>> BRENNAN STORR
For years, Revelstoke has enjoyed a reputation as a premiere ski destination. But, those in the know (paranormally-speaking) find it famous for different reasons. I’d like to let readers in on a world of high strangeness unknown even to many longtime residents. Over the last 80-or-so years, there have been reports of hauntings, lights in the sky, missing time and even sightings of the hairy hominid known as Sasquatch around Revelstoke. While many — this author included — believe Revelstoke to be unique in the amount and variety of paranormal activity reported, there are other ski towns across North America give it a good run for its money. If you’re into skiing and the paranormal, then Revelstoke and these other haunted ski towns are for you.
Crested Butte, Colorado
Situated in the East River Valley of Gunnison County, Colorado, the former mining town of Crested Butte modestly refers to itself as “The Last Great Ski Town in America.” Owing to accidents such as the 1884 Jokerville mine explosion and the deadly avalanche of 1885, many believe it’s one of the great haunted ones, too. The activity starts on the road to the mountain, where some have seen a spectral hitchhiker waiting. Those brave – or dumb – enough to pick him up report he will ask for a ride to Gothic, a once-booming silver town, that is now completely uninhabited. Needless to say, the rider never stays long enough to reach his destination. In the town proper, guests of the Forest Queen Hotel have experienced all manner of strange phenomena, from waking up in the morning to find their clothes laid out for them, to having their cellphones knocked from their hands and being restrained when bending to retrieve them. Before it served as a party spot for thirsty winter tourists, the Dogwood Cocktail Cabin was home to many of the miners who originally brought life to Crested Butte. It’s said some of them have declined to let that life go. Take a picture in the Dogwood and there’s a chance that no matter how clean your lens is, the picture will come out smudged or an unexpected guest in the frame will be watching your friends enjoy their drink.
Park City, Utah
Park City is another former mining town, but looking out over the snow covered expanse of its 7,300 ski-able acres – the second-largest in the US – you’d never know the mountain beneath was threaded with abandoned silver mines. In fact, some 1,610 kilometers of mine tunnels remain, all left over the former Ontario Mine, once considered the greatest silver mine in the world. It is there the hauntings of Park City begin. As far back as the late 19th century miners would tell stories of an evil presence they felt dogging them beneath the earth, and of the Tommy-knockers – legendary creatures said to be two feet tall – who would try to confuse miners by knocking on walls and ladders as they fled emergencies. The mines may be closed now, but there are spirits to be found all over Park City. The restaurant Flanagan’s on Main started to bleed employees because things were, according to its owner, “getting too weird.” Not everyone can handle working somewhere they hear phantom footsteps, or see, from the corner of their eye, something rush past them. Footsteps are heard over at the Egyptian Theater as well, and employees also claim that when no one else is around, doors will fly open and the sound of organ music will drift out over the empty seats.
Ski Rio, New Mexico
While technically not a town (or even a ski resort anymore) Ski Rio sits 10 miles south of ghost town Amalia, NM. It is most notable for its abandonment in 2000. According to the caretaker, who ran a restaurant at Ski Rio in the late 90s and lived on the property for three years following its abandonment, when the owners walked away, they left everything behind, including beds made up for guests and entire kitchens full of appliances and food. For more than ten years the resort looked as though all its residents had simply vanished one day, leaving behind the remnants of their unfinished vacation. With no one around for miles, the caretaker would navigate the icy wilderness on his Snowcat, and though he never saw the unusual lights in the sky reported by those who pass through Amalia, on some frigid nights there was music, and to this day he doesn’t know where it was coming from.