by Lauren Pidgeon

This is Eleanor Fitzgerald teaching a Ford Sayre skiing lesson.

The Altow Ski Area was a popular place during the winters of the 1940s and 50s. It was located on the land which today is part of Hillside Cemetery, off of Hopson Road.  Many local teens worked at the Ski Tow, cooking food, keeping the fire going, or patrolling the hill. Sometimes one of them would be allowed to operate the tow which was really just a Ford truck engine. If someone fell off the tow then the engine would be put in neutral. When the Ford Sayre program started, kids were taught to ski at Altow before skiing at the Oak Hill or the Skiway.

There was also a cabin at the bottom of the 300ft hill where skiers could warm up by the fire and eat hotdogs and hamburgers. Bill Aldrich remembers selling hot chocolate at the cabin when he was a young boy.

Ski tag for Altow Ski Tow.

Bill Orcutt, who grew up in Hanover in the 1940s, said that his mother didn’t seem to mind when he and his friends went out jumping at Paul Sample’s ski jump. He realized that jumping was probably a lot safer than “wrestling with rope tows”!  Unfortunately we don’t have any photographs of the jump in use.

The Altow Ski Tow in the 1950s