Hopedale History
    No. 6
    The Ski Hill

    Thirty-five people responded to my message asking if you'd like to continue receiving
    Hopedale stories.

    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, but 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 time.

    Marge Horton who saw this article, pointed out that Willard Taft was always known as
    Willard, never Willie.

Much  More on the ski hill  

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