History By the Year Memories Current Photos
Ski Area is on Private Property - Please Do Not Trespass
Sky-Hy park located in Topsham, Maine, was another one of those small local areas that introduced many skiers to the sport. It operated from 1962 thru the mid 1970's. Originally open as a family area by Howard and Lois Babbidge, the area was sold to new owners in the early 1970's. These new owners wanted to appeal to nearby military bases and acquired a liquor license. Unfortunately, this drove away many families, and the area folded.
Today the site is operated as Sky-Hy Conference Center, a Christian Conference Center, and is on private land. Please respect their privacy, thanks.
Here's a trail map of the area from the early 1970's, thanks to Dave Hilton.
By the Year
|1962||T-bar||10 trails||Year area opens||First Tracks by Glenn Parkinson|
|1968||700' T-bar||10, Novice through Expert, 1 slope||Night skiing, ski shop, ski hut, snack bar, operates daily. Located on Rte 201, Topsham||Unknown Skiing Guide|
|1971||700' T-bar||10 trails, beginner slope||Snack bar, night skiing, ski shop, ski school, ski patrol, snowmaking||Maine Skiing Guide|
|1973||T-bar, Rope Tow, 2000 skiers per hour capacity||10 trails||Base elevation: 100', vertical drop: 200', east exposure, operates daily, snowmaking, night skiing, ski shop, snack bar, rentals, warming huts, parking for 150 cars. 16 ski instructors. Rates: $2.50 adult, $1.50 junior. Weekends: $3.50 adult, $2.50 junior. Season: $50.00 adult, $35.00 junior.||Ski Guide to the Northeast|
|Sometime after 1973||Unknown||Unknown||Area closes|
Dwyer: I learned to ski at Sky-Hi. Seems to me they took a
bit of license with the brochure on your site. I remember just a couple
of trails being open at any given time. Big Dipper ran parallel to the
T-bar and was a legitimately steep run. The t-bar itself was a nightmare
- I have strong memories of falling off and either hanging on for dear
life as I was dragged up the hill, or sliding all the way to the bottom,
taking out remaining lift riders with me. A beginners run, served by a
rope tow that was run off of an old car, ran parallel to the parking
lot. The bottom of the beginners run fed into a trail called
"Little Dipper" which ended at the pond depicted in the
brochure. During thaws, getting from the bottom of Little Dipper to the
t-bar could be a bit tricky as you made your way along the melting ice
along the edge of the pond.
Note - See Stuart's photos from Aug 2004 below.
John Currier: These days, I live part of the year in Topsham, ME - just a mile or two down the road from Sky-Hy Park. We moved here in 1973 and I remember skiing there then, but probably only for a year or two. This area also had a rope tow (not depicted on the brochure on your site) which kind of ran alongside the parking lot as a beginner's area. An elderly friend of ours was on the ski patrol there during those years when his children learned to ski.
Bethany Sargent: My Grandparents were the original owners of Sky Hy in Topsham, Maine. They opened it around 1962 as a family oriented ski lodge and sold it in the early '70s. The second owners wanted to appeal to the Brunswick/Topsham Airforce/Navy bases and acquired a liquor license, which essentially led to the demise of SkyHy. Apparently families didn't care for the new atmosphere. My mother and her 4 siblings (the 5 are Bobby, Roberta, Judith, Mary, & Paul) worked there as ski patrol etc. while they were growing up and the family lived across the road.
Shipman: I was at Brunswick Junior High in the late 1960s and remember taking the bus from the Brunswick Recreation Center for ski lessons. Sky-Hy was affordable and lots of local kids could afford to ski there who's parents didn't ski and didn't have cabins at Sugarloaf. A Season Pass (junior) was $35, well within reach of paper route money. One set of parents would take kids up in the morning and another set would come and pick us up in the afternoon, since it was only a 20-25 minute drive from town.
I believe Don? Page was the owner when I began skiing, but Gordon Holmes took up the reins by the early 1970s. Gordie and Bob Deaton ran the lifts, helped with the snack bar, and taught lessons.
The beginner's slope departed from the lodge (the lodge and parking lot were on top of the hill). Staying left got you to the base of the rope toe, which as I recall, was powered off the hub of an old pickup truck. Bearing right brought you to the knoll at the top of the Little Dipper, the most popular cruising route to the bottom of the hill. The knoll was a gathering place and a place to watch hotshots do spread eagles off the jump on its right side. Sunrise was a short trail that cut from there over to the lower part of the Big Dipper. Sunset cut left off of Sunrise to return to Little Dipper, but no one ever went that way because you lost momentum and it was a long walk to the base of the T-bar.
|(Continued) The big dipper was the expert run - though really only the headwall at the top, right over the edge from the lodge, was very steep. I recall there was just enough room for a 30-gate slalom from top to bottom. Slingshot and Thunder Road were on the other side of the T-bar - but got much less traffic then the Dippers.
A 700-foot T-Bar and 200 feet of vertical doesn't sound very impressive, but on days without lift lines we could get probably get in 40 runs in a day. With night-skiing we could get even more.
Snow was a big problem in the 1970s, particularly for a coastal area like Sky-Hy where it often rained when places farther inland got snow. Gordie bought a snowmaker, but it just wasn't enough to keep things going. I believe Sky-Hy closed in 1975.
Colin Treworgy submitted this newspaper clipping of him winning the Page Cup at Sky-Hy. Click on the clipping for the larger version.
"I thought you might be interested in this February 23, 1971 newsclipping from the Brunswick-Bath Times-Record related to the Sky-Hy ski area in Topsham, Maine. I still have the cup!"
took the following photos of Sky-Hy in early August 2004. Here are his
details: While on a short break in my hometown of Brunswick, Maine two
weeks ago I took a few photos of the old Sky-Hy ski area. The property
(or at least some of it) currently is part of the Sky-Hy Conference
Center - a Christian retreat built on the site of the old ski lodge. The
folks there were kind enough to let me look around.
The view from the top of the area looking down a now overgrown trail that was known as the "Big Dipper" to Bradley Pond and the Cathance River. This was the trail immediately to the right of the t-bar on your trail map. (The t-bar track itself is now indiscernible in the new growth.)
||Half way down the "Little Dipper" (far right trail on your trail map). The trail appears to have been somewhat maintained as a means of access to the pond & river.|
|Looking from the base of the "Little Dipper" towards what was the base of the t-bar (in the woods to the right of the roundish tree in upper center of the photo). Bradley Pond and the Cathance River are to the left of the terrain pictured. Even on a dry summer day this area was too wet to walk. During those spring thaws trying to pick your way back to the t-bar without getting wet could be a dicey proposition!||
||The only evidence (along with the following photo) I could find of the old t-bar. This would have been the foundation for the base of the lift.|
|Looking down the bunny slope from what was the lodge of this upside-down area (the trail immediately to the right of the lodge on your trail map). A rope-tow ran along the left side of the area pictured. It's now part of the conference center's landscaped grounds.||
||Looking down the bunny slope from what was the lodge of this upside-down area (the trail immediately to the right of the lodge on your trail map). A rope-tow ran along the left side of the area pictured. It's now part of the conference center's landscaped grounds.|
Do you remember this area? Email us and let us know!
Last updated: Jan 19 2006
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