Thanks to a MA Tramway Report from Kevin Thomas, NELSAP first about this area. Although we knew little about it at first, we now have much more info on this ski area.
Not only is there are lost ski area at Pioneer Valley Academy (PVA), PVA itself is lost! The former boarding school is now home to the Massachusetts State Police Academy.
Various alumni of PVA have written us their memories of their school and ski area:
Mike Douglas: The Pioneer Valley Academy (PVA) "ski hill" existed, but was never any sort of public or commercial venture. It was a small hill near a pond that the students ice skated on during the winter with maybe. The hill had maybe 100 feet of vertical drop. No snow grooming - we packed the hill ourselves with our skis. Lift service was available only if you could coax a faculty member to get the old tractor that ran the rope tow running. However, on the few occasions that the tractor rope tow was running, it was the fastest rope tow I'd ever experienced! You had to get a good skating start at the bottom of the hill to prevent severe "glove burn!"
Dennis F: "Yup, went to school there - skied there - believe it was set up in the winter of 69-70, but it may not have begun until 70-71 - think it was in operation a few years longer - it was set up by our farm manager, Bill Proctor, and had a rope tow that was operated off a tractor, as I recall. "
Anonymous: "There was a ski areas there when I attended "77" but it was the academy only. Had a small pull rope lift and short down hill run. Never skied on it but sleds and such.."
went there to school 1967. I believe the place was built 1960's. Some years ago
(70's?80's?) it was abandoned as un-profitable and was going to be sold as a
place for a state prison. (never followed up on that)
Ski Area? I have no idea what was there prior to building the school. It was sort of up on the top of the world there in New Braintree, MA. and I guess anybody could ski if they wanted to but don't remember any commercial operation."
E. Dow: "I
stumbled across your site this evening. I am a graduate of Pioneer Valley Academy and was at the school in the mid-'70s (it opened in 1965,closed in the early '80s) when the ski area and tow were in
operation. I don't ski, so I haven't used the facility, just have seen it used. I
don't remember if they used a tractor PTO to power the tow or whether there was a stationary
powerplant. The PVA Alumni Association has a website located at
school, operated by the Seventh-day Adventist church, was sold to the state. It's now a training facility for the
state police. "
Does anyone else remember skiing here?
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