History ~ Memories ~ Historical Photos
According to an article written by M. Dickey Drysdale in the Winter 1987 Vermont Life, a rope tow operated in Randolph at the Harold J. Farr farm on Elm St. The tow served approximately 200 vertical feet. There was no charge to use the tow and was used mostly by the local children. Farr operated the area solely for the purpose of giving locals (mainly children) a safe and free place to ski during the winter. Wouldn't it be great if there were areas like this today? The area also had a skating rink and a 1000 foot long toboggan chute.
The tow was shut down in 1966 because of the opening of nearby Pinnacle Skiways (also another lost area!). In appreciation of Harold Farr’s dedication to his community, Pinnacle named its practice slope after him.
Steve Ellis's father grew up in Randolph, and worked for Harold Farr while in high school. He sent all of the photos of this ski area to NELSAP, and also found this article in Sports Illustrated on Harold Farr.
(Thanks to Betsy McDonough who helped research this article).
NELSAP has heard from Dave
Kent, who used to ski here...here's his story:
In the late 50's I learned to ski there for 25 cents a lesson on Saturday mornings. The ski instructor was Ebben Brown of South Royalton. The rope tow was run by Mr. Farr a local farmer who donated his time every weekend so the young people could ski. Not many of us could afford back then to travel to Stowe or Suicide Six, and Killington didn't exist. Our skis were also without the latest bindings and NO metal edges on the Northlands. In later years a more modern ski area called Pinnacle was developed just South of Randolph on Rt. 12.
John Ellis: Some more information about Farr’s Hill, to add to what my brother Steve sent you: According to the 1959 article, Harold Farr started running his rope tow in 1938, “four years after the first ski tow was introduced to the U.S.” Though the SI article says that the tow was free, when I skied there as a kid in the early 1960’s, I believe he put out a can for donations of $0.50 a skier.
I remember my father telling me that in high school (about 1940 – 1944) he made skis for others. He’d take two planks, shape them, soak them in hot water in the barrels Mr. Farr used to boil maple sap, and then clamp them down to make their camber. He’d sell them for $5, and for an extra couple of dollars, would screw on metal edges. I asked him how long they’d last, and he said “most of a season” (which I assume wasn’t that many days of skiing).
Many thanks to Steve Ellis who sent along these excellent photos of Farr's Hill to NELSAP! Click on all images for the larger version.
|Skiers load the bottom of the rope tow in 1959.|
|Looking up the liftline in 1959.|
|A 1962 shot of the farm, lower slopes, and the base of the rope tow.|
|Skiers midway on the slope, 1962.|
|A view of the slopes in 2010. Note the one rope tow tower still standing at the summit. Courtesy of John Ellis. Click on the photo for the larger version.|
Does anybody else remember skiing Farr’s Hill? If so, we’d love to hear your stories.
Last updated: Feb 20, 2011
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