History Listings by the Year Personal Memories Pictures
Hill in Waltham, MA was likely founded by the Town of Waltham at some
point in the later 1940's, certainly before 1949. The area originally
had a 700' rope tow, with a wide slope. By the 1960's, it had one quite steep front slope, a
beginner area, and one side trail. The steep slope was then served by a
vertical t-bar installed sometime in the 1960's (though guidebooks
listed it as 88'), while the beginner area was a sidestep up and ski down
deal. Snowmaking was basic but necessary at this area, as annual
snowfalls are only near 40-50".
At some point in the late 1970's or early 1980's, a second T-bar with a vertical of 90' or so was installed above the first, and several interesting trails were added. This second T-bar was much flatter than the lower one and served novice trails on top of the hill. This was definitely an odd setup, with the novice area on top, and a steep expert slope below. This gave the area about a 240' drop, though guidebooks still listed it as only 88'.
Here's a view of the area today, showing the various features. It is a bit blurry but that's due to Terraserver. To see an overhead picture, click here.
||The area was
popular for Boston surbanbites learning to ski and for local skiers
looking to get a few runs in at night. Rates were cheaper and less than
other nearby smaller areas like Nashoba. The ski area was a sort of
"oasis" in the metropolitan area. Views of another lost area, Catrock
in Weston, can be seen from the top.
The area improved services and widened some slopes in 1987, and added a beginner rope tow for the tiny learners area. Unfortunately, the area closed at the end of the season.
In 1989-1990, the area briefly reopened under Bill Krikorian, who had once tried to reopen Watatic. Poor management of the area and financial issues closed the area for good in 1990. The manager then tried to run Tenney Mountain as Lookout in the early 1990's. This also failed, and Lookout (Tenney) closed for a time.
The good thing about Prospect is its totally accessible to hike up since its on town land. Betsy McDonough and I hiked it in 2000, all trails are fairly clear. Check it out, about 1/2 mile east off the Totten Pond exit on 128 in Waltham.
Listings by the Year
|1949||700' tow||open slopes for all classes||unknown||Located off Rte 128 1 mile north of City Hall.||1949|
|1973||1 T-bar lift, 1000/hr||3 trails, north exposure||$3 adult, $2 junior weekday;$5 adult, $4 junior weekend||Vertical drop 88', operates daily, snowmaking, night skiing, snack bar, warming huts, 150 car parking lot, 12 certified instructors teach American technique. Located 2 miles west of Waltham on Rte 20||Ski Guide to the Northeast|
|1977||1 T-bar||2 expert trails, beginner slope||"low"||Operates daily, including nights, instruction, base lodge, snowmaking||Skiing USA|
|1982||2 T-bars||beginner and intermediate||not listed||Operates weekends and nights, Tue-Sun, operates Mid-Dec to Mid-Mar||Billy Kidd's Ski Guide|
|1985-1986||2 T-bars||5 advanced trails, 2 intermediate slopes, 1 beginner's slope||$7.50 adult weekends, $5 halfday, $4.50 night;$6 child weekend, $3 halfday, $3 night||Ski school, group packages, private and semi-private lessons by appointment, parking for 150 cars||White Book of Ski Areas|
|1987||1 rope tow, 2 T-bars||Same as above||$8 adult halfday and nights, $10 weekends; $7 junior halfday, $6 night, $8 weekend||Vertical drop: 90 feet, Season: Mid Dec-Mid Mar, halfday starts at 1pm, open evenings and weekends (except Mon night), 40 instructors, day lodge with concessions. New this year: beginner area, two widened trails, hot meals, new rental shop, 100% snowmaking. Directions: Take exit 48E off of Rte 128 for 2 miles||White Book of Ski Areas|
|1988||Area was closed|
|1989-1990||Same||Same||Unknown||Area reopens, snowmaking problems and bad management closed area||Joshua Segal|
Crummett: To the right is an aerial shot
of Prospect Hill Ski Area in Waltham Mass. It was taken in the Winter
of 1977-78. It's faded thru time but gives you a good feel of the
area in Winter. It was given to Richard Walsh, resident of Waltham
at the time, by the then Recreational Director of Waltham,
David Taylor. Dave made skiing available to the youth of the
area, often at no charge to those who could not
afford a lift ticket. He would also provide
equipment to those kids who needed it who
could not afford it. Prospect Hill was a great family oriented area
and provided structured recreational activities for all ages.
I was a member of the Prospectors Ski Club in the early 50's when my Mother used to bring me over to ski before I had a drivers license.
George Putnam: On March 2, 1950, I passed the qualifying test for the National Ski Patrol at Prospect Hill. I don't recall what it had for a lift then, but I remember skiing a toboggan down that steep slope under the lights at night. I served on the NSP from 1950-1954.
Joshua Segal: Re-opened for 89-90 season: I was part of the ski school management team in Prospect Mountain's last year of operations, 1990. They had been out of business for two or three years before this season. A man named "Bill Krikorian" had been trying to reopen Mt. Watatic in Ashby, MA. The town fathers saw through him and would not allow him the permits. He leased Prospect Hill from the MDC, but three problems arose: 1. They would not give him a liquor license for the premises 2. There was virtually no natural snow that winter 3. His "cannon-style" snow gun literally blew up on the hill in mid-December. Fortunately, nobody was nearby when it happen. (Note: He planned to move the double-chair from Mt. Watatic to Prospect Hill, if he could get a longer term lease. Eventually, the lift found its way to the now-defunct Temple Mt., NH.) Bill Krikorian mitigated his financial losses by issuing rubber paychecks to the staff. Bill went on to Tenney Mountain and ran it into the ground for a year, changing its name to Lookout Resort at Tenney Mt. (Tenney reopened.)
As for the details of Prospect Hill, the vertical was more like 225'. There was a steep T-Bar that rose from the main lodge and served an excellent racing hill. After that, there was a long T-Bar that took you to the water tower that is still at the top of the hill. The upper T-Bar area was very flat. If the area had got off the ground, it was the intent to bus beginners to this section of the mountain to teach beginner lessons. There was a small rope tow area to the right (looking up the hill) of the main T-Bar, but it would have been difficult to teach more than 2 or 3 classes simultaneously there. ---- It is unfortunate that someone with skiing vision didn't do something with Prospect Hill. It's location was and is excellent. They could have run lunchtime slaloms for the hundreds of thousands of techies working with 10 minutes of there as well as an even racing program. A large NH or VT area could have done with it what Ragged Mt. is now doing with the Blue Hills, Milton, MA: namely use it as a training, feeder and advertisement for Ragged Mt.
Chris Holsing: Prospect Hill in Waltham was owned and operated by the City of Waltham, not the MDC. My wife grew up in Waltham and skied it every day after school.
Jennifer Thornton: I started out as a Patroller at Yawgoo Valley in RI. When I moved to MA I became the Assistant Patrol Director at Prospect Hill until it closed, and then transferred to Klein Innsbruck until it closed. I've taken the hint and become a NSP Alumni.
Prospect was open past 1988. I'll see what information I have left, and if I can find any dates. The last two winters Prospect Hill was open Dan Wilson was Patrol Director, and there were 10th Mt. Reserves that practiced there, just off trails and into the woods. Its patrol went on to Blue Hills, Klein Innsbruck and Nashoba Valley. Much of the management went to Ski Ward.
It was a fun little upside down hill. The W.W.II surplus T bars took you to the middle or the top of the hill. The upper hill and bar area did not have snow making, so it was only open 2 or 3 times in its last 2 years. That was the beginner slope. The bottom half was steeper, and prone to New England Boiler Plate because of ground water. To the right of the T bar was a handle tow for the children too short for the T-Bar. There was Pop Warner ski training on this hill. There were also some collage ski teams that practiced on the primary trail during the day.
The MDC horses in the stable next door would come over to visit when the conditions were safe for them.
||Ruane Crummett provided a picture of this ski patch from Prospect.|
|A view of the area from the
bottom in 1999. Notice the lights for night skiing on the right, where
the old T-bar used to run. Also notice the relative steepness of the
slope for eastern MA.
(This picture and all below are courtesy Jed Diehl)
||An old snow roller near the beginner area.|
|The old beginner area and two trails that come off the summit. Each trail, while short, looked interesting. The rope tow has been removed.||
||Looking down the steep expert slope to the base area.|
|A trail junction.||
||A closeup of the trail junction sign. Notice the "Waltham Parks and Recreation Department" emblem.|
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