December 31, 2019
Day 8
Skiers: Carla

I had the pleasure of visiting Red Hill Ski Area on their opening day of the 19/20 ski season for my NH Talls & Smalls Adventure. I have been following the Red Hill Ski Club on Facebook and was excited to read they would be open, as most of the smaller areas have not had enough natural snowfall. Doing a little research, I noted many posts suggesting that members bring something to share. I arrived with fresh cinnamon rolls and cookies from my favorite bakery; Peaked Moon Farm in Lincoln, and was graciously welcomed by volunteers and fellow skiers.


Welcome sign posted at the entrance to the ski area


Hand drawn trail map on corrugated cardboard. Rope tow is listed as being 686.4’ in length and runs at a speed of 13.2 MPH, with an elevation gain of 181’.

Red Hill is a small ski area located Moultonborough, New Hampshire, with a southeast facing slope which overlooks Garland Pond. The drive here on took me past Squam Lake and Lake Winnipesaukee, and was both pleasant and scenic. Red Hill was established in the 1950’s and is volunteer/member run ski area. Day passes are not sold at Red Hill, but seasonal membership is very affordable. Membership is $25 per individual or $60 per family. Membership includes unlimited skiing, riding, sliding, skinning, and an expectation of volunteer service so that all can enjoy the great outdoors for the full season.


Left to right: Groomer, storage shed, and lodge

Temps were mild in the mid 30’s with overcast skies and light snow flurries. Recent snowfall established a solid 12” base and spirits were high to get out on the slopes. If powder was a 10, and cement was a zero, I would rate the thickness of this snow a 5 and a bit sticky.


View from base looking up the main slope. Rope tow line to right.


Upcycled ski rack

The rope was fast and I found it best to hold on just before the splice to allow for a better grip as I started to slide back with the movement and increase in elevation. I took two runs on the hill. The first I rode the rope ½ way and assisted a young girl who was having difficulty standing up because the snow was “too fluffy. I popped off my skis to hike closer to her and struggled a bit myself to put my skis back on after she was on her way. My second run to the top dropped me off in untracked snow that hit mid-calf! While this would be true dream conditions for most, I found myself sinking on skinny waist east coast ice carver skis and struggling to control my turns. Backcountry skiers and fat ski fanatics take note- this is your go-to playground! Post MCL injury, this was the first time I ever felt really nervous back on skis…. Red Hill you are small & mighty and I’m pretty impressed that you defeated me!


Nice thick fresh snow! First tracks made by volunteer Dave who fired up the rope tow


Unlimited fresh tracks on the upper slope. Below you can see a couple skinning up through the glades.

Back at base I enjoyed a pleasant conversation with mom Katelyn whose children were having a great time lapping the front slope. Another small world connection, similar to my experience at Veterans Memorial Ski Area, she is a RN at a local hospital where I teach clinical and is also a former school nurse!


Members warming up in the lodge


Large windows with seating face the slope. Members gather here and lunch & dine potluck style “bring something for the grill”.

I spent the remainder of my day chatting with volunteer Dave who has skied here with his family for years. He travels to Moultonborough from Massachusetts every weekend and runs the tow, provides maintenance, patrols, establishes new memberships, and most any other task that may come up throughout the day. Today’s task was burning of a defunct rope in the fire pit. Interesting to note: this rope was donated to Red Hill by the Kanc (area #7 that I visited yesterday). The Kanc rope served Red Hill for many years but needed to put out of service after difficulty repairing the splice. The rope I rode today is new. Dave tells me that Red Hill is 100% volunteer run and is funded solely through membership fees and donations. The trail map pictured above was drawn by himself and his dad, their initials DS & PS can be seen in the top right corner.


Top of the rope tow, rope threaded through a double wheel pulley system

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Look at this beauty! 49 Ford with a Flathead V8 engine that powers the rope tow. Photo courtesy of Dennis Sampson, history courtesy of Dave Sampson

Overall impression: Beautiful location in the heart of the lakes region. Natural terrain with beginner and advanced areas, glades, and conditions. Welcoming community environment with an atmosphere of camaraderie that views membership as making new friends. As a new member, I will certainly come back to visit this season!

Snowy Wishes,
Carla Frontfive
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