The Oldest Ski Area in Maine is Also the Cheapest in the State
When you think of ski resorts in the state of Maine, there are a few that immediate come to mind. Probably the first two you thought of were Sunday River and Sugarloaf, right? Some of the other ski areas that come to mind might be Lost Valley in Auburn and Black Rock in Mars Hill.
Believe it or not, the state used to be filled with small, independent ski areas. In most cases, these were very small operations set up on a very small hill. They may have had a tow rope or a small chair lift, but in a lot of cases, you just had to walk up the hill.
A few of these old-school ski areas are still in business today. And one of these small ski areas is (most likely) the oldest ski area in the state of Maine!
You'll find Powderhouse Hill in the small Maine town of South Berwick. While the ski area's website has several versions of the place's "origin story", it appears that the place started being used as a legit ski area in the late 1930s.
According to one story:
The town-owned and volunteer managed Powderhouse Hill Ski Area got it’s start about 1939, when 24-year-old ski enthusiast William Hardy built the first rope tow on the slope, then owned by Herbie Day. The first tow was much shorter than today’s, but in the late 1950’s, Hardy “rehabbed” an old Model A truck, parked it farther up the hill, and modified a rear wheel to take the rope. Volunteers including Bob Lane, Ben Hill, Malcom Kenney, and Ed Mossman ran the tow from then on. Later, neighbor Basil Heffren, who worked for the phone company, got some recycled telephone poles and set them to carry the cables.
The story goes on to say that in the 1970s, the Model A was replaced by a newer model with an air-cooled engine.
In addition to being the oldest ski area in the state, it is most likely the cheapest as well. Assuming the information on the website is correct, tickets are only $5! Yes, FIVE BUCKS! Keep in mind, they only accept cash, though.
For more information, hours of operation, and current conditions, check out their Facebook page.
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