Our Story

Preserving, Repairing & Restoring Antique & Classic Wood Boats

Arriving in 1970 to begin our teaching careers and grow our family, my wife and I bought four acres and a dilapidated circa 1826 house in Addison, Vermont. Putting four sheep on the land offered the “perfect” solution for keeping it open. Well, four soon became 30, trying to eke an existence on way too little land.

The solution was obvious: Buy land and build our own place, which we did, and in October 1976, we moved into our brand new colonial saltbox sitting on 93 acres of land. We cleared the land, built a barn and figured we were all set.

The sheep had other ideas. Those thirty-odd sheep did what comes naturally, and before our eyes, the flock doubled and then doubled again.

In 1979 we built the 42′x80′ barn that now houses Snake Mountain Boatworks. By 1990, with our lives moving in other directions, the flock was sold and those barns stood empty until 2009, when what would become Snake Mountain Boatworks began rising out of the big barn’s dirt floor. The sheep, hay, and all else that farming means have been replaced by 5,000 square feet of superb restoration space.

The fellows who helped me turn the sheep barn into a state-of-the-art boat shop transformed themselves in the process and now comprise the crew’s nucleus. We have schooled ourselves in the ways and methods championed by Don Danenberg. The copy of “The Complete Wooden Runabout Restoration Guide” that we keep in the shop grows more dog-eared daily.

Like Danenberg Boatworks, we uphold the highest standards of craftsmanship and originality, which involves painstaking attention to every detail, using nothing but the highest quality tools and materials, never cutting a corner, and never being satisfied with good enough.

We are blessed with a growing network of equally high-quality professional service providers. Micky Dupuis and his crew at D&S Custom  Metal Restoration in Holyoke, MA work their magic and transform tired hardware into jewelry. Peter Markowski and his crew at Restoration and Performance Motorcars serve our engine restoration needs just as they have for the Porches, Ferraris and so many other examples of the world’s finest motorcars that they are famous for restoring since 1986.

Entrust your boat to the Snake Mountain Boatworks team in complete confidence. We will deliver at a level our competition cannot touch.

About Michael Claudon

Michael Claudon is a teacher and academic entrepreneur. Having a particular passion for the art of starting and growing new business concepts into successful enterprises, he taught applied economics and competitive strategies at Middlebury College from 1970 until his retirement on December 31, 2010. For over four decades, he created and grew programs at Middlebury College and in the Former Soviet Union that extend learning beyond the classroom and into to the real world of live problem solving and entrepreneurial endeavors.

In 1987, Claudon co-founded the Geonomics Institute, which he grew into an internationally respected, independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that helped accelerate economic and political transition, focusing on enterprise restructuring and business development in the Former Soviet Union.

In January 2000, Claudon started a multi-faceted Middlebury College initiative, DigitalBridges2.0™ which facilitated creating and growing programs that help people propel thought into action. Its anchor program, the Middlebury Solutions Group, was an undergraduate venture consultancy dedicated to helping Vermont’s
entrepreneurs grow ideas into viable enterprises. Between its launch in 2002 and through the end of 2010, MSG consulting teams completed over 62 venture-building engagements with Vermont-based start-ups, 82% of which took what these students delivered to raise funding and continue operating today.

In 2008, Claudon launched MiddCORE – Creativity Opportunity Risk and Entrepreneurship, an ultra-intensive four-week business and entrepreneurship preparatory program that runs during the Middlebury College Winter (January) Term. Visiting business and non-profit leaders architect demanding coursework and weekly case
competitions. Practical learning spans numerous functional roles and organizational theory, while fast-paced team-work and competitions train students in four primary areas: creativity, opportunity, risk and entrepreneurship (CORE).

In addition to his passion for teaching, Claudon has been drawn strongly to architecture and the development of industry during the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries.

Launching and growing Addison County Clock Works, which he ran from 1970 through the 1990s allowed him to interact with all sorts of people as he travelled the northeast buying, selling, restoring and repairing old clocks.

Retiring from teaching at Middlebury College has enabled Claudon to create his latest entrepreneurial endeavor, Snake Mountain Boatworks LLC. SMB preserves, restores and repairs antique and classic wooden powerboats in 5,000 square feet of shop that had previously served as the main barn for the commercial sheep operation
that he and Shirley, his wife of 42 years, ran from 1976-1990.

Restoring, preserving and repairing these majestic watercraft is so much like doing the same for clocks, albeit on a footprint that is hundreds of times larger. Blessed with his crew of able experts, Claudon is again feeding his passion for trading, for preserving old things, and for meeting and bringing enjoyment to wonderful people.

The author or editor of two-dozen books and over a dozen research articles, Claudon earned his BA (Phi Beta Kappa) in economics and zoology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1966, and his PhD in economics from The Johns Hopkins University in 1972.