History ~ Memories ~ Recent Photos
This small ski area was located in
the town of Londonderry. It operated from 1965-1985.
My name is Peter Misiaszek Jr., my parents were the owners of Birchwood Ski Area in Londonderry NH. I am intrigued by the website. Birchwood has and always will have a special place in my heart since I spent everyday in the winter there!
Birchwood had an established ski racing team named the "Birchwood Bombers" which was originally coached by Bill and Eileen Kohut. The team consisted of 30-40 local kids ranging from age 7-16. The team always seemed to fair well on race days, always coming in a close 2nd to Pats Peak mainly because we were out numbered in some cases two to one. Two of my sisters, Judy, and Jill and I were on the team as three of the original members. Every winter, we would host a Winter Carnival, in which the locals could sign up for races such as the "egg and spoon race" and the "Chug-a-Lug" contest ( The adult Beverage race!) we offered a punch race for the kids!! Like most ski areas in the area at this time we all relied on mother nature to supply us with the "white gold" . As everyone is aware the harsh winters of old were few and far between after the blizzard of 78'. The summer of that same year, we purchased and installed snow making equipment, that included water pipes and the snow gun it self, the air was supplied by one of my fathers compressors used for the Paving Co. My father Pete Sr. and Craig Bennett were the two that always ran the snow making equipment and sno-cat. Craig also ran the Ski School as well.
Prior to the
opening of the 1986 season we were dealt some bad news when we found out that
during the summer months some thieves had come and actually stole the
snow making pipes right off of the ground. My father tells me that
the Londonderry Police saw the trucks leaving with the pipes, but thought they
were workers from the construction company???? This was one of the
main reasons along with the decline in the sport itself that we did
not open that year....I know I speak for many many people throughout the
Londonderry thanking my family, especially, Lil and Pete for some
Jeff Isaac, May 2004: I live in Londonderry, and read about Birchwood on your website. I dropped by the area, expecting to find nothing, however, I did find one lift mostly intact. I am not a downhill skiier, so I don't know what type of lift it was, but the cables were approx. 10-15 ft off the ground where they were attatched to the towers. I also found a collapsed wooden structure near the bullwheel at the bottom. After a little bit more exploration, I found another similar collapsed structure, however no bullwheel. The area where I found the bullwheel was also fenced in by a (rotting) wooden fence. There were also some joints from where the snowmaking pipes were, and I even found a valve at the bottom to be intact and still operable! I did not have a camera with me, so I could not take any pictures, but if anyone would like to go out and explore the same area, I went down West Parrish Dr. (Off of Hardy Rd) and took a left. Near the end is a street that goes down to the right. It is paved for about 500 yards (if I remember correctly) and then turns to dirt. At the end, there are a few storage containers, and if you keep going into the woods you will walk into the lift cables. This ski area closed before I was even born, but from what is left, I'd say it was a nice little ski area. It is a pity that it had to close.
David Breault also remembers quite a bit about this lost ski area:
"I am writing to add some input on the old Birchwood Ski area in Londonderry. It was an area that my ex-wife instructed at and was a wonderful family recreational ski area. It had 2 t-bars and the lodge was located at the top of the hill. It was owned and operated by the owners of Derry Paving, though their names escape me at this time.
One of the principal instructors was a gentleman named Bill Kohut, who when he was hired had just finished a stint with the U.S. Olympic Skiing team having participated assisted the team in Lake Placid. He was an incredible skiing instructor and brought much experience to the children of many local families who were embarking on their first skiing experiences.
Many of the families whose children attended Birchwood ski school went on to ski at sites like Pat's Peak, Loon, and even Wildcat.
It was a great experience being involved with the families and many friends whom I still have the opportunity to see from time to time. Birchwood, though very small had a large heart for the community."
I often skied
Julia Denton: I was so pleased and saddened to read all about Birchwood. It was a walk down memory lane as I grew up just 3 or so blocks from Birchwood in the “Kings” development. This is where I developed the passion for skiing and the love of the cold winter air. Although, Birchwood discontinued service years ago, I wanted to express to the former owners how much it meant to me to be able to learn to ski at their area. I am now in Colorado primarily because of that intense passion for skiing and the outdoors. The only job that ever really improved my quality of life was one that involved working in the ski industry. This was primarily because of that passion that I developed for skiing at your little area. I am much different level of skiing, but still hold dear to my heart the little area that taught my brothers and me to love skiing. Thanks for helping me develop a passion in life.
Steve Cronin: I remember Birchwood Ski Area in Londonderry. Reading Peter's description brought back some great memories. I remember Pete when he was a little guy. I instructed at Birchwood from 1983 until it closed. I have run into Lil (Peters Mom) on several occasions and Bruce who used to work at the area. The unique thing about Birchwood was that everyone was made to feel welcome and part of the family. Lil always had a smile and Peter's dad (Pete) always had a joke or a laugh with that big handshake. I remember making snow on Christmas night with Pete Sr and Bruce in I believe 1984. After an all night battle so the area could open at least one trail, we sat outside the front door to the lodge the next day enjoying a cold beer and watching the snow run down the hill as it was approaching 45 degrees. It was heart breaking for all that knew the area when the news went out that the snowmaking pipes were stolen and the area would close. Pete, Lil, Little Peter, The Daughters (their names escape me but Lil told me they were living somewhere down south) Big Pete's brother Dave and all the rest of the Birchwood family thanks for the memories. You can't imagine how many of the little kids sliding around and falling are now accomplished skiers and teaching their little to enjoy the great sport of skiing.
Patrick Sullivan found this area during the summer of 2000. Here's what he found:
#1 T-bar lift found:
Maintenance shop doors found near top
Rope tow found
Looking for maintenance shop
Looking for #2 T-bar
Found part of snowmaking line
No groomer/packer found
Bill Coyne III: We moved to Londonderry in 1980 and immediately found Birchwood. My family got involved right away. My brother, sister and I all learned to ski at Birchwood and became members of the Birchwood Bombers our second year. My father was on the ski patrol and my mom helped out in the lodge. It was a great family environment. We spent nearly every day there during ski season, changing our clothes in the closet downstairs after school or karate. We did homework in the lodge and made some great friends. We also caused alot of trouble with Pete and some of the other Bombers. I now ski instruct at Loon Mountain, but remember our days at Birchwood very fondly. While having a very favorable experience at Loon, it has been impossible to find the same kind of family oriented environment anywhere else.
Here is one source with information about this area:
(Eastern Ski Map)
Birchwood is touted as being the first area off of Rte 93 (which it was for NH, not for the entire Rte 93, as Boston Hills is basically right off 93).
Located just minutes from the Mass border via I-93 at exit 4, a family oriented ski resort specializing in well groomed slopes and enjoyable terrain at economical prices. A full service resort conveniently close to home with a friendly staff interested in your enjoyment.
2 T-bars, 2 slopes, 2 trails,
novice and intermediate level, packer, snowmaking.
Ski school patrol, nights, rentals, nursery, 171 foot drop, NW exposure.
|Here is the Terraserver image of Birchwood:|
The area has been completely cleared and developed. However, Patrick Sullivan took these great pictures of the area before that happened. Click on each thumbnail for a closeup:
A T-bar tower covered in vines
Another tower in the woods
A closeup of a tower
A sheave train from a tower
Lights for night skiing
Patrick Sullivan near a tower
|Birchwood is now a new housing development called Parrish Hill. Part of the t-bar is piled up along the roadside. Here is a picture of it taken 7/15/01, from Betsy.||
Anybody else remember this one?
Last updated: March 5, 2007
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