History Memories 2002 Pictures 2007 Pictures
|In October of 2007, NELSAP
spoke to Doug and Wendy Hardy, who live at
the ski area. Doug's parents, Dave and Pam Hardy, currently own the
property. The Hardy's received the property after the ski area's founder, Russ
McLaughlin, left it in his will. Much of the below history comes from
Doug, who graciously told the history of the area to us in an interview.
As a kid, Doug Hardy was always helping out on the lifts, mowing, and
Woody Glen....what a fun little area this was! Opened for the 1968-1969 by educator/teacher Russ McLaughlin, this ski area catered to families and novices in the area. Russ has been described as "one of the nicest guys you'd ever meet" by Doug. Russ was "one of those guys that would remember everybody's name.". He had lived in Alaska for several years, and still remembered their Alaskan names.
Originally, the area was just a short rope tow that served a wide open slope. This rope tow had to be hung on the lift towers each night so it would not freeze to the ground. The area is one of the very few upside down ski areas - with a lodge and parking at the top. The lodge was small, with just one bathroom for everybody, and shared the same septic tank as Russ' house! There were a few ski patrol members as well.
|This topo map shows the original ski area and the shorter rope tow.||
|In the early 1970's, Dave
Hardy, Doug's father, took over the management of the area, volunteering his
time. Russ McLaughlin still owned the area at this time.
During the operating years of the ski area, Russ would often take his school's students to the area so they would learn to ski. A "Yes I Can" special needs school used the property during the summer months. learn to ski program for special needs students was also held at Woody Glen for many years.
In 1988, the T-bar at the former Tyrol Ski Area in Jackson, NH was purchased and dismantled, all by hand. The towers were unbolted, taken down on tires, disconnected, and hauled back to Woody Glen. The T-bar was then reinstalled at Woody Glen by Russ and Bill Currier, along the old rope tow lift line down the hill, which extended the vertical from less that 100' to 250'. The length of the lift was 1500'. All new trails were cut from the old rope tow slopes to the bottom of the T-bar. Some of these trails had tree islands and gladed areas. The trail map on the left from 92-93 shows the newer trails below the upper, original wide open slope.
|Maintenance became an issue during the last several years of operation. It became harder and harder to keep the trails mowed, the lift maintained, etc. Insurance became a huge issue too. The annual payment of $6000 was due in October - before any revenue could be taken in. It would take a minimum of 50 skiers a day, every day, just to break even on insurance. The insurance policy also forbade other sports, like sledding or snowmobiling. Throw in the cost of lighting for night skiing, grooming, equipment, taxes, etc - and this all took a toll on the area. Snowmaking was not found at this area, so that was not a factor. The owner, Russ, would often have to pay for these costs out of his own pocket.||
A 1992-1993 brochure of the area that I got when I visited the area. I never skied it - just made it right when they closed at 4pm. Click on each half for the larger version.
|In 1994-1995, I
(Jeremy) wrote to the
owner about Woody Glen. Here's what he had to say:
We are a small all volunteer family ski area with the ability to do what the big areas do except make snow. We do not have the megabucks to plow back into vast visible trails, buildings, and equipment.
To answer your question about changes, we can not afford to hire work to be done. Our work crew consists of a grand total of 2-Dave and I working mostly on weekends. On our Easy Street trail we put in a 5 ft. high 20 X 15 foot mogul, widened Devil's Edge trail, added to and improved our rental equipment, put up new signs, purchased a three gang powder maker, snow broom and compactor, installed a new ticket system and improved the parking and skating area. Then there is the mowing, painting, getting firewood, and cutting the forest. We try to seek out a little time for just plain living. Thank you for your inquiry.
Sincerely, Russ McLaughlin.
A bad snow year, combined with insurance and high maintenance costs, closed the area for good at the end of the 1995 season. Russ McLaughlin passed away a few years later, and left the area to the Hardy family. The snowcat was sold to the Veteran's Memorial Ski Area, which is still in operation today. The lodge became the Petrie Inn, which never took off - they had maybe 3 visitors! The lodge is a house now.
The Hardy family lives on the property today. They still have all the T-bars, rental skis, and poles. The boots had to be tossed out as the passage of time took their toll. Snowmobilers are allowed to pass through the area today. Horses keep the upper slopes clear, but the lower slopes have grown in quite a bit since my 2002 visit (pictures below).
Woody Glen was an excellent example of a small, family ski area that served many during its 25 or so years of operation. Its a shame that it closed - New England needs more places like this!
Dan Yance wrote to us in 2004. His father's cousin was Russ McLaughlin:
My dad’s cousin (I called him Uncle Russell even though he wasn’t theoretically my uncle) owned Woody Glen Ski Area. Some interesting facts about the place is that the barn was school for the mentally retarded in the summer time. The school was called “Yes I Can!”. Some people may remember seeing the barn on the top of the hill to the left if you were facing down the hill. The lodge had sleeping arrangements for about 10 or 12 people upstairs. Basically the attic was converted into a large sleeping area. We used to stay in the living area of the lodge, which was adjacent to the restaurant as that was where the wood burning stove was. I don’t remember there being any other source of heat. But, I could be wrong.
It originally had a rope tow and then a T-bar was put in the last two or 3 years it was open
Uncle Russell closed the place because the insurance to open the place became too expensive. Too bad since it was where I learned to ski and I loved the place as a kid because there were never more then 20 people on the mountain. Uncle Russell passed away about 5 or 6 years ago
Justin Haber remembers this area: I skied there a few times in the '70's, when it was much smaller, not much more that a large field, and had only a rope tow. I last drove by it again, last summer, but didn't realize that it had closed
|I visited the area on Mar 30, 2002 after skiing Ragged with my brother Nate. Here's the base lodge, which was the Petrie Inn. I asked someone in there for permission to check out the area, she said ok, just be careful.||
||The top of the T-bar, which originally came from Tyrol, NH.|
|Looking down the main slope. Not that bad of a view!||
||Halfway down the T-bar, looking up the slope to the lodge.|
|From the same point as the picture above, looking down. Notice the lights for night skiing.||
||Looking down to the base of the T-bar.|
Doug and Wendy Hardy, the present landowners of the ski area, sent NELSAP some terrific photos of the area in early fall, 2007. They show both the ski area, and the storage barn and its contents. Please click on each image to view the larger version.
|Storage barn. Note the Woody Glen sign above the window.||Another side view.||Posters inside the barn.||Ski Patrol equipment.|
|Various signage.||The original Woody Glen dump truck!||Tons of ski poles remain.||T-bars look ready for use, minus some dust.|
Ski Area Views
|Looking down the main slope.||The main slope and the views in the distance.||From the top of the T-bar - note the shadow of the bullwheel.|
|The old lodge.||Top of the T-bar.|
If you have more information on this area, just let us know.
Last updated: October 31, 2007
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