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NELSAP first learned of this small, university owned ski area from "mstrain". Several other readers have contacted us with even more info.
|Mark Vining tells
us about the history of the area: The ski area on campus at the University of Connecticut was operated as
part of the University's athletic department. I am able to provide you with this
information because my father was Ski Patrol Director during the area's operation. I grew up skiing there and became a member of the National
Ski Patrol (as a UConn student in 1977) at that area.
I don't know that the area ever had an official name, but some locals referred to it as "Husky Hill". As correctly depicted by the topographical map on your website, the area was off of Horsebarn Hill Road. You drove on an access road between a polo arena and a sheep barn down a small hill where the the road opened up into a large parking area. Skiers skied down hill from the top and took one of two rope tows back up. There were two slopes (one beginner and one main expert) each serviced by it's own rope tow. There were also three trails through the woods to the bottom of the main slope.
There was no snowmaking, but there were lights for night skiing. Cost for any member of the general public was $1.00 per session. UConn students showed their ID and skied for free. A "season pass" cost $5.00. Rentals were available: poles-.50; boots-1.00; skiis-1.50 per session.
A topographic map of the ski area (found by Betsy McDonough on Terraserver). The vertical is no more than 150 feet. Also, the ski area was an upside down one, where you would start at the top and ski down.
||The area had a snowcat vehicle as well as a 15ft. wide snow packer. The area operated from somewhere in the mid 60's through the 1977-1978 ski season (only 8 days that season). The area closed due to lack of natural snow as well as financial straits in other areas of the athletic department.|
The slope was way down behind the cow
barns, on the very edge of the
Erik Fey: Looking over the CT lost ski areas, something triggered a memory and in popped "Horse Barn Hill" at the University of CT. On a trip up to see my sister at college when I was 12, my mom brought me over to the University ski hill on the back side of, what I believe was called, "Horse Barn Hill" which was basically on the Agriculture College grounds. That would have been in 1977. The ski area, as my memory recalls, had one, possibly two rope tows with a vertical of perhaps 100 feet. The University could give you more info on its details. I do recall how hard it was holding on to that slippery hemp rope, and I believe I burned a nice hole in some leather mittens that day.
I grew up in CT and went to school at UCONN in the early 90's. Although the UCONN slope was no longer active it was a hot spot for
sledding and mountain bike riding for the residents of Towers and the AG. dorms.
I have fond memories of ridding my bike on and around the ski slope in the muddy spring season. It is really out of the way from campus and as
those who previously wrote you would never know it was there unless you knew it was there. Now it takes some effort to get to. The road on the map is now really a trail and it is about a 3 minute walk from the paved road. Great Mountain biking spot!
Dave Urban: I went to UConn from 71-75. Husky Hill, as we called it, was open a total of about 10 days during my school career. It was free for students. Not bad for a few quick runs. In my engineering class, I remember one of my classmates did an economic analysis of a snowmaking system for the slope. I guess it didn't look too promising!
Houle gave us a link to a UCONN history page showing two great
historical shots of the area. For
the original page, click here.
Here's the description of this shot:
On an October day in 1966 President Homer Babbidge (center) visited the site of the planned ski slope. Showing Babbidge the site at left is Lloyd Duff, director of recreation. With them at right is Lee Greif, then-president of the Associated Student Government ('67 B.A. and '71 J.D.).
A University ski slope, now in disuse, was opened in the 1960s behind the sheep barn east of Horsebarn Hill. There were two top tows, one for beginners and another for experienced skiers. One of the tows is seen here at the far right in this photograph, which was taken on opening day, February 7, 1967.
Houle took these three pictures of the area in March, 2003.
Here's her description of each:
This is one of many rope tow towers that are located deep in the woods.
||The UConn ski area opened in February 1967. The hollowed-out warming hut is seen here now falling apart.|
There were two rope tows, one for beginners and another for experienced skiers. This is the view looking downhill from the advanced slope.
Has anybody else skied this area?
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