NO-PAR
Norway, Maine

1947-1967

Efforts underway to reopen!

According to Glenn Parkinson's book First Tracks, this ski aera opened in 1947 by Albert Soule, Lester Soule, and Albert's wife, Jeannette. Jim Thorpe was also involved in the constructionThe area operated on Pike's Hill in Norway. During the operation of the area, they discovered that owner's can't get much skiing in while operating the area, so they sold it, and it closed around 1967. The area was used for the next decade or so for training as a hike up and ski down area.

Now, Walter and Julie Bressette want to reopen the area! For more information, click here. (link sent by Tom Jacobs)

The area may have originally been the Norway Paris Outing Club, which had a ski tow in the later 30's in the nearby area, though no definitive location was identified in the 1930's guidebook.

Here's an aerial view of the area (or at least most likely where it is).

Memories:

David Matero: I grew up in Norway , very close to No-Par.  By the time I was sledding on the hill the high school team used it for training, mid-1970ís.  It was the greatest sledding hill I have ever been on.  It was long and steep (for a sled) and had a great big boulder as a jump at the top.  I remember many night sledding runs, and particularly the nice view of the Norway lights from the top of No-Par.  Orchard Street terminated the hill, though, and if you were not careful you ended up on it.  I know we did that a couple of times. 

The cross country ski trails made for great sledding through the forest.  I could sled from the top of No-Par through the woods to just behind the armory on Elm Street , which is where I lived.  I miss that hill.  Every winter I look for a hill that can compare to No-Par so my son can enjoy the kind of sledding I did to no avail.  Okay, I live on the coast in Harpswell, but I keep on looking.

My mother, Elizabeth Snowman, told me her father, Jim Thorpe, helped build Nopar.  I donít have any details.  However, I am sending you a scan of a newspaper article (above) with a picture of my grandfather (middle of the photo standing straight) that was taken on No-Par.  This picture was published after my grandfatherís death in 1968.  Obviously, he helped teach skiing there, probably in the early to mid 1960ís.

Loafasaur remembers this area:  This was one broad, gentle slope served by a rope tow on the easterly flank of Pike's Hill in Norway village at the southerly end of Orchard Street.  The tow was about 500' long and under 100' vertical.  It was operated by the Norway-Paris Ski Club.  Oxford Hills High practiced there in the 1960's through 1966-67, after which they moved training and races to the (so called) Oxford Hills slope in Hebron.  The slope was just too gentle for realistic racing practice and inadequate for racing.  NORPAR served its purpose to introduce people to skiing up through the 50's and 60's, but the development of Sunday River (1959) and Mt. Abram (1960) with T-bars and machine grooming just up Route 26 doomed the little rope tow.  Today there is a privately owned, "public" frisbee golf and ultimate frisbee course/area where the slope used to be.  Much of the slope is overgrown by trees.

Tim Hutchisen skied here: This was the very first ski area that I skied at, it was operated by the Norway-Paris recreation department through the sixties. It was located on the side of Pike's Hill here in-town Norway. It had a rope tow and a warming hut in back of the rope tow engine room. There was only the one slope and it came to an abrupt stop, as Orchard Street ran perpendicular to the slope at the bottom. All that prevented you from dropping down onto the street was a snow fence. My father skied there as a kid at some point. I remember him telling me that he and his friends jumped the road on occasion, I never duplicated the feat.

There were lessons every weekend run by the recreation department. The older high school kids served as the instructors. The hill was groomed by footpacking it and also sidestepping it after every storm. I would estimate the vertical drop at somewhere around 200'-300' or so. I remember a big rock jump at the top beside the rope tow.

As I entered high school in 1974, I do not recall the area still running. By 1976 the high school started using NO-PAR again. We had been training at Evergreen Valley and after it closed, we started hiking up NO-PAR to train. We extended the clearing above the old rope tow return by a few hundred feet so that we could run GS there. We trained there with no lift until I graduated in the spring of 1978, I am unsure whether it was used after that year. We also cut about 3K of cross country trails for the cross country team to train there as well.

Presently the land and adjacent farm house is for sale, there is a grassroots effort in place to try and resurrect the area again for the local kids.

 

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