Kentucky’s First Ski Resort

Lakewood Village, near Ashland, Kentucky, was established in 1979 as the state’s first ski resort.

The mid-20th century witnessed a significant climatic phenomenon, often referred to as the “Ice Age” from the 1940s to the 1970s, characterized by global cooling and extreme weather events. This period saw climatology, a then-emerging field, at the forefront, with several experts predicting an imminent new ice age. This theory garnered widespread attention, influencing both public and scientific discourse.

As the era progressed, concerns grew around the expanding pack ice in the North Atlantic and accumulating snow in the Canadian Arctic, signaling potential severe consequences of the ongoing cooling. However, in a dramatic shift by the late 1970s, the focus turned from global cooling to the emerging issue of global warming, as rising temperatures began to alter the climate narrative.

During this “Ice Age,” interest in winter sports surged, fueling the growth of the ski industry. The prolonged snow season and consistent snow cover provided ideal conditions for ski resort development, with advancements in snow-making technology and ski equipment making the sport more accessible.

In response to this increased demand, Lakewood Village, near Ashland, Kentucky, was established in 1979 as the state’s first ski resort. It featured three north-facing slopes, each with a 340-foot elevation gain, catering to skiers of all skill levels, and was equipped with modern amenities including a rope tow and a T-bar tow. Initially a private resort, it opened to the public by 1980 and expanded to include 56 housing units. Despite its early success, Lakewood Village’s operation was short-lived, closing its slopes in 1982, a testament to the transient nature of the ski resort boom influenced by changing climate patterns and evolving consumer preferences.

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