Three employees are now at the center working full time on renovations, he said.
Van Pelt said he grew up in Saratoga Springs, and his friends, who are expert skiiers and enjoy ski vacations in Utah, talk with fondness about Hickory and the challenging experience it offers.
The Website Skiernet.com also has a fondness for Hickory Hill, calling it a gem of an attraction for skiing purists, although it has been closed to the public for several years.
Skiernet has rated it among New York State's "Top Ten" ski centers. Hickory Hill's summit is 1,900 feet, and its longest run is 10,560 feet.
Skiernet notes that at Hickory Hill, there are virtually no crowds, it's low cost, and there's "no posturing."
"With a mix of narrow trails, open areas and glades, Hickory is skiing in the 1950s," the Website says.
Skiernet advises skiers, if there's a good snowfall, to bypass the popular Whiteface or Gore resorts and head for Hickory Hill.
"This is a ski area every purist should visit as often as possible," the Website says. "Trail approaches to vistas of Schroon River and the distant Hoffman and Pharaoh wilderness areas make for some truly spectacular skiing."
And spectacular skiing is what prompted Van Pelt to work with the Hickory board of directors to redevelop the ski center, which is likely to have many of the upgrades ready by this coming winter, he said.
Skiiers are welcome to submit their suggestions for the center's redevelopment, plus comments and memories to Van Pelt via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, he said.
"Generations and generations of skiiers have enjoyed Hickory's challenging slopes and its atmosphere," he said. "Hickory has a strong family connection, and if we can rebuild that, it will continue to be a unique attraction."