Bob Johnson Indoor Ski School

Newton Corner

1964-At least 1977

This area is a bit of a stretch, and was certainly far from being a "traditional" ski area. The indoor ski area operated in the 1960's and 1970's in a converted movie theater - and featured a carpeted slope with plastic "rice" used as snow! We have several readers contact us with more information - but would love to find a picture of this interesting area!

NELSAP reader A. Madden first told us of this area:
"We lived in Newton, Mass. for many years and did you know about the BOB JOHNSON INDOOR SKI SCHOOL? It was located right in Newton Corner and we went there many times."

George also remembers the Bob Johnson Indoor slope:
"I can confirm that it was at 251 Washington Street, a location which appears to have been devoured by the Mass Pike. The original Ala-Bye Ski Club held its meetings there in 1952-53 and maybe beyond that. The archives at the Newton Public Library had no information on it."

B. Livingston used to work at Bob Johnson's: 
By way of background I am currently the assistant director at the Blue Hills Ski School and have been on the ski school for 41 years. I have been a level 111 PSIA certified instructor for 37 years.

I also taught and served as the director of the Bob Johnson's Indoor School from 1965 to 1977. The school, originally in Newton Corner from around 1949, moved to 45 Hollis St. Theater, Framingham, MA in 1964. We taught both downhill and cross country in 3 hour lessons both afternoon and nights from October through March. The building was a converted movie theater and the slope consisted of fiber less type of carpet with plastic "rice" spread around the carpet. "Tuition" as it was called was $17.50 including rental of wood skis without steel edges.

Bob Johnson was a former Swedish cross country champion and once won a new Chrysler car in a cross country ski race in the 1930's. Bob Johnson was well into his 70s when the school closed down in the late 70s.

John Burt: I remember skiing at the Newton indoor location in 1964 when I was 8 years old. You would come down the carpeted slope and at the end was a flat area about 10 feet in width. At the end of the run were iron radiators that were about 3 1/2 feet height - the tall rusty ones. On the other side of the radiators were ten foot factory windows that would allow light into the room. On the other side of the windows, two stories down, was the sidewalk and street. You learned real quick how to stop in a short area at Bob's slope. I can not recall how many times I sidestepped that slope. It was the only way you got to the top. One time I came down the slope, did a perfect 360 spin on the rice covered carpet and Bob told me that was one way to ski, but he would not recommend it. 

Does anybody else have any more information about this unique area?

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