• By Rick Kahl

    Photography by Hubert Schriebl

    It took incredible courage, strong vision, persistence and a large dose of naïveté to launch a ski area back in the 60s.

    The 60s—Yodel-ay, we’re on our way!

    Aesthetics played a key role in many ways. Snyder traveled to Altback, Austria, to find the Tyrolean architecture—the colors, materials, rooflines, balconies and sculpted balusters and railings—that defined Stratton’s first decade. Architect Alexander “Sandy” McIlvaine incorporated these elements into the base lodge, and they became common across the resort.

    Another example: Instead of installing standard chairlifts of the day, Stratton asked nine manufacturers to bid on the resort’s three lifts, based on a list of general requirements. This novel idea led to the selection of a custom design from Heron Manufacturing— the most expensive of the nine. The seatbacks and safety bars of the Heron chairs were wider than most, and unusually comfortable.

    “That set the tone, it told everyone ‘we want to offer good quality, be a leader,’” says Rawson.

    Aesthetics extended to the golf course. To create Tink’s masterpiece, Stratton retained noted golf architect Geoffrey Cornish. “A real gentleman,” in Rawson’s words, Cornish laid out the course and put construction in the hands of Rawson’s local crew. Cornish would come from his office in Massachusetts every two weeks and, using an umbrella as a walking stick, personally inspect the course’s progress.

    “When you’re building a golf course, you’re painting a picture,” Cornish told Rawson. “Don’t make everything symmetrical around the center line,” he advised. “Create an aesthetic where everything curves and blends.” This advice shaped the tee boxes and the treelines as well as the slope and pitch of the greens and fairways.

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