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SAM Magazine—Warrensburg, N.Y., Dec. 5, 2023—Hickory Ski Center is getting a lifeline to fund payment for liability insurance that will allow the ski area to open its lifts for the first time since 2015. Hickory

Indy Pass and Entabeni Systems CEO Erik Mogensen and Unofficial Networks publisher Tim Konrad are providing financial assistance to pay a $38,000 insurance premium required for the state to certify Hickory's T-bar and two Poma lifts to operate this winter. The full payment is due Dec. 15, according to a blog post on Hickory’s website.

“We have been working with our Hickory skiing community to help overcome the financial obstacles that could prevent the opening of the lifts at Hickory,” said Hickory general manager Sue Catana, the daughter of Fran and Hans Winbauer, who founded the ski area in 1946 (Hans was a member of the 10th Mountain Division). “The emergence of Tim and Erik with their lifeline has put us in a position to operate this season with lift certification, and hopefully for many more to come.”

Hickory had been fundraising through sales of season passes. Catana told the Times Union that about $8,000 had been raised as of late November. The Hickory Legacy Foundation was seeking grant funding. 

"My family spends much of the winter in the Adirondacks, and I have been ski touring at Hickory since 2015,” said Konrad. “Over the years, I've been keeping close tabs on their struggle to reopen lifts, and when I learned how far they had come and how close they were to achieving their goal, I knew we had to do something. So, I called Erik at Indy Pass to discuss how we could offer our support.” 

Mogensen said he and Konrad “did a quick assessment and decided that Entabeni would step in on this one.”

“It is important to recognize the collaboration between Entabeni, Indy Pass, and Unofficial Networks,” he continued. “The more organizations we can get involved to stabilize these small, independent areas, the better our chances of scaling this movement.”

Hickory has been open to uphill travel since 2016, selling day and season passes for access, and operating the base lodge for visitors. The ski area has no snowmaking, so it’s reliant on natural snow to cover its 17 cut trails and 1,200 feet of vertical. Hickory is owned by 300 stockholders and run by a board of directors.

The ski area will join the Indy Pass for the 2023-24 season; current Hickory pass holders can purchase an Indy AddOn pass at a 30 percent discount. In addition to helping fund the insurance payment, the Indy Pass and Entabeni team will consult with Hickory management on how to streamline operations and become more sustainable.