Granville, MA
1960 - 1970s

History    Memories    2001 Pictures


Before explaining the history of this area, let me thank Jay Joyce who took me on a tour of the area in May, 2001, and who allowed me to borrow some family pictures!

Family Hill was just what its namesake was a family area that operated in Granville. The area opened in 1960 by John and Joyce Jones. The area originally had two rope tows, including one was that was 800 feet long, with a midstation on the rope tow.

Here's the original sign for when the area first opened.

Here's a picture of the rope being removed for the season in Mar, 1964.

The 1964-1965 season was awful, with little snow, and was open only 9 times! During the summer of 1965, trails were smoothed.

Here's a view of the main base area in 1967. This is the same view as above. Notice that a 300' rope tow was installed on this slope in the foreground around 1966. This slope was very shallow. For the same view today, click here.

Looking in the background, one can see the main tow, main slope with tree islands, another beginner slope with a rope tow on the far right and the base lodge.

The base lodge in 1967. Skiers are lining up the left for the far right rope tow. The area also offered skating on a pond behind the base lodge.
Looking down the main slope, mid 1960's. Notice the rope tow parallel the street - this is the far right tow.

Family Hill was one of the few areas in the region to operate with night skiing, which certainly contributed to its success. The area continued to operate until the 1970's, then closed. The area has grown in rapidly with little obvious signs of the area from the main road. However, there is still plenty of evidence to remind oneself that the area existed. Pictures of the area today can be found below.


  John Turchi: There is one  area, Family Hill Ski Area which was on Route 189 in Granville, MA, just north of the CT border.  It was on Route 189 near the intersection of the north end of Silver Road (there is a pond there also).  It went defunct 20-25 years ago.  It had two rope tows (one solely for a bunny slope), a warming hut with a concessionaire, and a rental shop.  It's certainly where I cut my teeth.

Dave Blaze: The ski area is still there in the weeds including the rope tow equipment, some lights for night skiing and a big old air compressor and some aluminum irrigation pipe that was intended for snow making! Keep in mind that this was a family run operation and everything was home made. The rope tow is a flat head Ford V8 / transmission /home made winch. 

Susan Martin: I learned to ski at Family Hill and my parents were personal friends of John and Joyce Jones who owned and ran Family Hill. They are long out if touch now, but my Mom remembers that  the New England Drum Factory of Granvillle Ma was owned by Joyces family and John was the manager. I believe that it was in the early 1960's when the first rope tow went up( the arthritis in my fingers I credit to that tow) John Jones gave me my first snowmobile ride that Christmas and my first ski lesson some time shortly after that. I believe that Bob Chapman may have helped build the second rope tow.

My Dad (deceased) worked on the tow too but not as much as  Bob Chapman. Many of the skiers were from the Granby Ct area  as was my family. The two slopes were, as you have listed bunny and intermediate. there were 4 or 5 trails as I remember, we had races but I don't remember much about that. I believe that Family Hill was one of the few local areas  maybe the only local area that was lit, I know that we skied at night.

The Jones also had ice skating and I think they rented skates as well. I have very fond memories of every Sat and Sunday and wed nights skiing.

2001 Pictures

Jay Jones was kind enough to spend an afternoon showing me around the former area. The following are pictures taken in late May, 2001. Area 1 is the beginner rope tow shown above on the Terraserver image. Number is where the main 800' rope tow was installed and near the base lodge. Number 3 is the far right beginner slope. Click on each image below for the larger version.

Section 1 - 300' Beginner Slope

Looking down the 300' beginner slope today. Notice how much it has grown in, and how shallow it is

The top of the 300' beginner tow

A storage barn near the beginner slope has stored pulleys from the rope tows

The barn also has the original rope!

Section 2 - Base Area and Main Summit Tow/Trails

Jay Jones standing next to the main rope tow shack

Looking up the liftline - notice how grown up it is!

The midway unloading area for the tow

A pulley for the tow still attached to a tree, near the unloading area

A trail leading off near the midway unloading area

Walking down one of the slopes, we noticed an unbroken light bulb still attached to the tree, after 25 years!

Almost at the bottom of the very overgrown main slope

Looking up the slope with the tree islands

Section 3 - Far Right Beginner Trail and Slope

The towers still stand for the base of the far right beginner tow

Looking up the far right beginner slope

Looking down that slope to the base area

The motor for the tow at the top of the slope

Does anybody else remember this one? If so, let us know!

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