Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Homemade ski tows

If you enjoyed reading my recent entry (or the February newspaper column) about ski lifts, perhaps you would also enjoy a blog entry I wrote four years ago about several of the ski tows my father designed and built.  He was creative and inventive, and he loved to ski.   See my February 2008 posting called "Ski tows."

You might also be interested in some much earlier postings I created for the New England Lost Ski Areas Project (NELSAP).  Long before I started writing columns for the Danvers Herald, I had submitted information about "Locust Lawn," our local ski hill, to NELSAP.  I also scanned old photos and created a personal webpage about skiing at Locust Lawn.   I had forgotten about that webpage until today when I looked again at the NELSAP site.  Under "Locust Lawn - Danvers MA"  it still links to my old page!    I haven't changed that page in 10 years; it looks terribly primitive by today's standards. Maybe someday I'll find time (ha!) to redo the presentation of those photos and memories.

We had such fun skiing on those local cow pasture slopes and riding up those homemade ski-tows!   It is worth remembering!   My experiences at Locust Lawn seem unique, but through NELSAP I've learned there were many, many other small ski operations serving different locales in New England.

Remarkably, NELSAP has been on the web for 13 years now. As of today, NELSAP lists 599 lost ski areas.  I imagine many of them also had locally-made ski lifts of one sort or another -- back in the good-old, do-it-yourself days.


Melissa Marsh Heaver said...

Loved your post on Locust Lawn! I remember skiing there as a small child and the model T at the bottom of the hill. I have one memory of grabbing the rope tow and having it pull my arms forward, and then pulling off my mitten! Thanks for the wonderful memory.
Melissa Marsh Heaver

Sandy said...

Thanks for writing. Yes, that rope tow could pull our clothing because the rope twisted slightly as it moved forward. You had to be careful not to get a loose edge of your jacket or sweater wrapped around the rope. My mother's jacket once got caught so badly that she had trouble extracting herself at the top of the tow and she sprained her ankle in the process. I hope you were able to retrieve your mitten with no harm done.

I remember the slushiness of the rope in springtime when the snow was melting. We'd get splashed as we squeezed the rope, and then the side of my clothes would get wet. Sometimes wet and muddy, too. That didn't stop us from skiing. My father put a metal roller in the ground at the crest of the hill so the rope wouldn't dig into the dirt as it ran over that edge.
- Sandy