Karl Kullberg sits a bulldozer visually surveying the resort around him as he has done for the past twenty-six years. While he talks, he points out all the qualities and features about the mountain; he knows every detail. Mt. Peter is a family-owned ski resort and when there is an opportunity to talk to long-time area owners, you feel nostalgia…almost a chapter of Americana. Much like talking to a rancher or farm owner who knows when every post was planted, when every stair was built.
Despite the season last year and the southerly location in New York’s Hudson Valley, Karl is pretty matter-of-fact and positive about the coming years for this resort:
“Mt Peter is a family mountain and I live here on the property. My wife’s parents live above the lodge. When you walk around the mountain every morning with your cup of coffee, you see what needs doing. In season, I’m here 24/7. When there are issues, I’m right here to take care of it.
We are a learn-to-ski mountain. We have very successful programs—250 kids in our race program alone. We have to make good snow. We have to have good grooming and the lifts need to be running well for it all to work [successfully] for our skiers.
We are 50 miles outside of NYC and have a unique ski history. Macy’s Department Store built the ski area and back then it was a couple of rope tows. But this was the place where the clothing suppliers would meet, look at winter fashions, smoke cigars and drink whiskey. Babe Ruth learned how to ski here. Camelback Resort investors eventually bought it from Macy’s and then Don and Gail Sampson bought it from Camelback. The Sampson’s purchased it with no money down, putting up their house as collateral. We celebrated our eightieth season last year.
I was raised here in New York and was a ski racer in my younger years and attended the ski academy at Pat’s Peak, when they had one, and, after that, Squaw Valley. Those were the days of long and skinny skis. When I moved back to New York, I began coaching at Mt Peter and eventually married Rebecca Sampson, the owner’s daughter. I ran the race department and after nine years became the mountain manager. I was literally drilling holes for a racecourse and would get radioed to help at a lift.
My wife Rebecca and daughter Brianna and son Kei are all skiers. Kei is a Junior GS National Champion.
I have worn my Mt Peter hat all over the world and everywhere people approach me because they have learned to ski here.”