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Many thanks to Jeremy Clark
who wrote up this excellent history of Page Hill. We also appreciate
David Bowles for providing information, photos, and fact checking on this page!
The Page Hill Slope may have started as an alpine ski area as early as 1929.
While the area did not have a lift at this point, (this would have been a few years prior to the Woodstock, Vermont rope tow and Uncanoonuc, New Hampshire incline railway), it soon had an 800 foot long Model A powered rope tow on the skier's right of the slope. The CCC was said to be instrumental in the development of the area in the 1930s.
William Gallagher owned the land and let the Tamworth Outing Club ski here.
Page Hill was the center of Tamworth's local ski industry. New skiers would learn on Dr. Remick's open slope, while most other skiers would ski the Page Hill slope on weekends. Page Hill hosted numerous grammar school, high school, and college slalom races, while the nearby Mt. Whittier CCC ski trail was used for giant slalom competitions (the CCC trail was located on Mt. Whittier in Tamworth, not the nearby Nickerson Mountains where the Mt. Whittier ski area was later built). Future Olympian and Waterville Valley Resort founder Tom Corcoran often skied at Page Hill.
A 500 foot long rope tow was later added to the west of the main rope tow. Due to its short length and the terrain it served, it rarely operated.
The original warming hut, located opposite the bottom of the main rope tow, was slanted. As a result, it tended to fill with some from the fires. Years later, a new hut was constructed above it. A poem from an unknown author posted inside the hut was memorized by many of the young skiers, some of whom can still recite it over a half century later.
As larger areas started to open nearby in the late 1950s, work was done to keep skiers at Page Hill. After a noticeable exodus of skiers to the larger areas with trails in 1958, some very narrow trails were cut, including the infamous Bowles Trail. Located to skier's right of the main rope tow, portions of the trail were no wider than 3-4 feet.
Night skiing was available near the end of Page Hill's years, with locals using flares and torches to illuminate the slope.
The crushing blow to Page Hill was insurance. By the mid to late 1960s, the cost of insuring the slopes exceeded the revenues. As a result, Page Hill closed sometime around 1967 or 1968.
Located on the northern slope of Page Hill, just above Page Hill Road, the ski area mainly consisted of a large, open slope. Due to the location of the hill, the views from it were tremendous, with the Sandwich Dome, Mt. Whiteface, Mt. Passaconaway, Mt. Paugus, and Mt. Chocorua all towering above.
The ledgy top portion of the slope had nearly a 40 degree pitch. Looking down the slope, the main rope tow was on the right, with one narrow trail beyond it. To the left, at the bottom, was the second rope tow and the two warming huts. A large pine tree and boulder were located between the huts and the bottom of the main rope tow. The area was operated on leased property by the Tamworth Outing Club.
A skier on the Page Hill slope
The original Page Hill warming hut
An old racing poster (including GS on the Mt. Whittier Trail in Tamworth)
After decades of tree growth, the Page Hill Slope is all but lost. There are still excellent views from the ledges at the top of the slope. Remains of the huts, as well as a possible rope tow engine, can still be found.
Possible remains of the rope tow engine (2008)
Remains of one of the original base area hut (2008)
The view from the top of the slope (2008)
On November 12, 2008, the Tamworth Historical Society presented 'Tamworth Remembers Page Hill Ski Area' at Runnells Hall in Chocorua. Scores of people attended, sharing memories, photographs, and film footage of the storied ski area. Forty years after closing, Page Hill Ski Slope is still near and dear to the closely knit town of Tamworth.
few NELSAP readers have more info:
remember a little bit more information on this lost area: I don't
remember a whole lot about skiing at this area, I was a small child in the
middle 60's. My aunt worked there in the afternoons and we would ski there with
her. I seem to remember a rope tow and maybe a Poma or J-bar. The area was
located on Page Hill Rd. which runs from Tamworth Village to Chocorua Village
over the slope of Page Hill. The ski slope was on the South side of the road
just at the height of land. I went by there just a few days ago and didn't see
much from the car, but I was in a hurry. I'm sure there are many folks up there
who remember it.
Phil Moore: I too
spent many years as a child in the 1940's learning how to ski at Page's Hill. It
was run by the Tamworth Outing Club (still in existence). All day tickets were
75 cents for children and $1.50 for adults. The tickets were unique in that they
were fastened to your ski clothing with a somewhat odd rivet-like device. There
were two rope tows (although generally only one was operating). There was a
small warming hut that sold coffee , cocoa and hot dogs. Myself and several
family members (sisters , cousins, parents, aunts & uncles) all used to ski
there in the 1940's before we "graduated" to Belknap (now Gunstock)
and Mt. Whittier. Our Uncle Russ Martin served in the 10th Mountain Division and
upon his return from WW II began to teach us all how to ski.
There are no remnants left of that ski
hill now. Up until about 25 years ago (or so) one could still make out the old
slope when coming down Rt. 16 South (just below the hill that overlooks Chocorua
Lake). I remember that cars were parked right on the roadway and that we walked
thru the woods (there was a stone wall--remnants of which still exist) to the
base of the open slope. I also remember that at the end of the day we used to
get flattened out cardboard boxes from the warming hut and we would ride up the
rope tow on them and then careen down the hill. I remember that after having
rode the rope tows all day in the Spring, we would have ski clothing and gear
hung all around our camp (on Ossipee Lake) in order to get the stuff dried
out--- the rope tow itself of course got soaking wet on "corn" snow
days! Then we would do it all over again the next day.
Page Hill ski area was near the peak of the
road known as Page Hill Road which runs between Chocorua and Tamworth. There is
now a road which bears off to the left from Page Hill Road (when approaching
from the Chocorua side) that did not used to exist. I think that road may have
obliterated some of the access walkway to the old ski Hill.
T. Parker Gallagher:
My grandfather, William W. Gallagher, purchased Page Hill in the early
1930's. As one of your folks wrote, the Tamworth Outing Club operated the
ski area until the 1950's. As a child in the 60's, I spent many hours
climbing around and through the base "lodge" and the shacks at the top of
the hill where the Ford chassis' for the rope tows were housed. Our family
sold the property in 1998, but you could still find some of the steel rims
for the rope guides on the big pines on the East side of the slope. Some of
the relics of the tows were still distinguishable.
If you go to
Google satellite maps, type in
510 Page Hill Road Tamworth NH (a fictitious address) you will see a
granite ridge south of the road. Just to the right of it, between it and
Page Hill Road, you will see a lighter patch of forest. This is the "new"
growth where the ski slope used to be. On the right side, there are a
number of big old pines. The tow ran up along those pines.
There is still access to that ledge. When we sold the property, we required
the new owners to grant foot access up the old carriage road to the top of
the hill. Again, on Google maps, if you type in
750 Page Hill Road Tamworth NH
, that is the approximate location of
the carriage road. Once on the summit, facing Mt Chocorua, the ski area was
to the right. The old Ford chassis may still be there!
The property was owned
by my grandparents who leased it to the TOC for $1 a year. The old
truck, which furnished the power, was at the top of the hill, making a
tough climb for the person in charge of starting the lift. Right after
WWII, when we were
able to drive up, friends and I would ski there regularly, partly
because the price was right, partly because the only other choice early
on was Cranmore which was crowded, partly because the hill was steep and
reasonably challenging, partly because the tow was fast and uncrowded,
partly because it was only a mile down the road. Unfortunately, the
speed of the tow and the steepness of the hill were VERY hard on
mittens, even the deerskin ones. Later, the appearance of Wildcat,
Black Mtn, Thorn Mtn and
Whittier reduced the appeal of Page Hill except for my very young
children who learned to ski there.
Al Campagna: I
started skiing at
Cranmore in 1955, but pretty soon the lines got really
long (only the "skimobile" cars ran in those days), and the prices
went up considerably. We were a bit poor in those days, so it was
off to Page Hill for more "affordable" skiing. My sister and I
skied Page Hill for several years, probably from 1958-61 or so.
In those days, it was $1/day for kids, but... if you
joined the Tamworth Outing Club (for $2), the price dropped to .50
cents/day! I only remember one rope tow of about 150-200 yards long,
on the left side of the slope.
The warming hut was just a shed with benches against
the wall and a small counter in one corner. That counter was
the "Page Hill Snack Bar", and consisted of a loaf of bread, perhaps
some bologna and cheese, and usually some PB&J. There was no
attendant... you'd make your own sandwich, and whatever you thought
the sandwich was worth, you would place that amount in a paper
cup on the counter. Most folks thought 15-20 cents was a fair
Well, for $.50 a day, we could ski until we dropped!
It wasn't a big slope, but there was never a line, and you just rode
up/skied down/rode up/skied down, etc... all day long! Page Hill
was just a great place to ski.
Phil Moore, who related his memories of Page Hill on
your website: I too would always look up for the old ski slope when
driving south on Rte. 16 from Conway. The years passed, and slowly
but surely, the trees grew over the ski area and eventually it just
blended back into the side of Page Hill.
Do you remember this ski area? If so, please email us
with your details.
Last updated: January 17, 2009
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