When Noel Thompson arrived at Mt. Timothy Ski Area back in 2001 to take on the general managership, with already 30 years of experience in the ski industry under his belt, he saw a ski hill with loads of untapped potential.
At the time, all that stood was a t-bar and a cable tow.
Since, the hill has acquired a chair lift, two magic carpet lifts, a platter lift, a new lodge, new groomers, snowmobiles and snow-making equipment — along with a new ski rental, rest room and administration building to be opened next year.
In addition, Thompson has been instrumental in securing grants and funding for the hill, which operates as a non-profit society.
“We’ve come a long, long ways,” Thompson said.
“When I started we were at around 8,800 visits — now we’re at 16,000.”
On Sunday, the last day of the season at the hill, Mt. Timothy guests and staff bid farewell to Thompson, who is stepping down from his position as general manager.
“It’s been a good 10 years,” Thompson said. “It’s been fun.”
Thompson’s modest remarks were heightened by Mt. Timothy Ski Society president Gernot Zemanek, who described Thompson as a “visionary.”
“We’ve been extremely lucky to have him,” Zemanek said. “I think the hill as it is today is a result of Noel’s vision. I feel what he’s created there is a really nice family hill.
“We have all the components you have at a larger facility in a more compact venue.”
Zemanek said he’s confident the hill will continue to grow and thrive in the coming years due to Thompson’s work in mentoring the staff currently at the hill.
“Now we’re at a point where he’s moving forward,” he said, but added Thompson will continue to work in an advisory role behind the scenes. “I’m glad he’s not going far … but it’s going to be a challenge. I see it as a momentary challenge.”
One of the things Thompson did to ensure the hill’s success in the future, Zemanek said, was to mentor two of his young staff members — Adam Piccolo and Morgan Day — to take on the duties at the hill moving forward.
“He’s been training them up to be able to handle the responsibility up there, and I’m thankful to him for that,” Zemanek said. “That’s vision.
“Moving on and having Noel available in transition in training up and mentoring the next manager, we are extremely lucky.
“I feel pretty solid about the whole thing. It’s going to be challenging, but I think we’re ready for it.”