The Keene's
Lord's Hill Ski Area
Etna, NH
Late 1940's-Early 1980's

History ~ Layout ~   By the Year ~ Memories ~ Recent Photos


This ski area started out in the late 1940's as a small, rope tow facility by Bob Keene, at his new hotel, Keene's Lodge in Etna. In the 1960's the ownership changed and the Ashley family ran the ski area, as the number of trails and slopes went from two to five. In 1971 Reg and Nance Pierce purchased the area, and renamed the inn "Pierce's Inn". The rope tow was closed in the early 1980's.

The ski area had a 270' vertical and a long 1300' tow. The elevation of the area ranged from 1100-1370', which helped provide a somewhat longer ski season.

Today, Pierce's Inn is a fine establishment, and can host parties, functions, etc. More information about their history and functions can be found by viewing their website here.

Sadly, both Bob Keene and Reg Pierce have passed away in recent years.

Memories from the Keene and Pierce family can be found below, which describe the ski area in detail.

The cover of the Ashley House brochure, c1960's.

Thanks to Kim Murphy, we now have a much more complete history of this ski area. Kim's family used to own and operate this ski area in Etna, NH. Here's her description:

I'd like to add to your listings - In the 1960s my family owned and ran a private ski area located outside of Hanover/Dartmouth called "Ashley House" located on Lord's Hill in Etna, NH.   The prior owners were the Keene's. The present owners of the Lodge, The Pierces, purchased the area from my parents, however they are no longer open as a ski area.

Kim sent NELSAP a brochure from when it was owned by her family. Here's some more details from the brochure:
The Ski Season at Lord's Hill is enhanced by a natural snow bowl that has made the Hanover area world famous for winter sports.

Our 5 well groomed trails, gentle slopes, and controlled lift line policy add to your skiing pleasure.

A special family ski school operates every year during the Christmas and Washington's birthday holiday weeks.

Certified instructors give complete lessons at all levels of ability, making Ashley House the perfect spot for all the family to enjoy a fun filled holiday.

For the non-skier, many other winter activities offer a welcome change from the routine of city patterns.

Ashley House Offers... you and your family, warm New England hospitality and the charm of our comfortable lodge overlooking the beautiful Connecticut River Valley.

Whether you visit for a week or a weekend, you'll find relaxing atmosphere, scenic beauty, and the color of college festivities at nearby Dartmouth.

You are welcome as a ski enthusiast; as a novice; as a traveler to the White and Green Mountains or as a member of the respected Dartmouth College family.

In our home, you are family members, not just guests. You are also assured of fine accommodations, good food, reasonable rates and a wide choice of interesting things to do. 

Whatever your interests, we extend a cordial invitation to visit with us at Ashley House and come back again and again.

Marge and Harry Ashley

The family around the fire. Kim is the second from the left.

Directions to the Ashley House:

The ski area was well marked on a topographic map. You can see the various slopes on the north-western side of Lords Hill, off of Dogford Road.

In this 1992 Terraserver image, note how the trails were still being maintained, though the area was not operating. A good mix of trails on this 270' vertical ski area.

By the Year-Guidebooks
Year Lifts Trails Other Info Source
1951-1952 Rope Tow Several, novice-intermediate None Eastern Ski Map


John Lord: The Keene's operated a Ski School in the early 1950's. For two consecutive years when I was approximately eight or nine years old, my parents sent me and my younger brother to the Keene's between Christmas and New Years. It was our first overnight camp experience. Our parents took us to the North Station in Boston, where we were greeted by organizers who pinned red ribbons on our parkas. Other young skiers were taking the same train to a different ski school, and they had green ribbons pinned to their parkas. After hugs and tears, all the kids boarded the train (steam powered, I believe) for the ride to White River Junction, Vermont, where greeters directed the red ribbons and the green ribbons to their respective busses.

As I recall, the instruction was given by members of the Dartmouth College Ski Team following the classic Arlberg technique -- snowplow, stem-christie, christie. After copious meals served family style, we played parlor games, or square danced until bedtime.

Having just turned sixty, and still skiing, I look back fondly at over a half century on the slopes, starting at the Keene's Ski School..

Peter Keene: I was happy to see the information on the web site and the update from the Ashley years. I was a helper during the construction phase of the lodge building. In twenty years we added 19 structures or additions! My dad (Peter Keene, who founded the area) was always the builder and mom made the place tick with her great food and hospitality. My formative years were spent dealing with and learning about the "public" and we sure did have fun. I was an instructor during the Christmas Ski School, and proud to say that there were a few talented skiers that went on from The Keene's and made the headlines with their sport.

The rope tow was a wonder to behold as the design was such that the rope did not touch the ground. There were support wheels that carried the rope over crests and the rider had to let go and glide past the supports and then grab again to continue the trip up Lord's Hill. We operated the tow for 8 to ten years without any mishaps with that system. I shudder to think of it being used today.

Susan Hill in 2000: We stay every winter at what is now Pierce's Inn.  Reg and Nancy Pierce bought the inn in the late 1960's/early 70's.  They did operate the ski area which was effectively run as a ski school in the early years of their ownership with as many as 400 students!  The task became too monumental - but they still run a very old fashioned warm welcoming upcountry inn today  - absent the skiing!

Sarah (Pierce) Beguelin in 2000 : My mother and father have owned Pierce's Inn (since 1971) which used to be the Keenes Lodge.  They started out bringing their young family to the lodge in the early 50's and eventually bought the place (interim owner Harry Ashley).  Though the rope tow no longer operates, it is still there and as a family we always wish we could start it up again. 

Bob Keene, who built the place, is still alive and living right down the road.  Much of the original rope tow was made from recycled auto parts he collected - chevy truck engine, old rims from various cars that carried the rope up the mountain, and who knows what else.  My fondest memories are learning to ski on the hill and conquering the rope tow!

(Jeremy note - Cindy Pierce and her husband Bruce Lingelbach now own the area)

Recent Photos

Kent Kurchak was able to hike and explore this area, and took the following photos from October of 2007.
The engine room and warming shack - note the pulley on top of the building.

About halfway from base to the top of the rope tow, showing the pulley and rope.
Top of the rope tow. There are three telephone poles in a teepee.

Closeup of the gear at this tripod.
Gear on the ground at the tripod.

Last updated: Nov. 27, 2007

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