Featherland Park
Sudbury, MA
1970's
Non-Lift Served

History ~ Memories

History

Thanks to Scott Melick, we first heard about this lost area in Sudbury. It was planned to have a rope tow, but never had one installed.

Bill Bitter has more to share:

I moved to Sudbury in the summer of 1969. My friends and I rode mini-bikes from our homes in a nearby subdivision along old horse trails in the woods that emerged at the backside of the area thatís known today as Featherland Park.  So-named for a sprawling poultry farm (of the same name) that existed on that site and operated from the early 50ís to the late 60ís.

The trailhead was in an area near the town recreation department garages along the far backside of the property. The southwest-facing ski slope was on the right side and about ľ mile down the trail. The ski area comprised of a single, straight wide slope perhaps 75í wide and a curved trail of about half that width to the left of the main slope forming a backwards capital letter D.

The hillside slope (with a vertical drop of about 150í) did not exist at all until the summer of 1971. I personally witnessed the mature trees being clear-cut and would take a break from riding just to watch the loggers haul away the timber and rip out stumps during the several weeks it took to do the job. 

For nearly a decade we rode past that hill on a daily basis during the summer and on weekends during the school year. When the winter came we put the bikes away and fired-up our snowmobiles. I can tell you with complete certainty that from 1969 to 1978 no manner of mechanical lift ever installed on that hill. If you wanted to ski it, it was strictly walk up and ski down.

Unfortunately the slope was never actually used for its intended purpose and was just left to slowly revert to its natural state as the photos that others have submitted clearly show. Time has faded my memory of what actually happened, but my mother worked in the Sudbury tax assessorís office for many years and she believes that it was partly a lack of financial funding combined with liability/insurance problems that ultimately sank the project before it could be completed. Perhaps someone else does recall and will elaborateÖ

Being an avid skier at the time (and having frequented many of the NE areas that are now defunct) I was disappointed that nothing ever came of the little ski area that could have been, but it sure made a fantastic snow tubing and tobogganing hill.

 

Scott Melick submitted this report: There used to be a ski slope in Sudbury, MA off of Concord Road. The access to the slope was in a town operated recreation field called Featherland. It was about 1/8 of a mile south of the Lincoln Sudbury entrance. (the entrance to the base of the slope is next to town rec. building). 

A topo map of the hill, notice that the slopes are clear on it.

 It was not a big area. It had two maybe three "trails" one large one down the center where the tow was. There was one slope that ran to the left (looking from above, there might have been two I am not too sure).

As you can see form the aerial photo's (1995 USGS) that their is still some of the lift line that was clear and you can just barely make out the perimeter trail (to the left).

I do know that the hill was in a "revival" state in the late '70's early '80's. My brother, Roger had approached the town of Sudbury about clearing the land and adding a new lift. At this time the slope was used by a few high school kids who walked it. The lift was abandoned and the trail was starting to grow back in during this time. My brother had plans (I will see if I can find them) to clear the main trail and two off to the right. I think he had the O.K. in from the town, but I think he got hung up with the lift and the base "hut". A local firm that was going to donate these dragged their feet for several years and interest about the project faded. 

Scott took photos of the area with his family in November, 2003. They did not find anything ski related at the mountain in terms of old lifts, etc. Here's Looking up at the area from the base - very grown in!

A small jump, perhaps used by sledders in the winter.
Very dense growth surrounds the trails.

The edge of the trail.  In the picture the trail is on the left and breaks to the right (basically where all the trees are) I guess that is what the old open cut can do when that sun get in there.
Scott found an interesting survival hut 1/2 up the hill.

Memories

Judy (Lafler) Converse: Here's a story for you about Featherland. I lived in Sudbury through the 1970s, and finished high school there in 1978. The blizzard of '78 hit in my senior year. 

The day it started, we went to school as usual, but early dismissal was ordered. No one had a clue what we were in for. I missed my bus, but caught a different one with my best friend to her house. I ended up stuck there for four days - nothing moved, no cars, no plows, nothing. Eventually, I decided to walk home, way across town. It was beautiful. Everyone was out walking, but NO cars, NO plows. Like the olden days or something. My dad also got stuck at work in Providence for a week Ė he was responsible for hundreds of employees, it was crazy.

My friend and I had a ball. We trekked all over the woods and came upon what I now know, thanks to your site, was Featherland. We thought we'd hit the jackpot. We sledded til we were exhausted. Neither of us had any idea what this cleared slope was doing in the middle of the woods. At the time I donít recall signs of a rope tow or lift, other than poles still standing. It was not in use as a ski area then, for sure. It was abandoned, and though my friend was born and raised in Sudbury and lived pretty close to it, she didnít know about it either. It was a long walk into it from the road, in the blizzard. We went back a bunch of times to sled more and to prowl around in spring/summer with friends. Lots of fun.

Mike Wyatt: Our boy scout troop met at St. Elizabeth's church across the street from Featherland Park and we actually went skiing there a few times in the mid 70s. This was strictly hike up, ski down (and build a couple of jumps to keep up the interest). In fact, we ran a few people through there one time to get their skiing merit badge.

If you have more information on this area just let us know.

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