North Woodstock Tow
Woodstock, CT
1946-early 1950's

History ~ Current Photos ~ Memories


We first heard of this area from Keith Gordon, and have recently learned much more from Dick Kenyon. Here's what Dick has to report:

I recently reviewed the NELSAP entry for this tow and realized that I had included some recollections by Don Brown and Burt Devries of the Woodstock area in my book “Miles Behind, Miles Ahead”. Re-reading those accounts I found Don Brown referring to a “Gordon” as a skiing companion and thought it might coincidentally be the Keith Gordon who submitted the only comment so far on the tow at North Woodstock. I checked with Don Brown but it wasn’t so. His reference is to a friend whose first name was Gordon.

Here are Don Brown’s words as they appear in my book:

“We really started skiing in earnest when some of the older guys built a ski tow I the next town of North Woodstock. It was a tractor or car engine on a frame with a pulley the rope went around. As I remember it, wheels were attached to poles and trees in a straight line for the rope to go over. The frame with the engine was anchored at the bottom of the hill. There was a safety shut-off near the frame in case your clothes got tangled in the rope. It worked pretty good but not to OSHA specifications. We skied at this place most of the time but made day trips to Mount Snow or Stratton Mountain five or six times a year.” (p. 30. “Miles Behind, Miles Ahead, A Collection of Skiers’ Reminiscences.”)

Don also provided the attached photographs of the N. Woodstock Ski Tow which also appear in my book (on the right). From a close look at the one showing the tow and tow line I think the drive engine must have been in the shed seen at the top, which Burt DeVries refers to as having burned down. Therefore, Don’s recollections seem to be incorrect as far as the location of the engine is concerned. (Attachments)

Here are Burt DeVries’ words as they appear in my book:

“My first experience with a rope tow was when I went skiing with Don Brown in North Woodstock. The hill was small but rather steep for us novice skiers. It had a small jump made with a pile of snow. Others seemed to be going over it without any problems so I decided to give it a try. I made it off the jump okay but the next thing I knew, I was headed down the hill head first on my stomach. Boy, one of “Life’s Darkest Moments.” A few years later the shed that housed the engine that operated the rope tow burned down, ending that ski tow.” (p. 42. “Miles Ahead, Miles Behind, A Collection of Skiers’ Reminiscences.”)


Current Photos

On 25 August 2005 I (Dick Kenyon) visited Don Brown and Bert Devries. Don and I visited the location of the North Woodstock tow, behind the cemetery as described by Keith Gordon. The hill behind the stone wall at the rear of the cemetery is now forested but Don pointed out where the tow had been and I snapped a picture, on the right.

I also took a picture of the stone wall that bounded the outrun area of the tow. The North Woodstock tow was located on the hill behind the stone wall. The hill is totally reforested.
 The third photo is taken showing part of the cemetery in the foreground. The tow was straight up the hill behind the trees.


Thanks to Keith Gordon we first heard of this area that operated in Woodstock. Here are his details on the area:

I grew up in North Woodstock, Conn., in the NE corner of the state. In the late 40's there was a ski area there with a rope tow and one wide trail. It was behind the cemetery on the L side of the road from N Woodstock to Quinebaug, Conn. I'll bet there isn't a trace of it there now.

Oden Johnson appered in Dick Kenyon's book as well. Here's what he recalled:

"When I was about twelve years old I got a pair of skis for Christmas which were quite a bit too long for me. They were entirely coated with plastic and were very fast. I had to take every run straight down the hill. There was a steep hill in North Woodstock which had a rope tow driven by a car engine. There was a knoll at the base of the hill where spectators stood and beyond that a down slope to a stone wall and cemetery beyond. I'd go straight down the hill, over the knoll past the spectators, over the stone wall and into the cemetery. Luckily, I never collided with the monuments."

Does anybody else remember this area?

Last updated: September 5, 2005

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