Union Academy Slope
Probably 1950's-cMid 1970's
History ~ Maps ~ Recent Photos ~ Memories
Thanks to Rodney Morgan, we first heard of this lost area in Meriden. This area was the successor to the school's Potato Patch Ski Area nearby. The ski area was moved to French's Ledges which provided more vertical.
While we are not sure on the early history of the area, an old GMC vehicle is still found near the slopes and likely powered a rope tow. There were likely 2 trails based on aerial imagery. An A-Frame lodge was also built.
Later, a pomalift or platterpull was installed by Ira Townsend, the school treasurer. We believe that this was a homemade lift, but we could be wrong about that.
In the early 1970's, the area was home to the New England Prep School Championships with slalom, giant slalom, and downhill racing.
Unfortunately, the area closed at some point in the 1970's, as the school focused more on its hockey program.
The area today is fully accessible and open, thanks to the Upper Valley Land Trust. Check out the page on French's Ledges by clicking here. The area has grown in tremendously and it is hard to make out the slopes, but the lift is mostly intact and easy to spot.
|The lost area is located just outside of Meriden and Mill Hollow, on Frenches Ledges.|
|The ski area has grown in quite a bit in this 1992 aerial image. Today, the slopes are hardly recognizable. In more recent imagery, nothing is visible.|
|Josh Graciano visited this
area during March of 2007, and took the following excellent photos. As
you will see, the lift remains standing and mostly intact, but the
slopes have grown in tremendously.
Right - a c1950 GMC, a possible power source for an earlier tow.
|The overgrown slope near the top.|
|The liftline for the Pomalift. Note the dangling cable.||
|The two top towers of the Poma are still standing and have the cable still attached.|
|The summit lift building. It is still standing and in good shape.||
|Closeup of the building.|
|Some machinery at the top.||
Rodney Morgan: "The Union Academy slope is near the school (located 1 mile west or so away) in Meriden, NH. KUA has a pretty rich reputation as a skiing prep school back in the 30's, 40's and 50's sending many skiers on to Dartmouth and on to the Olympics- an early ski academy and still a good school and ski program. You can still see a few of the trails and the A frame base lodge is standing as a ruin. The students now refer to it as the Ledges and it's a popular climbing spot with a good view."
D. Robinson: I was a 4 year student there from 1970-1974. Our hill was the host to the New England Prep School Championships during that time frame, everyone who came was envious. We also had a 20 meter and 40 meter ski jump(s), built right into the hill by Olympian Dr. David Bradley. The student Outing Club, along with the rec and ski team(s) maintained the hill in and out of season. Ira Townsend, school Treasurer donated his expertise in building our Poma lift, and powering it with a Model A engine from the 30's!! We were able to run SL, GS, and a downhill there, along with miles of cross country trails. It was a dream come true for me, and many others. We boot packed the hill up and down, and did not have any stinkin' snomaking!!! Flanders, Bean. Mathis, Dodge, and other last names known in ski racing circles were my classmates and friends. They taught me how to really get on down the hill. We knew the hill as Frenches Ledges, or to some of us as simply "the ski hill." KUA was more dedicated to funding Hockey at that time, and the hill closed. I think now the school wishes it had not. We,as alumni, sure hope one day to see it live again.
Last updated: April 2, 2007
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