Glastonbury, CT

?-At least 1971

J.B. Williams Memorial Park had a small ski area that operated probably from the 1960's to at least the early 1970's. There was just one rope tow run by an old Willie's Jeep. The jeep would be parked at the bottom of the ski area, and the rope would be run off the rear wheel. There was one main slope along with a few woods trails. The ski area was upside down, with parking at the top. Dave Motycka and other Jaycees helped run the area.

(Right - Rick Tinson sent us this and the following photo taken in the winter of 70-71. In this shot, you can just barely see the rope tow behind the fence, and a skier at the far left riding it).

Like many small rope tow areas in Connecticut, this likely closed at some point in the 70's due to higher energy costs, insurance rates, and lack of snow.

(Left - skiers at the top of the main slope. Snow looks good!)

Thanks to the following  NELSAP readers for alerting us to this former ski area in Glastonbury, CT!

Steven Spear: I would like to bring to your attention the possibility of another lost ski area in the Glastonbury, CT area.   My grandparents lived in East Glastonbury for years, abutting JB Williams Park, off of Route 2/Neipsic Road, where the town currently has recreational facilities and offers pond skating. Years ago (25+), I vaguely recall there being a rope tow going up the left hand side of a slope in the park, with the locals skiing and sledding, weather permitting. I also vaguely recall my grandfather saying that the tow was powered by a local farmer's tractor (or possibly a local farmer donated the engine for it).

Bob Mercier reports that as of December 2000, the slope is becoming overgrown and the ski tow towers w/tire rims are still standing.

Glenn Daukas: I just came across your site today.  It's great.  I grew up in Glastonbury and used to ski at J.B. Williams.  The lift was actually run by an old Willie's Jeep.  They would park the jeep at the bottom and run the rope tow off the rear wheel with just a rim on it.  It really goes to show that we used to get more snow 20 - 30 years ago.  There was the main slope that you have a nice picture of but there were lots of little trails through the woods that we, as kids, used to thread our way through, and as always, we also made huge jumps.

The Terraserver image of the lost area. Apparently it was an upside-down ski area. This image has been reversed to show a perspective from the base up. 
Picture found by Steven Spear.

Tom Meotti: I used to ski there as a kid. Way back in the early 70's. $.50 a day or 2.50 a year for a season pass. Wednesdays were great where we would get out school early and get to ski for about three hours. High school kids used to act as the ski patrol. It's too bad it's not in operation today.

Chris Lundquist found this area and took some great pictures. Here's his info:

Chris displaying the "Prepare to Unload" sign he found near the tow.

J.B. Williams Park was very easy to find, right off Rte 2. There was a map in the park that told you where the slope was. The liftline was in good shape. All the rope tow towers had rims on it. The slope was still recognizable but overgrown. At the top I found a sign by the tower. It is in good shape.
On top there was a cement platform probably where the engine once was. There was no trace of the trope or motor. What puzzles me is that this might have been an upside down area but there was no real place to park or enter on top or bottom. On top of the hill there is a huge house whose yard is near the tow line.

Looking up the fairly wide towline.

A rope tow tower now deep in the woods.
Likely a counterweight on the rope tow.


J. McDonald: I grew up skiing at JB Williams. Question raised by Chris Lundquist regarding where parking was. Parking was at top, the houses were not there at the time.  

K. Fermeglia: I  grew up in Gbury, and skied at JB.  My most vivid memory is of going up the rope tow, wearing a yellow jacket, and the outside liner became so twisted around the rope that when I went to let go...nothing happened.  There was a small rope stretched across at ankle level at the top, in the case of someone not letting go (or being UNABLE to!).  It didn't work either, and I was heading into the huge (red?) barn that had some sort of barn window where the rope went.  After much yelling from me, and someone who must have been a ski guard, someone was able to stop the machine.  It was terrifying, and although it has been 35+ years, it still makes for a great story!  This was well before lawsuits became popular.  It never occurred to us to sue anyone, we were just grateful I wasn't shredded in the barn.  (I pictured some huge gnashing machine pulling the rope, not sure what was in the barn). I also had a lifelong fear of rope tows after that, and always held the rope tow well away from my jacket! 

D. Downie: I grew up in Glastonbury, and my Dad, Dave Motycka, was one of the people (local "Jayces") that set up the ski tow at JB Williams Park. We spent lots of time there, parking at the top, skiing down, then taking the rope tow back up. It was a jeep they used to run the tow, in a little shed. I learned to ski there, we all took lessons at the park. I have great memories of skiing down the left side of slope through the pine trees, my brother heading straight down the hill and my sister stuck in a pine tree yelling "I hate make me do this skiing stuff!". More than once, I remember my mittens sticking to the rope of the ski tow, twisting round and round after I slipped out of them and fell off to the side. You could always count on meeting friends on the hill, lots of local families would ski there. Too bad there is nothing like it today!

Does anybody else have any more information?

Last updated: May 20, 2007

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