Shawnee Peak Hit by Tornado....

Shawnee Peak was hit be a tornado on Saturday. Read the report here. Note that damage was more on the upper trails with some tree damage. Looks like the buildings and lifts are fine.

We can now add it to the list of New England areas hit by a twister - Butternut and Mohawk are the others. Lost areas have been hit too, like Monson with Springfield Tornado a few years ago.



  • You're not going to include Pine Ridge in Barre, Mass., from an old '70s Worcester Gazette ski column which quoted Pine Ridge owner Bob Anderson, who said a tornado beat his ski area up? Is that a run-on sentence or what?
  • Bill, good question. I looked into this, the closest I could find was October 3, 1970, an F3 tornado passed 2 miles SE of Pine Ridge. 60yds wide. It doesn't appear that it directly hit the ski area based on the track map. Now, a lot of microbursts and downbursts are often referred to as "tornadoes" or tornado-like, so maybe there was another wind event at some point?

    1970 F3 tornado track

  • Per the NWS pdf, there was another EF1 on the back side of the ski area which also crossed Moose Pond.
  • edited July 2017
    Question for NELSAP: can't there be other suspected tornados or micro bursts not "proven" by NOAA but the people who experienced them think they were?
    ISNE-I Skied New England | NESAP-the New England Ski Area Project | SOSA-Saving Our Ski Areas - Location SW of Boston MA
  • Has there been a tornado in New England that didn't  hit a ski area?
  • Some new trails and glades!  Good to hear no lift/building damage
  • Hi Ski_it - there definitely can be. Microbursts/downbursts, when experienced in person, certainly can resemble a tornado - strong winds that appear out of nowhere, causing extensive damage, sounding like a freight train, etc. Often, they can cause more damage than a tornado. And most property owners don't care whether or not it was rotating or not - the damage can be similar or worse.
  • mapnut said:

    Has there been a tornado in New England that didn't  hit a ski area?

    The 1787 "Four-state Tornado Swarm" didn't hit any ski areas (there weren't any!).  Obviously I'm being facetious, pre-ski tornados don't count. 

    But yes, most of these didn't hit ski areas.  And that's just Mass.....

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  • Some new trails and glades!  Good to hear no lift/building damage

    Seriously, on their Facebook page, Shawnee says they may get a new glade, and call it "Twister"! Sort of the opposite of the Unexpected Trail Names topic.
  • mapnut, I don't remember seeing any stories about the June 9, 1953 Worcester tornado hitting any ski areas, but there weren't  any in those days abound here.It started in Petersham, and blew itself out near Westborough, but some of the lighter debris would up in Boston Harbor and Cape Cod.
    Its path could have carried it near Pine Ridge, but I don't know whether there was a ski area there or not. People did ski at Ward Hill in those days (I believe it had a rope tow then) but I don't know whether it touched Ward Hill or not. Its path through Shrewsbury center into Northborough and Westborough could have taken it near or even over Ward Hill. Jeremy may be able to find that out.
    That tornado was one of the worst in the country. There were 94 deaths and about 1,200 injuries and widespread damage in the north side of Worcester. I'm told by people who lived through it that people in the rest of the city didn't know what had happened at first. They saw dark clouds and lightning, but some places didn't get much wind or rain.(That was before my time in Worcester. I was in the Army in Europe then and read about it in Stars and Stripes.I got here a little more than a year later and heard tornado stories for many years thereafter. One I read somewhere was that a farmer in Westborough had just sold some milk, wholesale, I guess, and put the check for it on a refrigerator in the barn. He said that the tornado hit and he never saw that check again. He said he never saw the refrigerator again, either. )

  • edited July 2017
    Well, a mea culpa - I found the article on the Pine Ridge tornado - Bill, you're right - it was that Oct 3, 1970 storm. It lifted up the lift foundation and blew the lift hut apart!

    I attached the photo of the article.
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  • Thanks, Jeremy. Now I won't have to call the editor at the Telegram & Gazette and tell her to run a correction for that 1970s ski column. Where did you find that story?
  • Hi Bill, Fitchburg Sentinel.
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