By March 1953, Ben realized the relationship of drive time to the ski experience. Entertaining the idea of the club having their own place to ski, he began to look at locations in New Jersey. First, he visited the state's tallest summit, High Point. He talked his ideas with park rangers and determined the mountain offers terrain unsuitable for any type of challenge.

 Next, he visited Vernon Mountain and saw it as workable. Its steep sections could produce a challenge over the 1,000 foot vertical drop it offered. He envisioned the mountain's potential but thought twice about its northwestern exposure.




In search of a bigger and better chalkboard, Ben inspired group outings at two New York peaks with northeastern exposures.

The last weekend in March, they climbed to the summit of Blackhead Mountain. The group was in awe of the possibilities witnessed. This mountain showed great promise offering a vertical drop of over 3,000 feet.


The second weekend in April, the club  ascended to the summit of Hunter Mountain. Nearing the upper stretches of the climb, Ben was impressed with the quality of the snow. His mind wandered to thoughts of skiing this mountains' fire trails, but they're lookin' a little narrow. At the top, the group found the forest warden's tower and ranger cabin in need of repair.

On the way home, Ben believed Hunter was "the place" and contemplated how to make it a reality.


Ben decided to write the New York State Department of Conservation. He expressed the Outing Club's desire to make the numerous repairs necessary to the structures. Also in this letter, he offered to improve the existing fire trails by increasing their width. Thus, creating better accessibility for state vehicles. The Department responded thanking the group for their interest, but quoted the rules associated with the FOREVER WILD legislation. Thus, ended the dream of skiing this portion of Hunter Mountain.

During the same time period, Ben and school friend, Phillip Griggs, with similar interests, began to visit the sub-basement of Princeton's Library.