|The Retreat Tow (also
known as Bart's Tow) was a brief ski area that operated in Norrth
Sherburne near Killington, VT. Claus A. Bartenstein was the founder
of the area, and had always dreamed of opening up a ski area. In
1947 he started clearing the hill just above Route 100, and opened
the area then. The rope tow was 600' long, and served six slopes and
trails, including the 1200' long Christmas Tree Alley. The
Retreat Lodge had bunking space for 30 guests. A station wagon
helped carry skiers from Rutland to the ski area and back each day.
The area closed in 1950, when the tow was sold to Pico.
(Right - a trail map of the area, late 1940's, thanks to Richard Walsh, who received the image from Anne Marie. Click on map for larger version)
NELSAP heard from the Bartenstein family,
including the sons of the founder, Claus P. and Michael. Both share with us
their extensive memories below:
Clause P. Bartenstein: My name is Claus P. Bartenstein, and I
am the son of the builder and proprietor of "The Retreat Ski Area",
which was located at the top of what is now called "Bart's Hill
Road" as my father was called Bart by all the residents of
Sherburne, Vt., and all his friends. Retreat Tow and Bart's Tow are
one and the same, just different names. It was always called The
Retreat Ski Area by the family. He was by profession a mechanical
engineer, having immigrated from Friebug, Germany in 1928 and
finally settling in North Sherburne (Killington) in 1946. He and my
mother ran The Retreat Resort, later The Circle B Camp, and finally
Grindelwald Guest Haus, on the Elbow Road directly across Route 100
from where Bart's Hill Road is now.
(Left, the Retreat Lodge, from Richard Walsh who received it from Anne Marie)
Michael F. Bartenstein: I am Michael F. Bartenstein and I also learned to ski at the age of six on my Dad's rope tow. I can remember being so small, I had to hang in the air from the rope as some of the valleys in the tow track were deeper than my height. The tow was so popular with the local people from Rutland, skiers would aim their car lights at the hill so they could night ski. I have been skiing 57 years since then as well as competitive racing and still run into people who remember "Bart's Hill".
Our family has very fond memories of growing up in "virgin" ski country and would welcome any correspondence from those interested in early Vermont skiing.
(Michael can be contacted at email@example.com)
A few other NELSAP readers remember this area:
P. Linnemayr: The Retreat Tow in North Sherburne (now Killington) I believe was owned by Claus Bartenstein, a German expatriate who settled in that area during the 1940's.
Thanks to David Partridge, volunteer at the Vermont Ski Museum, we now know of this area that operated near what is now the Killington base road. Here are his details:
"I skied at Bart's Tow which was located near where the "Welcome to Killington" sign is in North Sherburne. There is currently a Bart's Hill Road there and the tow was in that area. I remember it as the craziest tow that I ever was on. You started out normally, but soon found the rope way over your head followed by the crest that ground your knuckles into the snow, and the suddenly the top pulleys. Best be quick to get off!"
Anybody else remember this one?
Last updated: February 6, 2007
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