The Ski Hill
Thirty-five people responded to my message asking if you'd like to continue receiving Hopedale
stories. You won't see them all listed above, though. I can only send a dozen or so at a time. I'll have
to look into a program that handles things like this better.
I thought this would be a good time for memories of the ski hill. Since I have a link on the Hopedale
site, some of you have probably already looked at the old ski hill site. If you haven't, here's the link
where you can find memories of Steve Rugoletti, Jim Bowen, Robert Biggs and Dick Hensel, as well
as those of Robert Holmes that you see below. Go to the homepage of the site and you can find
memories of many other old ski hills, most of them long gone.
And now, Bob Holmes' story:
Originally, the ski hill was know as Darlings Hill. Not too many people will recall this tidbit. Don't know
why, just was.
I remember the ski hill very well. I have worked on it in the fall of the year to trim out the brush growth,
very similar to the way that snowmobile trails are done today by snowmobile clubs.
The name of our Hopedale club was "Comet Ski Club". You talked about the electric motor that was
removed from the engine hut, that was new in about 1950. Previous to that, there was a 1934
Hupmobile engine. It ran very well, the radiator was a leaker near the end of its life. We had to carry
water up to it, each time that it was to be used.
Also, there was no emergency trip switch, until Donna McGonigle got her scarf wrapped around the
rope and was nearly drawn into the pulley or shiv system. Fortunately, the scarf ripped in half and she
dropped to the ground, very frightened , but unhurt. Needless to say, the emergency shut-off bar was
installed immediately thereafter.
Many of us learned to ski on that little hill. "Willie" Taft probably taught more kids to ski than anybody in
the world, up to about 1950. Willie always skied like a gentleman, with a sport jacket and regular wool
pants, I imagine that he had a sweater or two under the sport jacket, but he was really "cool" as the
kids would say today. There were several others that made the kids feel pretty important. Millard and
Marge Lovejoy, Woody and Jean Biggs, Ben and Barbara Barnes, Warren and Maggie Arnold and
others that I don't recall at this moment. Those were some of the people that used to take us up to Mt.
Sunapee or Hogback for a Sunday of skiing on a real mountain. I could go on for a while longer, but
that is enough Oh, just two more things, the price for the use of the facility was 25 cents if you had it,
don't remember anyone getting sent away if you didn't have the money. The other thing was that we
had lights for night skiing.
This all took place, long before there was a Draper Field, Draper Field was just the town dump at that
Marge Horton who saw this article, pointed out that Willard Taft was always known as Willard, never
More on the ski hill
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