf course, but it was never opened. Nicest guy you would every meet, as is his son Bucky. Bucky runs the golf course today.
Tim Miller, Richmond.
kevin
one year ago
nice new research… found the topo… slope looks like about 600’ true vert, but prolly woulda boasted 700’-800’ for whole resort… according 2 tim miller’s post, perhaps this slope never had lift service… the old ski hill that did have a lift looks like it existed right above I64 and looks nearly completely grown in on current satellite maps
Sharpen your edges. And pencils.
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