Holderness School and Franconia Ski Club (FSC) broke ground last week on the Mittersill Performance Center, a lodge at the base of the Mittersill slopes of Cannon Mountain. The lodge will be open to all resort visitors as well as provide space required for alpine ski racing and training. Plans call for 9,200 square feet of indoor space and construction is expected to be completed before the end of the 2020-21 ski season. The total cost of the project is $2,900,000 and will be provided by private donors. No taxpayer or other funding from the State of New Hampshire will be required.

The lodge, which will be open to all resort guests, will provide Holderness and FSC athletes with much-needed space for alpine ski racing and training. The facility will include ski tuning rooms, coaches’ offices, video review rooms and gear storage areas. The building’s design will reflect the traditional Austrian chalet architecture of the surrounding village, and will incorporate modern amenities and large expanses of glass, offering some of the best views of ski racing in the eastern United States.

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FSC Board Member and Holderness School Trustee Chip Martin ‘88 chaired the fundraising effort to make the Mittersill Performance Center a reality. 

“Transformative is sometimes an overused word, but the vision, and soon reality, for Mittersill to provide an accessible world-class training facility for northern New Hampshire is truly exciting,” says Head of School Phil Peck. “We are honored to have played a leading role in making this remarkable facility and program a reality, not just for Holderness and FSC but for countless future generations of young New Hampshire skiers who will be able to achieve their potential thanks to Mittersill.”

Construction of the Mittersill Performance Center continues a partnership among FSC, the state of New Hampshire, Holderness School and the U.S. Ski Team. Together, these organizations have raised nearly $7,000,000 over the past six years to add snowmaking, install a new T-bar lift, regrade two race trails and now build a lodge at the base of the Taft Training Slope. While ski racers and the general skiing public have enjoyed the improvements at the Mittersill venue, it has lacked basic amenities like rest rooms, lunch tables and sufficient warming space. The Mittersill Performance Center will provide these needed facilities and enable the resort to hold larger and more prestigious ski races such as Nor-Am Cup races and U.S. championship events. Mittersill has been an official training site of the U.S. Ski Team since 2015, and serves as a home base for skiers from FSC, Plymouth State University, several local public high schools. The University of New Hampshire and many other area colleges and universities also train and race at Mittersill extensively. 

“We are thrilled to begin building what we believe will be the nicest facility of its kind in the Northeast,” said FSC Program Director Eric Price. “This is a game-changer for everyone from local school kids to NCAA ski racers at UNH and Plymouth State.”

“When we have hosted events in the past like UNH carnivals and the 2017 NCAA Championships, teams told us that they absolutely loved the ski venue, but not the construction trailers we used as warming huts,” said David Lavallee, President of FSC’s Board of Directors. “We can now offer a world-class ski venue with indoor facilities to match.”

The Mittersill Performance Center is made possible, in part, by an anonymous $6 million gift to support Holderness athletics. In addition to funding a large portion of the lodge, the gift will support the construction of a new turf field and the renovation of the existing turf field; the creation of a freeski & snowboard jumping venue including a big air bag; and the development of a 5-kilometer homologated cross-country skiing venue that will incorporate 2 kilometers of lighted trail and 2.5 kilometers of state-of-the-art snowmaking.

“This is a monumental step forward for both Holderness and FSC’s athletes and staff,” added Holderness Director of Snow Sports Ben Drummond. “We will now have a world class facility that matches the on-hill training site at Mittersill. We are paving a way for all our athletes to reach their goals, whatever they may be.”

“Franconia Ski Club is one of our original and most trusted partners. We’ve accomplished great things together for the mountain, our skiers and for ski racing at Cannon Mountain and in the Northeast, especially with the investment and development in the past five years. This base area facility is yet another crowning achievement in what is an outstanding model for great public-private partnerships,” said John DeVivo, Cannon Mountain’s general manager.

Fundraising for the project is approximately 95% complete and FSC is actively soliciting contributions to close the remaining gap.

Release courtesy of Holderness and Franconia Ski Club.

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