N. Attleboro, MA
1970-off and on-Closed early 2000's
This area is now closed - update coming. Below is original article on NELSAP when it may have reopened early 2000's.
This one is quite a story. Thanks to The Colorado Skier who first questioned this area, a search began for information. Originally we had thought that this area was still possibly open, most likely a rope tow area. Lynn G. helped point us in the right direction...she gave directions and told me that the area was a rope tow and one slope. Her kids had learned at the area.
I found the area on February 23, 2000, while on a recon trip for lost areas and open areas (Neutconkanut Hill in RI has pictures from this trip). The area looked lost...definitely not open, except for an occasional sledder. Pictures from this trip are found below.
And now...thanks to NELSAP reader Michael Nelson and Chad Winship we now know that this area is still open! Here's what he told us in late January, 2001:
Michael: Apparently it isn't really a "lost" ski area as the town of N. Attleboro is prepared to run the lift and turn on the lights as soon as there is deemed to be sufficient snow. I was there today, (January 17) walking around and was amazed at the condition of the trails, the lift and the lights. I went to the town hall and was talking to the Director of Parks and Rec. for N. Attleboro. He told me that they hadn't been open in 4 years but that they were ready to go when more snow fell. (I think it's skiable right now and we've lost some snow pack here in Cumberland).
Supposedly, 4 winters ago, the hill was open for 27 days of skiing and had been open at least sporadically for 15 continuous years. Apparently, the single biggest operational problem that that ski hill faces is a stream that runs across the flat part of the trail at the bottom. It requires a lot more snow pack than average to keep it covered and not puddle-like. Anyway, the P & R Director said they could possibly even be open this weekend if we get some snow. He said to check back with him because he is going to see about getting me some type of a trail map or a brochure out of the ski lodge. There are two distinct ski trails, both with lights and I agree that the main slope is a rather nice pitch for such a small area. Incidentally, there has now been a hand painted sign posted saying that no sledding is allowed on the ski slopes, though people have obviously ignored it.
Chad: "I went home last night and there was a notice in the paper that due to good snowfall Sunrise Hill will be open every night this week for skiing with the J-Bar in operation. Seems the town isn't afraid to run it, they just can't afford snowmaking. I might head over just for a hoot."
Definitely some great news! If anybody skis there this winter, and takes any pictures, let us know, and we'll add them.
Adam Miller has some more information on this area. HE actually repaired the lift as an Eagle Scout Project in 1997!
I grew up in North Attleboro, and in January of 1995 or 96 the opening of the second semester of school was delayed for a week after our break was supposed to end because of lots of snow. During this time I went skiing and snowboarding at Blue Hills, Klein Innsbruck, Wachusett, and maybe Ragged Mountain in NH, and at Sunrise Hill, right in the town park. Lots of people in the town know about the place, but it isn't open much because of lean snow and the swampy area at the bottom. Note that Sunrise Hill, like King Ridge in NH (where my father brought me skiing on my birthday at least once in the late 80's/early 90's, and whose newest triple chair and good snowmaking equipment went to Ragged Mountain about five years ago), has a "summit lodge," so the first run is always free, if you want to walk back up.
But, to continue, I noticed that the J-bar was in pretty bad shape, the pylons were all rusty and else. So (here's where the story gets interesting), as I searched around the local area for a service project to become an Eagle Scout, I remembered Sunrise Hill. The planning was easy. I called up the town Rec department and found out that there was a fund for maintenance for the ski area. I submitted a materials list, and a few weeks later I brought various members of my Boy Scout troop along for two weekends of wirebrushing and painting. I even made my own stencils to renumber the pylons. On the last day, we had just finished painting before a thunderstorm rolled in... This all happened in May of 1997.
I hope that this will help you update some of the information you have posted regarding Sunrise Hill. The J-bar is not at all new, I was told that it was original by the Rec department, and that it has, contrary to what is posted on the site, recently been repainted by the volunteer labor of North Attleboro's Troop 32.
The following are several pictures from my trip there during winter 2000 when I hiked it up (it was closed then).
|Amazingly enough in the middle of the WWI park in N. Attleboro, there's a J-bar. Its quite steep too, but relatively short. I took one quick look down the line and figured the vertical to be close to 140'. A later look at the topo map would confirm this.||
A topo map of the area. The ski area is to the right of the Airway Beacon
Here I am at the top of the slope. Notice the lights for night skiing on the right.
|Since I had my skis in my jeep, it was irresistible not to ski it. Sledders had packed down the slope from the last snowstorm, and thanks to that event, there was just enough to ski down. I strapped down my skis and took a run.|
|The slope itself was not difficult, but was a nice, moderately wide sweeping arc. The snow was firm but wet on top as temperatures were climbing through the 40's. I'd rate the trail as low intermediate.||
Halfway down the slope. Notice how its just the right width, and the jump on the left for sledders.
The J-bar from the bottom. Short, but steep. Lift shack on left.
|Thirty seconds later I reached the bottom of the J-bar, and started my hike up. It was quite a steep climb, but short, and five minutes later I reached the top, put the skis back on, and made one final run. It is the type of ski area you could ski again and again, even if you had to hike it up.|
|Here's a close-up of the j-bar about halfway up. Notice that its in good shape, and hasn't rusted much if at all. The snow had been packed down my many sledders.||
|It seems as if anybody could ski
here...nothing was posted. Sledders make their way down the slope all the
time. Just remember, you assume your own risk when you ski an area like
this if its not opened. Here are the directions from Lynn:
It is located off Elmwood St which is off Rt. 1.Take RT 1 South from Rt 95 (get off at Walpole Exit) and follow to North Attleboro; after you pass a Diary Queen on left, Elmwood is next left. Take Elmwood up the hill; entrance to park is across from YMCA (down a little) on the right. Drive around the park (all one way traffic) and Sunrise is on right as you head north.
|Now for some of the history of
the area. It was dedicated on November 8, 1970 in memory of Private Edward
P. Nolan, "whose untiring efforts were instrumental in the
establishment of WWI Memorial Park." A j-bar was the first and only
lift. Night skiing was available.
The area is operated by the Parks and Rec Dept of N. Attleboro.
|Here's a view of the hill in the mid 1990's from Terraserver. Its simple, but you can see the J-bar on the right and the trail on the left. Another trail is part of this area, the bottom part you can see under the word "Trail."|
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