Northeast Slopes
New London Slopes
New London, NH

1947 - 1960

History ~ Historical Photos ~ Memories ~ By the Year

The Northeast Slopes, later known as the New London Slopes, was the precursor ski area that led to the development of nearby King Ridge. It was operated by the New London Outing Club, still thriving today, and began operations around 1947.

The area was founded as a means to provide winter recreational activities for both residents and for visitors to the region. Dr. William Clough, the founder of the Outing Club, was one of the most ardent supporters of the ski area. Located on Bunker Road, overlooking Pleasant Lake, the area had a nearly 250' vertical drop and was served by two rope tows. Two main slopes provided downhill thrills, with a few trails as well, including one that descended from nearby Colby-Sawyer College.


The 1956 USGS Topographic map shows the location of the ski area and its proximity to both Pleasant Lake and New London. Courtesy UNH DIMOND LIBRARY Documents Department & Data Center.

1998 view of the former ski area. After 38 years of closure, only the lower slopes are visible, as these are private yards.

By the late 1950's, the area was about as developed as it could be, and members of the Outing Club began to look at other locations nearby for a much larger ski area development. A piece of property on King Hill was available, was purchased, and a ski corporation was formed. That area became King Ridge, which operated for 35 years. The rope tows from the New London Slopes were relocated to the beginner section at King Ridge.

Today, the area has become reforested at the top, with two homes on the lower slopes. The area is private property and thus can not be explored.


Historical Photos

Many thanks to brothers Bill and John Clough, who took the time to meet with me in late January, 2013 and scan some of their family photos of the area. Click on each image for the larger version:

The brothers on the slope, Pleasant Lake in the background.
John Clough at a race.

John on the slope.
John at the warming hut.


Dwight Conant has provided us with a much more detailed history of this lost area:

I lived up the road from the New London Slopes from 1953 until 1959, and I skied there as a youngster from age 9 to age 14.  The area was operated by the New London Outing Club and one of the most ardent supporters was Dr. William Clough, one of whose sons (John) went on to the FIS circuit (now the World Cup).  In addition to the two slopes fed by the big tow, there was a beginner hill fed by a small rope tow.  A trail ran from behind Colby Junior College (now Colby Sawyer) down to the ski area allowing the students to get there on their own, later to be picked up by bus at the bottom.  There was also a 20 meter jump that a friend of mine and I built that was used for several years by the high school team.  Further off in the woods, there was a slalom training hill called "Clough's Bluff".  We had to work our way through the woods to get there, used maple saplings for gates, and climbed for each run.  

As is still done in some ski communities, schools let out on Thursday afternoons for kids to go skiing at the area and take lessons.  We took lessons again on Saturday mornings and then there was a junior race every Saturday after the lessons.  The manager and head instructor there for many years was Laurids Lauridson.  The rope tow and what I believe was an old truck engine was operated by Mr. Messer.  The area was about two miles from town, along Bunker Road uphill from Pleasant Lake.  It was a social center during winter for many people.  Another Doctor, John Ohler, used to go for a few runs at noon in his slacks and tweed coat.  We had a shed where we all left our skis at the area, so it was easy to drop by and take a few runs.  The hut had a small snack bar where you could get drinks, burgers, etc.  In addition to John Clough, there were some other good racers that came off that hill and skied in junior national competitions and did college racing. 

Tom Little: King Ridge is a direct outgrowth of New London Slopes.  Because of its location, on the shore of Pleasant Lake, there was little or no way to expand the "ski tow", as we all called it.  Consequently, in the late 50's, the New London Outing Club, which ran the New London Slopes, started looking for another site, and settled on the King Ridge location.  A corporation was formed to construct and run the new facility, and King Ridge was born.  All the equipment (except the outhouse) from the New London Slopes was moved to King Ridge.  The old warming hut (less the kitchen) became an equipment garage at the new site, and the two rope tows became the lifts for the Big and Little Teacup slopes.  Even the shed where we all stored our skis during the week was moved and retained its original purpose.  (I can't believe we were all so trusting in those days. I don't remember any major losses, though.)  Likewise, fellows like Bill Taylor and Adelbert Messer, who ran the old rope tows, also moved to the new facility.

By the Year:

Year Lifts Trails Other Info Source
1947-1948 New 600' and 900' tow Not listed Off Pleasant Lake 1947-1948 NH Winter Map
1948-1949 900' tow, 600' tow 10 acres of novice to expert open slopes. Enlarged slopes and trails planned for this winter. Good cross country skiing, USEASA certified ski instructor, warming house with canteen. Inquire more from Eliot Clemons, New London Outing Club 1948-1949 NH Winter Map
1949 2 rope tows, one 1200' long serving a 300' drop slope, the other 600 feet long serving a 180 foot drop slope   Arlberg Technique was taught Where to Ski (provided by Wayne Silver)
c1950     Name change to New London Slopes Inferred between sources
1951 1200' tow, 400' tow All classes of skiers, half mile trail. Warming hut, operates daily. Instruction Fri and Sun. Inquire: Lucien Gould, New London 1951 NH Winter Guide
1951-1952 2 tows Slopes, trails, novice and intermediate Ski school, patrol, ice skating Eastern Ski Map
1953 1200' tow, 400' tow All classes of skiers, half mile trail. Warming hut, operates daily. Ski instruction Friday and Sunday. Inquire: Roger Trottier, ski instructor 1953 Ski NH Guide
1959 1200' tow, 600' tow All classes of skiing Operated by New London Outing Club, operates daily. $2.00 all day, $1.00 after 3PM, special group rates. Warming hut, snack bar weekends, ski instruction. Laurids Lauridsen, CSI, Manager 1959 NH For Winter Sports

Last updated: Feb 11, 2013

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