This eerie abandoned Maine ski lodge still stands in the shadow of its failure

Photo courtesy of Jim Hall.

Photo courtesy of Jim Hall.

Evergreen Valley Ski Resort in Stoneham closed for good in 1982, after opening 10 years before. All that remains on the property is the once elaborate lodge. There’s just something about dilapidated buildings that gives me the heebie jeebies.

But the building left behind at Evergreen isn’t the only story worth telling about the resort. The resort promised to be one like Maine had never seen, according to New England Lost Ski Area Project but struggled to achieve its lofty aspirations.

A 2008 article by Scott Andrews, featured on NELSAP, detailed the rise and subsequent fall of the project. Andrews wrote:

“Within the ski industry, Evergreen Valley is mostly remembered in more pedestrian language ─ as an egregious example of overreaching vision followed by underachieving results.”

It’s easy to see the overreaching vision, namely in the $40 million plan hatched a couple years after the original in 1961. The plans were spurred by out-of-state investors who were inspired by the success of resorts such as Squaw Valley in California. Andrews writes:

Instead, out-of-state promoters, investors and bankers and brokerage firms were invited into the enterprise, and their visions grew exponentially in expanse and expense. Within a few years, the up-scaled scheme called for a full-blown $5-million four-season resort, complete with 18-hole golf course, indoor tennis courts, marina on Kezar Lake, riding stables, hotel, retail stores and second home development as far as the eye could see. The centerpiece of the 2,000-acre expanse was a vastly enlarged ski area ─ complete with dozen-plus trails, three chairlifts and Maine’s biggest and grandest base lodge.

Construction of the base lodge, likely ~1970. Used with permission from NELSAP.

Construction of the base lodge, likely ~1970. Used with permission from NELSAP.

After pouring $7 million (around $40 million today) into development and construction, the resort opened in 1972. Andrews detailed the amenities:

Three Swiss-built double chairlifts were turning ─ the longest ran 4,544 feet to the summit of Adams Mountain ─ and the nine ski runs were groomed by state-of-the-art Pisten Bully snowcats. About half of the terrain was lighted for night skiing. Ten miles of cross-country trails radiated into the surrounding forests and offered miles of pleasant ski touring. No ski resort in the state ever offered so much on its opening day.

The resort faced a number of difficulties during its decade of operation, ranging from legal trouble to advertising woes. Most problematic was the actual skiing. Adams Mountains was not challenging for expert skiers, with only 1,000 vertical feet. Andrews wrote:

Among Maine ski areas, Evergreen Valley ranked smack in the middle of the competitive pack, equal to Mount Abram and substantially less than either Pleasant Mountain or Sunday River. And the oft-noted lack of expert terrain hurt its reputation among the serious skiers who constituted the core of the market then and now.

The resort was tossed between investment groups until the lifts were dismantled and sold in 1991, leaving only the lodge to stand symbolically in solitude.

The inside of the base lodge (taken from the window) in late August, 1999.  Used with permission from NELSAP.

The inside of the base lodge (taken from the window) in late August, 1999. Used with permission from NELSAP.

As WCYY said, it does bring up thoughts of the “The Shining.”

The 28,000-square-foot lodge was designed by a consultant in Seattle and built from Oregon timber, giving it a distinctly Western look.

Here’s a video showing the exterior of the building, filmed by MotoOutdoors.

If you worked at Evergreen Valley or just want to enjoy some excellent vintage pictures, the Evergreen Valley Alumni Association Facebook page preserves the memory of the resort.