February 27, 2020
The Little Mountain That Could | L.L.Bean

The Little Mountain That Could | L.L.Bean


(piano music) – [Woman] You guys excited!? – [Child] Yeah! – [Woman] How many of you guys
have been on our team before? – There’s something that’s
just different about Whaleback. It’s the heart of the community. And there’s just something
really special about that. – The best part about it is
that it’s your home mountain and that everybody feels like
it’s their home mountain. – [Woman] You guys ready to drop in? – [Kids] Yeah! – A bigger resort just
can’t do it the same. Back in ’05, myself and a
couple of business partners bought the mountain and
we ran it for eight years and we’d lost money for eight years. (piano music) It was a really hard decision
for us to close and let it go. – We were super devastated
to lose something that’s so meaningful. – There was a lot of sadness
that a staple in this community was gonna close and
that it wouldn’t be here for everybody that had been
using it since the 1950s. Over 90% of our customers
are families like mine who can’t afford to go to
one of the bigger ski areas on a regular basis. – It’s like grief, like
how are you gonna– What are we gonna do,
where are we gonna go? This place is so important
to so many families. We just couldn’t sit back
and let our mountain close. (“Largo al factotum” by Gioachino Rossini) In 2013 a group came
together to save the mountain and reopen it to the public. – I got involved with
Whaleback as a volunteer. I did not know anything
about running a ski area. With only a few of us working year round, we rely heavily on volunteers. (“Largo al factotum” by Gioachino Rossini) Hey everybody, thanks for coming! We’re gonna start with
just letting you know what the priorities are. It remains a struggle. There’s another tree down up in this– Have experts. Working around the clock.
– Around the clock. – I’m gonna put in the chairlift. We need to talk for a minute. It’s always a little nerve-wracking when you’re looking ahead to opening day because you know how much the
mountain has to accomplish before the lift can turn. We don’t have a lot of
money in our back pocket all the time. So without those grassroot efforts, we wouldn’t be here. I’ve always called us the
little mountain that could. On opening day there’s a lot of excitement and a lot of stress. Can I help you? Things happen and fall
apart here and there. Oh, carpets are always– Ah! A pain in the butt. Everybody has to pull
together and dust it off and keep going. – [Woman] It remains
a struggle every year, but we fight hard to make sure that it’s gonna be here for the kids. – I think people appreciate
the experience more because they have been a
part of making it a success. That’s a feeling of
ownership and accomplishment. (cheering)
– Let’s go! (“Largo al factotum” by Gioachino Rossini) Sharing the love of
skiing and the outdoors is kind of priceless.

8 thoughts on “The Little Mountain That Could | L.L.Bean

  1. This is how you change the world. Not via govts or corporations…but by individuals and groups of like minded people coming together to help the wilderness, enhance the local area, getting people outside and making lives better. Save the mountain….Save the world….Jolly well done to all concerned ☺

  2. I'm from Enfield and never learned to ski until I was 17 years old..it was here at Whaleback in 1993 during night skiing on rental skis. It is special to me!
    This is awesome!⛷

  3. If it weren’t for this little mountain and school ski trips/club organized by my 8th grade English teacher (thank you Ms Robinson!) I probably wouldn’t be a skier today. I first started skiing there almost 34 years ago, have skied ever since and have shared my addiction, I mean passion with my own children. I am happy to know that Whaleback is still there and providing the joy of skiing to the local community in the Upper Valley!

  4. This is a fantastic story, and thanks to LL Bean for sharing it. Its these small ski areas that serve as the top of the funnel for the industry. Its here that real people step into the sport and culture.

  5. never really skied as I played hockey at KUA, but understood how important the mountain was to all the local skiers – what a great story of sweat and equity – TEAM WORK

  6. Beautiful little short. Thanks for shining a light on an awesome community making a past time that is economically out of reach for many more attainable

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