'Lost' ski areas recalled


Includes now-revived Mt. Prospect



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Bill Ghelli, left, of Lancaster, who operates the rope tow for the Mt. Prospect Ski Club — formerly a “lost” ski area — and Jeremy Davis, who gave a slide-talk drawn from his recently published paperback book — “Lost Ski Areas of the White Mountains” — posed together on the terrace of the Summit Lodge at Weeks State Park. (Photo by Edith Tucker) (click for larger version)
August 05, 2009
LANCASTER — Jeremy Davis, a Lyndon State College graduate originally from Chelmsford, Mass., who majored in meteorology and works for a private weather forecasting company, gave a slide-talk —"Lost Ski Areas of the White Mountains" — on Thursday night as part of the weekly summertime series in the Summit Lodge at Weeks State Park.

Mr. Davis' talk was based on his book of the same title published in 2008 by The History Press (www.historypress.net). He won the 2009 International Ski History Association's Cyber Award for his efforts in setting up and operating the New England Lost Ski Areas Project (NELSAP), a large online resource (http://www.nelsap.org) that now also maintains a Facebook and twitter presence.

Mr. Davis credits the New England Ski Museum at Franconia Notch, of which he is a board member, as playing a key role in his continued success in documenting the history and locations of ski areas that no longer operate as they were built to be.

Since one of the formerly "lost" — but now revived — ski slopes is on Mt. Prospect, Bill Ghelli of Lancaster was also a featured speaker and showed a 12-minute DVD of the 1995 Valentine's Day races sponsored by the Mt. Prospect Ski Club.

Sinclair Weeks leased the slope to the Club before the family donated the 400-plus-acre park to the state in 1940, Mr. Ghelli said. Back in the late '30s, Lancaster, which was served by the Boston and Maine Railroad, had envisioned itself becoming a mecca for skiers and other winter sports enthusiasts and boasted at least three other ski slopes, including Mt. Pleasant and Cook's Hill, he explained. Mt. Prospect than had a 900-foot rope tow and also ran a 10-skier shuttle up the Auto Road.

Over this past winter, he said, the slope was open for 23 days on weekend afternoons, drawing between 20 to 40 skiers who greatly enjoyed low-cost family-oriented "time on the hill." Mr. Ghelli praised the town's taxpayers for supporting this winter recreational activity.

The Club operates under a two-year state-issued special use permit. The Club's application to build a warming hut that would be larger and warmer than the yurt that is now used was turned down by the state, but the Club plans to submit a revised application.

Phil Bell, of Beech Hill Auto who is a member of the Twin Mountain-Bretton Woods Historical Society, pointed out that Twin Mountain once boasted two ski areas, now both lost: one behind the Carroll Motel and Cottages on Route 3, and the other behind the Red Barn on Route 115.

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