Frank Snyder - Frank Snyder, Stratton Mountain founder

Passing Date

Frank Snyder, 83, founder of Stratton Mountain

Skier, sailor was president of NSAA and commodore of the NY Yacht Club.

Frank Snyder, the lawyer and chemical company executive who played a key role in founding Stratton Mountain, died June 26, 2006, a few days short of his 84th birthday. He suffered a heart attack at his home on Martha’s Vineyard.

Frank Vreeland Snyder was born in Great Neck, N.Y. He graduated from Harvard in 1943, where he was undefeated in crew, then served on U.S. Navy submarines in the Pacific. After the war he attended the University of Virginia Law School, and practiced law in New York until 1953, when he joined his father’s firm, Moore & Munger, a manufacturer of petrochemical products. In 1952 he married Jessie Pennoyer.

Snyder was a dedicated skier, and throughout the ‘50s drove frequently to Stowe. He had already noted that Stratton Mountain was a likely site for a ski hill in Southern Vermont when, in 1959, he met Robert “Rainbow” Wright, a 10th Mountain Division veteran who had surveyed the mountain for ski trails. Snyder put up $10,000 as seed money for a resort at Stratton, on condition that Wright find another 20 investors. And he paid Wright to create a prospectus.

In the fall of 1959, the golfer Tink Smith joined the Stratton planning group. They met with Vermont legislators and, in December, launched Stratton Corp. For the next few years, Snyder and Smith alternated as president chairman. Work on the access road began in the summer of 1960. Lifts were installed in the fall of 1961, and bullwheels turned in time for a Christmas storm.

Snyder served as chairman of Stratton, and of Moore & Munger, until his retirement in 1983, and was also president of the National Ski Areas Association for two years.

He had a parallel career as a sailor. He began sailing at age seven, and beginning in 1946, competed as crew or skipper in 25 Bermuda Races. Snyder was elected Commodore of the New York Yacht Club in 1988, and raised the funds to acquire the Newport, RI clubhouse. In 1991, with his wife, he sailed through the Panama Canal and crossed the Pacific to New Zealand, in the 54-foot Chasseur, and then retraced the Columbus voyages through the Bahamas. He served as chairman of the board of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

He is survived by his wife; a brother, Peter; four children, Michael, Jonathan, Jane and Suzanne; and six grandchildren.

Compiled from a variety of sources by Seth Masia. Photo from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.