Indian Head Ski Area
East Pepperell, MA

Mid-Late 1960's - C1980

History        Listing by the Year        Memories        Images of Area


Indian Head, like Boston Hill, served as a great learning area for Boston's MetroWest and the greater Nashua area. Its main feature was affordable skiing and the famous Egon Zimmermann, who at one time raced in the Olympics as an Austrian. German Hugo Helmer also taught here in the 1960's.

The area was founded sometime in the mid-late 1960's, and had a few short t-bars and a few rope tows. The terrain was solidly beginner to intermediate, and was primarily open slope skiing, though a wide trail was located on the right hand side of the area. The overall vertical drop was 175 feet. The picture of the left shows the layout of Indian Head.

Egon Zimmermann, an Olympic skier, taught the ski school here, whom I'm sure taught many to ski. The base lodge was a large converted barn.

Unfortunately, the area closed in the late 70's or early 80s's, likely due to poor weather, its relatively small vertical, and close proximity to other areas like Blanchard and Nashoba.

After Indian Head closed, it served as a golf driving range and even a place for hangliders to land. Some NELSAP readers remember a controversy surrounding medical waste at the site...though we don't have any specific details. The area now is an American Legion Lodge.

Aubrey Theall provides directions to the area. A few hundred after passing the Pepperell Airport, heading toward Pepperell center, there is a fairly sharp left curve in Rt. 111-right on the right is the slope- the barn and farmhouse shown on the map you have on the site remain.  

Indian Head by the Year

Year Lifts Trails Other Info Source
1969 2 T-bars, 3 tows 3 slopes, novice through intermediate none Eastern Ski Map
1973 2 T-bars, 1 tow, 2000 per hour capacity 3 trails Vertical drop: 175ft, exposure, NE, operates daily, snowmaking, night skiing, ski shop, restaurant, warming huts, parking for 250 cars, 25 instructors (5 certified). Rates: Weekday $4.00 adult and $3.00 junior, Weekends $5.00 adult and $4.00 junior. Season $40.00 adult and junior Ski Guide to the Northeast
1979 2 T-bars, 3 tows 3 slopes, trail, novice and intermediate none Eastern Ski Map
1980 same same none same


Jim Sullivan remembers races being held at Indian Head: "I also skied at Indian Head Ski Area, which was not much more than an open slope. Indian Head used to have a ski race every year where the competitors would parachute out of a plane and land on the top of the hill, then ski down to the finish line. Just this past year I met someone who parachutes out of Pepperell and the alternative landing site is the ski area, though he never knew what they were referring to.

Greg Larkin: The former Indian Head Ski Area in E. Pepperell, MA is close to my house, so after I read your write-up on the web site, I rode my bike out there to check it out. The former base lodge/barn is now an American Legion post hall.  I saw a telephone pole out in the field at the base of the hill with a tire rim mounted on it (old rope tow?).  Other telephone poles scattered about the property didn't seem to have tire rims on them, but just floodlights.

Unfortunately, the property is heavily posted with "No Trespassing" signs,  so I don't think I can't explore much further. I rode further up the road and noticed something else.  Right next to the   road, slightly north of the hill, there are two concrete blocks with the remains of metal towers bolted to them.  The remains are heavily rusted and only a few feet tall at this point.  The blocks are 6-8 feet apart from each other. Across the street from the concrete blocks, the ground drops steeply to a new housing development.  
I wonder if more towers were in place previously, but removed when the development was built?  That would imply that the ski slope crossed the present road.

Joshua Segal: My understanding is that there was inadequate water supplies for snow-making requirements of a modern ski area. It's visible from the road and I'm told that it's used occasionally for hang-gliding.

Aubrey Theall: It's very easy to find.  It isn't very large, though- really sort of a hayfield on a gradual hillside.  The slope is still fairly clear and I think there are still some lights up on poles, although I don't think any of the tows remain.  It is just 1 very wide slope- it is exactly where the map you have there indicates.  The barn is red.  The slope was used as a driving range for a time, but no longer.  There was a scandal involving medical waste dumping around the site some years ago.  This may or may not have had anything to do with the area closing.  Good luck finding it.

Paul Lemieux: I never thought I'd see anything published about the place on the web. I was quite surprised to find it. I happened to have a long history with Indian Head. I started skiing there in 1966 at the age of 11. I worked there from 1972 until 1978. I did everything except work in the food concession. I taught, made snow, ran the lifts, maintenance, ski shop and whatever came along. There are still a few of us Indian Head veterans in the area. Quite a few of us have been into cycling as well as skiing and still get together for weekly rides and races etc.

Jim Cournoyer: I worked as the evening on snow manager of Indian Head Ski Area in East Pepperell, Mass. for the 1976-1977 ski season. Ken Jones, of the Ken Jones Ski Shops, ran the area. I believe Sam Tamposi was one of the owners at that time. All the lift and trail data you posted was accurate as I remember it. There was a motocross track in the field just to the north of the road into the base lodge. I first learned of Indian Head from my next door neighbor, Bill Mc Bride in Lunenburg Mass. Bill had a string of lift tickets in the shape of an Indian Head form this area. IndianHead was a place I skied as a student at Fitchburg State in the early 1970's along with Mt. Watatic, Mt. Wachusett, Pheasant Run, Hidden Valley and Benjamin Hill.

Scot Holt: I'm writing to share my memory of Indian Head in East Pepperell Massachusetts.   In January 1975 I was six and my mother, who had recently rediscovered skiing, wanted to expose me to the sport so she got me into a lesson at Indian Head. I remember shopping for old equipment the previous Fall and finding a pair of wooden skis with screwed on metal edges, cable bindings and a pair of leather boots.  My memories of Indian Head are faded; I recall the base lodge was an old barn, the skiing area was a single large slope (at least the area I saw) and there was at least one lift: a T-Bar.  I also remember downhill skiing, at night, was a very new experience for me and the lesson was my first try at learning in a group and I wasn't very social.  I felt very intimidated by the situation so I made one run from the T-Bar and then begged out of the class.  It would be nine year before I took the sport up seriously, at Crotched Mountain as a High School Freshman, but I stuck with it and now I've been working and playing at Loon Mountain for the past eight years and I've skied all around North America.  

I'm the kid in the red with skis on, the other kid is my younger brother Byron. I was six when it was taken in early 1975.

Scot and Byron Holt at Indian Head in 1975.

Skiing at Indian Head didn't get me into the sport but the experience left a strong impression non-the-less and I will never forget it.

Images of the ski area

Front and back of a brochure, circa 1960's. Courtesy of Henry Wells. Click on image for the larger version.
Inside of brochure, circa 1960's. Notice the view of the T-bar and of Hugo Helmer.  Also, they claimed a 300' vertical but that was a bit high, it was more like 250'. Courtesy of Henry Wells. Click on image for the larger version.

Jeff Proctor took the following three pictures in 1975. He ran the ski school there with Ken Jones for a few years.

A view of the main slope, T-bar to the right.

Similar photo, rope tow possible at upper left.

The base lodge (barn).
Indian Head Ski Area ad (circa 1970), showing the T-bar lift and base lodge barn.

A overhead view of the area. You can see the low T-bar lines cutting across the slope. Notice how its just one big pasture.

The main slopes (photo by Greg Larkin, December 2000)

Another shot of the main slopes (photo by Greg Larkin, December 2000)
The base lodge is now an American Legion.  (photo by Greg Larkin, December 2000)

If you remember this ski area and have more info, just let us know.

Last updated: Nov 10, 2011

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