Shelburne Rope Tow
Shelburne/Gorham, NH
Years unknown

This tow was located next to the current Town and Country Motor Lodge in Shelburne, NH. While the tow is now gone, the main slope and several trails are still visible. According to topographic maps, the vertical was 205 feet.

Back in January 2001, Barbara Tetreault interviewed me for an article in the Berlin NH Daily Sun regarding lost ski areas. A follow up article appeared a week or so later. A few readers responded with great information and pictures thanks to the articles, and now we know a lot more about this ski area. Their information appears below, taken from the article.

To read the first article on NELSAP and lost ski areas in the Berlin area, click here.

To read the follow up article on NELSAP, click here.

Looking up the slope in the 1950's.
 Picture from Conrad Aube.

Conrad Aube of Gorham remembers skiing as a youth at the old rope tow ski area just south of the Town and Country Motor Inn in Shelburne. Good mittens for grabbing the rope were a must, he recalled, and an afternoon of skiing cost a dollar.

Conrad Aube provided pictures and recollections of the Shelburne rope tow where he skied from 1943-45. "We would take the Berlin Railway Bus on Pleasant Street in Berlin, got off at junction Route 16 and 2 in Gorham, and walk to the ski tow," he wrote. He said the ski area operated on weekends and, time and weather permitting, some weeknights. He said the tow operated from a small building at the top of the hill which enclosed an old automobile engine with two old transmissions - one behind the other - to reduce the speed needed to operate the tow rope. He said the set-up caused problems for a time because the second transmission was working too hard and would break down frequently. He said eventually a bigger truck transmission was installed and that solved the problem.

Another view of the bottom of the tow.
 Picture from Conrad Aube.

The rope would ride over old automobile wheels. About 20 feet before reaching the building, a swinging gate was installed near the rope. The gate functioned as a safety gate and would shut the engine if moved to prevent skiers from "kissing the building".

"The whole set-up was almost all old auto and truck parts," Aube said. While he noted the set-up was very primitive compared to today's modern ski lifts, Aube said a lot of people enjoyed it. He said on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, the area would be packed with cars.

Here's another view of the area, from Dave Hilton. Looks old, 1930's/1940's.

The area today is clearly visible and is just off Rte 16. Dave Hilton took some pictures of the area in the late 1990's. Here's a view of the main slope.

The rope tow went up on the right side of the slope. Photo by Dave Hilton. Notice the trail on the left.
Here's the Terraserver pic of the area. Notice that there were several windy trails and one main slope. You can see the trail on the left in the photo above.  The Terraserver shot leads one to believe that the area is more grown in. You can clearly see the pipeline which now crosses the area on the left.

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