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Vermont ski resort changes its ‘insensitive’ name

(CNN) — A Vermont ski resort originally known as Suicide Six has changed its name to Saskadena Six, according to the resort.

The ski area, in the town of South Pomfret, announced plans last month to change its “insensitive” name.

“Our resort team embraces the increasing awareness surrounding mental health and shares the growing concerns about the insensitive nature of the historical name,” the resort said in a post on its website. “The feelings that the word ‘suicide’ evokes can have a significant impact on many in our community.”

The new name, Saskadena Six Ski Resort, was chosen to honor the indigenous Western Abenaki people, according to the resort. “Saskadena” is a word from the Abenaki language that means “standing mountain.”

“Much time, care, and thought has been invested in the process to choose a name more representative of our values, one that celebrates its 86-year history, honors the Abenaki tradition, and will welcome future generations,” said Courtney Lowe in a statement. Lowe is president of the Woodstock Inn & Resort, which owns and operates Saskadena Six Ski Resort.

The resort’s statement about the rationale for the change concluded: “This community treasure deserves a name that speaks to its values and experiences, not one associated with pain and heartbreak.”

It is credited with being one of the oldest major ski areas in the United States. U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame honoree Wallace “Bunny” Bertram installed a primitive rope tow system on the mountain there in the 1930s, an innovation cited as one of the first ski lifts.

The “six” in the name comes from the hill’s designation as No. 6 on a map Bertram consulted when picking the site for the resort.  He joked that skiing the hill would be suicide, according to historical information on the resort’s website, and the name stuck.  Bertram died in 1981, at age 73.

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