Merton's Hill
Corinth, NY
1938/1939 - Late 1940's

Thanks to Joyce Day, we first heard of this area that operated in Corinth. Here are her details:

There used to be a small ski area which had a rope tow in Corinth, NY, in the late 1940's. I believed it was operated by a gentleman by the name of Donald Kingsley. It may have been known as "Merton's Hill.". I used to ski there. It adjoined Paris Avenue. There are houses built in that area now.

Thanks to her tip, I sent a letter to Donald, as his name was in the phone book. He then passed the letter to his grandson Michael Kingsley, who contacted NELSAP in April 2002, with information and pictures. His information and pictures are below.

We also heard from Tom Doherty whose father founded the area in 1938. Here's his info:

My name is Tom Doherty. I grew up in Corinth and just recently was made aware of information concerning the Merton Hill Ski Area located in Corinth. I have some additional information that I would like to share.
1. The ski area was started in 1938/1939 by Jim Doherty [my father] and Fred Michaud, both men resiiding in Corinth and at that time in their early thirites. Both men are alive today, a youthful 94 years old.
2. They both skied together for the first time at North Creek, NY on New Years Day 1934, and thought that the sport was the greatest thing that they had ever done, both were avid outdoors men and employed by International Paper Co. in Corinth.  They remember that the ski area had 36" of fresh powder snow that day and that the famous ski train was in operation. What memories!
3. The first rope tow was powered by an old Dodge truck that they obtained from somewhere in the Town of Day not too far from the Great Sacandaga Lake [known in that era as the Sacandaga Reservoir].
4. For a rope, they had tried to use an old rope obtained from the International Paper Co. in Corinth, but due to its size, the truck could not turn it. Therefore they ordered a smaller diameter rope that proved to work out fine.
5. After several years, they replaced the old Dodge with a Ford truck that they purchased from an apple orchard near Ballston Spa.
6. With the onset of World War II, both men were called away to serve their country in the winter of 1942 and lost track of the ski area. They thought that it was run by a gentlemen by the name of Mott Mosher prior to operation by Don Kingsley. Jim and Fred both recall hearing that during the war, the old Ford Truck was used by Pikes Garage, in Corinth, for a tow truck.
7. When the area was first started, anyone that wanted to ski was asked to join the local Merton Hill ski club for a fee of $2.00. They never charged anyone for skiing but were glad to accept any donations to help fund maintenance and fuel.

From Michael Kingsley: My name is Michael Kingsley. I am the grandson of Donald Kingsley, one of the founders and operators of Merton's Hill ski slope in Corinth, NY. My grandfather (Donald) received your letter a few weeks back and is contacting the other people of his generation that were involved with Merton's Hill skiing. I will more information in the future, but I know a few tidbits from the stories he has told.

(A view of the slope and rope tow, circa 1940's)

 The ski area on Merton's Hill was, as you indicate, a simple rope tow up one small slope that I used to sled down in my childhood (1970s). The rope tow was powered by removing one rear wheel and fender (we still have the fender in the barn) from a late model truck and running the rope on a pulley attached to the axel. The hill also had lights for night skiing. 

(The engine for the tow, 1940's)

The "lodge" was built in 1947 (I checked the tax assessment papers) and now is a storage shed at my grandparent's house on Stark Rd. in the township of Corinth. I am assuming the ski slope opened the same year though I have not confirmed this.

(The Lodge, 1940's)

Another view of the hut, 1940's.
I started skiing with my grandfather at 2 years old in 1970 and am still an avid skier. I grew up skiing at Alpine Meadows in South Corinth (also on your list) throughout the 1970s and 80s. I now live about 100 yards from Merton's Hill and my brother owns the land bordering Merton's Hill. 

(Top of the lift, 1940s)

A view of the hut today. Compare it to 60 years ago!
Looking up the slope, April 2002. Notice that its grown in somewhat.

Another view looking up the slope.
Looking down the slope.

Thanks again to Michael for the pictures and the personal account!

If you have more information on this area just let us know.

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