Ski Tow at Wildwood
1966 - c1985
Bill Merrick: My in-laws have a vacation home in
the town of Tolland Ma, just west of Granville. It is in a private lake
community called Wildwood, which encompasses 700 acres, and 2 ponds. This was
developed in 1966. There is a slope with in there that was cleared,
and used as a ski slope. It had 1 hill, a hut, and what looks like a rope
tow, that was powered by a flathead 8cyl engine. Most of the remains have
been cleared, and the slope is beginning to grow over now.
used to work here: I used to run the ski lift at Wildwood in the early 80's. Our
family owns a cabin nearby. It was shutdown because of
insurance fees in the mid 80's, and was recently removed, warming hut skeleton
still stands (and has since been removed). Hill has reverted back to woods for
the most part.
the ski area from Bill Merrick, Summer, 2002:
Bill took some great
photos of the area during the summer of 2002.
The ski slope as it appears today, quite grown in.
|The remains of the ski
|Well head, ski hut had its
own water supply.
|Remaining ropes from rope
|Remaining cables and
pulley from rope tow.
|Auto rims attached to
trees presumably supported rope tow.
Ellison's Pictures and More History From Karl:
|The motor-house was
powered from a in-line 8-cyl Willys Jeep motor, started with
a 6V car battery. The Transmission from the Jeep was used to power the
pulley system. Low, medium, fast, too-fast were
achievable. If the 'load' of people were
too big, I'd have to shift down a gear and rev the engine a little
more, just like a car climbing a hill. When there weren't too many
people using the life at once, I'd put it into a
higher gear and a lower engine speed to
save gas. If little children were trying the first time, I'd slow
the motor down for them. The exhaust always leaked, and so you didn't
stay in there too long at any time.
If skiers didn't let go at the
top of the hill they'd pass the upper house towards
the return pulley, but would run into a string that was tied across
their path at one end to a tree and the other end
to a household power plug that was shorted
out and plugged into a household outlet mounted on the upper
watch house - all of which was in series with the ignition wire of the
motor. Tripping the string yanked out the
attached plug from the outlet, breaking
the ignition circuit and stopping the motor. Then you had to have
someone (who was SUPPOSED to be up there
monitoring - rarely did we do that in
practice though - took away from skiing time!) put the plug back in
and yell down the hill (or send the 'OK'
message down with a skier). Simple and effective,
and I'm certain was an OSHA/insurance no-no. if the string broke
or a small child slipped under the plug while
their scarf was caught, I don't want to
think about what would have happened!
shows the hill from the base. This used to be cleared with the exception
of 2-3 groups of tall trees. To the right was the motor-house and
the rope tow. To the left is the warming hut,
with full bathroom facilities and a wood
stove and picnic tables.
Picture 360 show a shot from in
the razed warming hut's deck looking towards the
right side of the mountain where you used to see the motor-house and
|You'd start the day
running the decrepit SKI-DO up and down to break the crust
and make it nice. On the way down you'd take the rope off the hooks
that were attached to the trees that lined the
path of the rope. At closing time, you'd
send a kid up one last ride, and on the way down he'd hang the rope
on the tree hooks to get it off the ground so it wouldn't freeze/rot.
Then go home ... Wildwood is a private community
of lakeside cottages, so this was only
open to association members and their guests - nothing
to lock up or worry about up there!
With the memories I had here in
the '70s, I'm very sad to see the place like this.
It used to be bustling with families! The cost of insurance shut it
down in the early 80's. It was set up around