Mount Rowe
Alpine Ridge
Gilford, NH
1960's - c1987

History of the Ski Area  ~ Historic Photos ~ Mount Rowe/Alpine Ridge Today ~ Mt. Rowe/Alpine Ridge Memories


History of the Ski Area 

This small ski area operated for about 20 years from the 1960'ss until the middle 1980's in the town of Gilford, right next to Gunstock.  This was NOT the original Gunstock Ski Area which happened to also share the same name, Mt. Rowe.  This area was much smaller but offered night skiing and some jumps. When it opened, the area boasted a telescopic tube T-bar and a few slopes.   It expanded greatly in the early 1970's to add a double chairlift and a pony lift. Adding an Alpine Slide in 1973-1974, it changed its name during its final years to Alpine Ridge as it was purchased by Attitash.
Here's an ad from one of their first years with a double chair (thanks to Brian O'Malley).Notice the reference to gas in the ad, so this was probably c1973 or so.

And now, we have a trail map of this area from Brian O'Malley! What a great map. Notice the wide slope on the left, with the pony lift and t-bar. The double chair goes right up through the center, serving more narrow trails on the right. The area had a waterslide too, on the lower right.

Here's a listing from 1973 (Skier's Guide to the Northeast) when it was called Mt. Rowe:

Base elevation: 800 feet
Vertical drop: 400 feet
Exposure: NE
Features: Area operates daily except Monday (daily during holiday weeks), snowmaking, night skiing (Tues-Sat), ski shop, snack bar, cocktail lounge, rentals, 3 lifts (1 double chair, 1 pony, 1 rope tow) with 3700 per hour capacity, 6 trails, parking for 500 cars.
Ski school: American and GLM technique, 7 instructors (1 certified)
Rates: Weekday Adult $4.00, junior $3.00.  Weekend and holiday: $6.00 adult, $4.00 junior, Season: $55 adult, $40 junior.  Night skiing $2.00.

To the left is a cover of a brochure from around 1980, thanks to Don Rudolph.

After it was called Alpine Ridge, this picture was taken.  But something is terribly wrong with it: it says Attitash in the upper left!  Apparently Attitash used this photo as a promotion for their alpine slide.  Notice the large lake in the foreground:  if you have been to Attitash you will know that there is no such lake!  In fact, it is Lake Winnipesaukee, which is very close to Gilford and Alpine Ridge.

The reason why they did this is because Attitash purchased Mt. Rowe around 1980 and then renamed it Alpine Ridge. Since Attitash had an alpine slide, they opened one up at Alpine Ridge. They used this promotion for some reason.

Here's some more pictures from a circa 1980 brochure from Don Rudolph. The top photo shows the base of the double, and the lower one shows a bowl shaped trail.
Alpine Ridge closed near 1987. Thereafter, the lift was used only for summer operation to serve the alpine slides and the water park. That operation finally closed in 1989. The chairlift was removed in 1991. Then, the base lodge was burned down in for the fire department to practice. 

To the right is a picture of the base of the Hall double chair, thanks to the brochure from Don. Notice how the top portion of the area was steeper than the lower.


Mitchell Clure has more details on the final years below:

"I know for a fact that I rode the Alpine slide at Alpine Ridge during the summer of 1989. I was there with a bunch of friends and at that time Alpine Ridge was strictly a summer-time operation. They were still running the water slides in addition to the double-track alpine slide. They stopped running the ski area in the winter around 1987. I recall talking to the summer employees about this and they said that the summer operation was profitable enough but the winters were a bust. 

My friends and I returned in the summer of 1990 only to find a big "FOR SALE" sign on Alpine Ridge. At that time the lifts were still in place as was the alpine slide and the water slides. I called the Real Estate company and made a brief inquiry about the area. The asking price was 1 million "as is". (included the lifts and the slides).

For a few years after the final closing (alpine slide was closed) you could still drive and walk around the property. The lifts were still in place and the waterslide pools were full of garbage and the slimiest water I've ever seen.  Vandalism was taking it's toll. It was depressing to see. I was hoping (dreaming?) that someone would purchase it an re-open it. 

It was right around this time (1990) when SURF COASTER opened. See: Surf Coaster was opened on a site which previously had only housed a small miniature golf course. This new, modern, water-park featuring a wave-pool and several different types of water slides was simply too much competition for Alpine Ridge. This was the "nail in the coffin" for Alpine Ridge. The lifts and slides were removed in 1991 due to the risk of accidents from the ongoing vandalism.

I was up there in August 2000 and we drove in to see old Alpine Ridge.  It is very sad....the access road now has a gate blocking  access to the parking lot and you can barely even tell that the hill once was a ski area. Everything is gone. Ironically the homes along the access road still have skis bolted to the outsides like they did when the ski area was alive and well."
Historic Photos

Many thanks to Eric McKinney who sent us these photos of Mt. Rowe/Alpine Ridge. He had discovered the photos in his home when he moved into it, so we do not know the photographer. They show various aspects of the double chair, as well as one shot with a hanglider. Click on each for a larger version.
lHangliding. Snowmaking equipment at the bottom of Lower Bombers Ridge. The Hall double chair on Bombers Ridge slope. Summit of the chairlift.


Recent Photos Mount Rowe/Alpine Ridge
Here's a photo taken of the area during the winter of 1999, thanks to Dave Hilton.  Originally I thought this was the double liftline, but its too narrow, so it may be something else.

An aerial shot of the ski area in the 1990's. Notice how the trails were fairly twisty, and the wide slope.

Mount Rowe/Alpine Ridge Memories:

Pete LaFlamme: I grew up in Laconia, NH and I can remember skiing at Mt. Rowe in the late 1960's.  I am confident the area opened in the 1960's because I graduated HS in 1973, and all through HS we were much too sophisticated to go to Rowe, we went to GUNSTOCK! 

However, in earlier years I learned to ski at Mt. Rowe when the only lift was a T-Bar running up the far left side of the slope.  It was an odd T-Bar with a long, solid aluminum pipe serving as the connection from the wooden T to the overhead cable.  Equipment was wooden Northland (Lund) skis, (my Dad worked at the Northland factory in Laconia) and bear-trap bindings. 

Dick Inman: As a child around 1974-1975 I witnessed the installation of the Alpine slide at Mt. Rowe.  It possibly was a late as 1977, I'm not sure.  But I am sure it was in before Attitash purchased it.  My thinking is that it the Attitash ad used the picture of the lake was used the year Attitash installed theirs???  My folks have camp on the big lake and we used to drive by Gunstock and Mt. Rowe/Alpine Ridge, I distinctly remember driving by and seeing a helicopter flying something up on the hill.  We drove in to see what was going on expecting it be a new chairlift and found out it was and Alpine slide being installed.  I got my driver license in '77 so I'm sure it was prior to this, probably two years or so.  

Eddie Herson: I remember Alpine Ridge.  My Mom used to drive me to Gunstock to ski in 1976, 1977 and 1978.  I was a ski bum and my parents were okay with me skiing every day.  I would hang out with the ski patrollers.  I remember a guy named Johnny Sawer, who took me under his wing and taught me hoe to ski.  All the other guys were cool to me too.  I remember once that the guys would go up early to check on things before the area would open.  One day after a big dump, the guys went up Gunstock's long forgotten single chair and crossed a "secret trail" to Alpine Ridge to ski an old trail that was partially grown over and that went down the skiers right side of Alpine Ridge.  I will always remember longing to go with them as I was thrilled to ski and especially in the back woods, sneaking through a closed area but in the safe hands of the Gunstock ski patrol.  I also rode the Alpine slide there mant times as a kid.  I am really surprised that Gunstock never combined the two areas.

Last updated: Jan 4, 2014

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