Cemetery Hill

Norwich, VT

1940's -1950's

Thanks to Bill Orcutt for sharing with us the following about Altow Ski Area.

 "I was born in Hanover and started skiing about 1940.  There was a popular hill in Norwich called Altow, run by Al Peavey for several years.  Closed down ca. 1950?  Betsy Snite lived nearby and skied there as did other Olympians, Ralph Miller for one (he was from Hanover) and probably the Dartmouth skiers of the era--Beck, Corcoran, Dodge, Igaya, etc. 

There was one mean rope tow powered by a very loud V-8. The sheaves were, of course, auto wheels hung on wooden posts.  The hill had about a 300' drop.  The rope was as hard to handle as the ropes at Suicide and Mooselauke, but not as long as either. A memorable feature of the ascent of the Altow rope tow was a flat about halfway up. The ascending skier had to let go as the rope went overhead to a sheave that the rope ran over, glide across the flat and then grab the rope at the end of the flat just after the sheave that brought the rope back down (the rope ran under this sheave).

Also, there was a small, maybe 15 m. jump near Altow.  I think Dave Bradley designed it and maintained it.  It was called Sample's Hill, after Paul Sample, the Dartmouth artist-in-residence who owned the property.  Us kids did a lot of jumping at Sample's and at the jumps at KUA in Meriden, at Lebanon, Hanover--all mostly, if not totally lost now.  Our mothers, for reasons we couldn't figure out at the time, didn't seem to mind too mush when we went jumping.  Thinking back, probably our mothers figured jumping was safer than wrestling with rope tows, and without question they were right.
Thanks for a GREAT website!"

D. Briggs remembers Altow also:
It was probably originally owned and developed by a man named Al Peavey. My dad, Fred Briggs and partner Elwin "Phil" Phillips owned it and ran it during the seasons of 1949, 50 , 51 (I think). It was just outside the village of Norwich on a hillside that ran along side a cemetery. After my dad's years it was called Cemetery Hill and now the cemetery has expanded across it's main slope. The warming Hut is still there and is being used by cemetery maintenance staff I think.

This is arguably an important area because of a couple of items:
Ski Magazine was originated in Norwich by Bill Eldred.
Local resident Albert Snite's daughter Betsy went on from Ski Altow days as a young lass to a silver medal at Squaw Valley (trips to train in Switzerland didn't hurt).
I did my very first skiing at Ski Altow as a four-five and six year old. I hated it but now wouldn't give up skiing for anything. My mother who served up hot chocolate in the little log warming hut is still skiing (she's been out more than me so far this winter) at age 78. I would guess that the hill's vertical was about 400 feet and many Dartmouth people enjoyed it. It even had night skiing."

C. Griffiths also remembers...
"Note that you are missing Cemetery Hill in Norwich Vermont.  About a 600 foot
rope tow on a hill behind Al Snite's home in Norwich (father of Olympian Betsy Snite)  We used to go over from Dartmouth both days and night skiing in the 50's and 60's."

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