Northview Ski Slope
Manchester, CT
1969-1979

History ~ Memories ~ Photos

Thanks to Betsy McDonough, we now know of this ski area. Betsy discovered this area while searching through maps and Terraserver. Here is an image of the area:

Here's the ski slope. The trails are off to the left. Notice how there are two main slopes. The lift line likely passed through the center of the area. Photo from Terraserver.

History

Jay Pagliuca, from Ski Blandford  has some great information about the history of Northview. 
"Northslope (about 200 vertical drop) was operated from about 1969-1974 by the town of Manchester. It was cut to replace the old town ski area (Mt. Nebo) when Rte 6 (Now I-384) was built and literally cut through the mountain.

Northslope was built on the property that used to be a small Nike Missile base. (Nike's were underground siloed small anti-aircraft missiles) scattered around the US in the 50's. This one was closed by 1960 along with its twin in Glastonbury. As a kid many of us used to explore the old abandoned silos before they were finally plowed over for "our protection" by the town. (killjoys...) Some of the old base buildings above ground were used as a teen center through the 70's.

Northslope had two trails each about 4-500 feet long. The one on the left in the picture was the easy one, the one on the right, harder and steeper. There were two rope tows going up either side of the tree line in the center driven by electric motors in a cinderblock building at the top.

This ski area was open nights and weekends. It did not have snowmaking."

D. Burke, a former Manchester Recreation Department employee contacted NELSAP and provided the following information regarding Northview Slope.

"I read the article in the Hartford Courant on 2/19/02 and visited your website.  I grew up near the Northview ski slope and skied there every time it was opened.  When I turned 16 years old, I worked for the Manchester Recreation Dept which ran the slope.  I still have memorabilia from the slope.  The "M" patch which the Town issued to "town residents" for proof of residency.  These patches had to be worn on your jacket in order to use the rope tows.  There were 3 rope tows, one for each side of the trails, and one behind the tow building to get to the very top of the mountain - I have pictures displaying this.

The slope was open-weather permitting-Monday thru Friday 6;30pm to 9;30pm (all four trails had lights)and Sat and Sun 10;00am to 5:00 pm.  There was always at least one and normally two National Ski Patrol Members on the slopes when open.  No one could ski unless there was at least one Ski Patrol member there.  During February Vacation each year the Town Rec staff would put on the "Winter Olympics" .  There would be ski races, slalom around cones, ski jumps aerials (small) and other winter activities. Ribbons and prizes were awarded, of course everyone would win something, it was a great time!

The slope was open from 1969-1979, I know, I skied there right up until my senior year in high school-1979.  The year 1978 was the last good year (Blizzard of '1978).  During Feb. it was open almost everyday and during school vacation week it was open Mon-Fri 10:00am to 9:30pm ,Sat and Sun 10:00am to 5:00pm.  In 1979 there was too much vandalism during the summer and winter.  Lights (up year round) were being smashed, Four-wheel drive trucks were drive up and down the slopes, causing erosion in the summer, killing the grass and in the winter they would drive up and down in the snow destroying what ever base there was.  The rope tow was being cut in the winter,  someone even tried to burn down the rope tow building (cinder-block) by throwing a Molotov Cocktail in the slots where rope would enter and exit.  The last straw for the town was when a 4x4 drove directly into one of the walls of the rope tow building, knocking more than half the wall down!  At this time the "Town" decided to cut their losses and abandon the slope."

Memories:

Chip Miller: Learned to ski there.  Grew up on Bruce Road, within walking distance of the place.  I remember the construction of the slope.  Carved out of dense woodland.  An old fire trail once passed through the base of the slope and had an access point at the south end of Bruce Road.  The trail led through to what was Garden Grove Catering at the West side of the slopes.

Great fun there learning to ski.  Family and friends would huddle around Coleman Lanterns trying to stay warm, or at the barrel at the base of the slope.  Toward the end, a warming hut was made from an old Cinder Block building at the top within the perimeter of the old Nike Tracking Base.

At one time Manchester Comm. College proposed building their campus on adjoining property.  Neighbors fought this and kept them away.  Too bad as it might have preserved and saved the ski area.

Poor snow years, vandals, off road vehicles, encroaching development, and lack of attention by the town Rec. Dept. did it in.

I owe the start of my life long love of skiing to the place.

 

Photos

Another NELSAP reader, David Rintoul, also found the area, and took some pictures during the fall of 2000:

The rope return on the rope tow.

Looking down the slope from the top.
Looking up the main slope from the bottom.

If you have information regarding Northview Ski Slope you'd like to share with NELSAP, please let us know!

Last updated November 18, 2010

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