|Some NELSAP readers have
great info on this ski area run by the Hampstead Ski Club. Here's their
"nhguiness" - I just wanted to tell you about a small rope tow we operated in Hampstead NH. It was called the Hampstead Ski Club. We ran it for 10 or so years. It had a 50s Chevy motor used for the tow.
Here's the Topo Map of the area, found by Randy Percival. Notice how short the tow is!
Bailey: Hampstead ski
hill in Hampstead consisted of a single rope
tow in a farm field off route 121, north of the
center of town about 6 or 7 miles. It must
have closed in the mid 60's, because I grew up
in town and remember it operating, but
closing before I got a chance to ski there.
Here's the overhead picture of the area. Notice that there's not much to see, though the lift line is still clear. Randy also found the latitude/longitude coordinates of the area:
42d 54m 43s N
Rick Evans: I moved to Hampstead in 1969 and learned to ski on this hill at the age of 10. I have many fond memories of time spent skiing here. My dad had taught me to snow plow behind our house on East Road. When I first arrived at the hill I had never skied down such a monster slope (age 10). Parking was at the top. I was afraid to go down and my father literally kicked me in the butt. I forgot what little technique I had learned and schussed down out of control into a hedge row at the bottom.
The rope was very heavy and nasty. Burned through quite a few pairs of double leather rope gloves. There wasn't any grooming what so ever. I recall if while being towed up hill you came out of the ski tracks the rope would burn into any and all clothing. I believe the club ceased to exist in 1971. This area was for the purist as there were zero facilities. As kids we thought it was ironic that a cemetery was at the top of the hill near the parking area.
Each adult member took their turn at operating the tow on a weekend day. Although there were problems with the engine and rope derailments we all had a blast on this hill. All of my friends including myself have gone on to a lifetime of skiing enjoyment. It all began here.
Josh Manning: The hill you describe on this page is almost in my back yard. It's less than a mile form my house, and to this day I can still remember when we first moved to the area in 1986 the old control booth was still at the top, and the old towers for the rope to ride on were still in place. The hill has served as a wonderful place to slide, and tube and now my friends and I build jumps up there in the winter and snowboard off them. The farmer that owns the hill still keeps it maintained, and the grass cut short for the purposes of recreation. In the past months now 2002, The owners of the land, and as far as I know, the original owners of the farm and land the Morris's Have built a beautiful log home in the place where the old control booth used to stand
Carolyn and Len Chase: My family and I recall many hours enjoying the rope tow on Morris' Hill in Hampstead. The "ski area" was a community effort, spearheaded by Dave Morris, Bill and Rob Letoile, and many others! Our 6 kids learned to ski on the hill. Night skiing was the best! In our home the cry was often heard, "SKI LIGHTS ARE ON!", and we'd all head out for a few hours on the hill. Sometimes hot chocolate was served in the ski hut, and was much appreciated, especially when the kids' gloves had frozen to the rope on the tow. Excitement was added to the runs when the kids built up "jumps" near the bottom and enjoyed early "hot-dogging". Everyone pitched in to keep the car engine (for the tow) running. Maintenance of the slope was a community effort as well. In these days of astronomical ski lift prices we look back with nostalgia at the price of skiing Morris' Hill - zero! Good times, long gone!
Gary Chase: The Hampstead Ski Club centered mainly on the Morris Family of West Hampstead, New Hampshire. They still live in the house at the base of the hill. The club contained many people from all walks of life. We met at the Hampstead Congregational Church in Hampstead, New Hampshire. Most of the club members went to this church. The tow was a simple but effective way to climb the small hill. The rope would start slipping every third person or so because of the general strain. We all had to get off and let it speed up again. The hill took about two minutes to travel down, not in a tuck. For many years the local people enjoyed the hospitality of the Morris Family. I believe the Club and Hill disbanded about 1980 or so.
I know i've mentioned this one a few times to you,
but i just recently found the time to go hike it - it's an easy walk from the
cemetary. The topo you have is pretty accurate - a liftline about 20ft wide is
still clear. The tow has some remnants (sheaves on telephone poles) and is/was
on the left side of the liftline looking uphill. The trees have overgrown into
the liftline quite a bit. Judging by the youth of the trees, I'd guess that when
the area operated, it was an open slope - why only the liftline was kept clear
is beyond me.
The summit of the tow and beyond is currently undergoing some massive earth-moving process. Probably another subdivision. One more thing - the liftline is VERY steep. At least 35 degrees. Easier skiing would have been had by taking a longer route down the sides of the hill.
Linda Piehl: I moved to Hampstead in 1963 at age 9. My dad and other ski club members including Dave Morris and family spent the fall moving boulders from the hill. Yes, I remember that rope tow well. The moms sat in the hut at the top with hot chocolate. My brother, Doug+I both learned to ski there.
Reese: I grew up
skiing at the West Hampstead ski tow back in the 60s when I was 6 thru 9. There
were three boys and a sister plus ma & pa living on main street down below the
slope. A fairly long but thankfully gradual downhill hike got you to the bottom
of the tow. I was little so I used whatever I could including my armpits to
clutch that big fat gnarly rope. One little slip and yow! burnt whatever it
There was hot chocolate in the engine room at the top sometimes and some sort of heater inside i think (it was only 12 by 12 roughly and a good amount of that was an old frame of a truck with only the motor tranny driveshaft and one rim off the axel to pull the rope. As a 7 year old I wasn't exactly mechanically genius but the Morris family certainly was.
I am very grateful to all the sweat men and women poured into that liitle hill. One other thing Morris Mtn is not flat! This place prepared many of us to face
the "real deal" later on at Waterville and Black Mtn etc.
The family is mostly still there although spread out over the many acres. I am also very grateful to my dad who got me started there. These days I take him skiing at loon and cannon etc.
Do you remember this ski area? If so, please email us!
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