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December 30. 2012 9:02PM

Mount Cranmore dedicates new ski lift to Herbert Schneider


Mount Cranmore General Manager Ben Wilcox, left, introduces the sons and grandsons of Herbert Schneider: Hannes Schneider (son), Markus Schneider, Hannes Schneider III, Hannah Sullivan (Christoph's fiancé), and Christoph Schneider (son), at the dedication of the Schneider Triple chairlift. The new lift is named in honor of the late Herbert Schneider. (COURTESY)

NORTH CONWAY - It was a classic winter scene Saturday in this White Mountain ski town, which was honored by National Geographic Adventures as one of the top 25 ski towns in the world.

At noon Friday, one of the individuals who contributed greatly to that honor was himself honored. The Schneider Triple chairlift at Mount Cranmore was dedicated to the late Herbert Schneider, who came from Austria in 1939 at the age of 15 and made North Conway his home.

Schneider died at 92 in June, but his sons and grandchildren were at the dedication, which was held at the base of the new lift on the southeast side of the mountain. The chair replaces the East Double Chair, which serviced six trails.

"We have relocated the lift line to the south so that it services a whole new area of skiing on 11 trails," said Ben Wilcox, Cranmore general manager, earlier this winter. "It adds 300 feet of vertical when you compare the old lift to the new lift. The Schneider Triple will give skiers easier access to Cranmore's best advanced terrain, including Ledges and Koessler, plus intermediate favorites like Artist Falls."

On Saturday, Tom Eastman, author of the recently published "The History of Cranmore Mountain," said at the dedication, "The new Schneider Triple is going to give people a third access to the summit, and in doing so will completely change the way people ski the mountain."

It's Cranmore's 75th season this year. The ski mountain's beginning dates to 1938, when New York financier Harvey D. Gibson moved a rope tow to the mountain. Gibson, a North Conway native, brought Hannes Schneider - known as the father of modern skiing and father of Herbert - and his family over from Austria in 1939, after using his influence to get released from Nazi custody.

According to Eastman's book, Schneider advised Gibson to expand the trails to the summit, and that summer the upper skimobile was completed. It was the beginning of a long relationship.

Hannes Schneider died in 1955, and Herbert Schneider became director of the Hannes Schneider Ski School, with partners, and served as the ski area's general manager. He and his partners owned the hometown ski mountain from 1963 to 1984.

The Schneider Triple chairlift is a $1 million investment for the owners of the resort, who have invested more than $8.3 million since they bought Cranmore in June 2010.

"As Hannes and Christoph, Doris and Herb's sons, both noted, he was a very humble man, but he would have appreciated this latest honor," Eastman said. That honor included a proclamation from Governor John Lynch, read by Alice Pearce, president of Ski NH.

On Jan. 12, Cranmore will celebrate its 75th anniversary with an Austrian-themed gala event at the Red Jacket Resort in North Conway, complete with the Alpiner Oom-Pah band and a complimentary copy of Eastman's book.

syoungknox@newstote.com


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