South Pomfret ski area to change name, citing mental health awareness

Snow recedes at the Suicide Six Ski area.
Snow recedes at the Suicide Six ski place in April 2021. File image by Jennifer Hauck/Valley Information

The South Pomfret ski spot Suicide 6 introduced Tuesday it would retire its “insensitive” title, with plans to expose a new title later on this summer.

“Our vacation resort team embraces the escalating awareness surrounding mental overall health and shares the expanding issues about the insensitive mother nature of the historic title,” a assertion on the ski area’s site reads. “The inner thoughts that the word ‘suicide’ evokes can have a significant effect on a lot of in our neighborhood.”

The initial rope tow was installed at Suicide Six in 1936 on so-identified as “Hill No. 6,” from which the region derived its title. Nowadays, the tiny ski space, situated a shorter drive north of Woodstock and south of the White River, has three lifts and 24 trails. All through the warmer months, the mountain serves as a common mountain biking place. 

According to the statement, a new identify has previously been preferred.

“Though some may perhaps locate the transform difficult, we stand by our conviction that this evolution is warranted for an legendary treasure and, additional importantly, vital to go on its rich record of inclusion and accessibility,” the assertion ongoing. 

The title alter is not the to start with of its type. Final yr, the famed Lake Tahoe ski vacation resort previously regarded as Squaw Valley, which hosted the 1960 Winter season Olympics, changed its name to Palisades Tahoe. In a assertion launched in September, resort officers acknowledged that the previous title experienced been “derogatory and offensive.” 

The Woodstock Ski Runners, a nearby ski club that has been skiing Suicide 6 because it opened in the 1930s, has its clubhouse on the slope. Jason Merrill, the club’s board president, mentioned the new identify would not alter substantially.

“Regardless of the title, we’re associates in educating youngsters how to ski and developing excellent ski racers,” he mentioned. “We’re heading to assistance the mountain as we often have completed.”

Alison Krompf, deputy commissioner of the Vermont Department of Psychological Health, applauded the ski area’s decision, and the rationale at the rear of it. 

“Suicide has touched so lots of people in Vermont,” she stated. “If you speak to your buddies and loved ones, it truly is very rare for an individual to not know somebody, or at the very least be close with anyone who missing a beloved just one to suicide.”

A title transform like this just one is not intended to stifle discussions about suicide, but relatively to avert generating light-weight of suffering, Krompf explained.

“You should not be worried to speak about (suicide),” she claimed, noting the unsafe fantasy that talking about suicide tends to make it more probable. 

In the past two a long time, the suicide fee in Vermont has amplified far more than 37%, and Krompf mentioned that, nationwide, ski towns undergo disproportionately. She pointed to a 2016 National Geographic short article, which outlines the improved suicide charge in numerous ski vacation resort towns and the possible brings about, this kind of as prosperity disparity, a seasonal financial state and the transient character of nearby social everyday living. 

The South Pomfret ski area’s move could be a stage in a good path, Krompf said, and “I’m happy they thought about it.”

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Tags: Pomfret, ski business, snowboarding, Suicide Six, Woodstock Ski Runners

Ethan Weinstein

About Ethan

Ethan Weinstein is a standard assignment reporter concentrating on Windsor County and the bordering place. Previously, he worked as an assistant editor for the Mountain Occasions and wrote for the Vermont Common.