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A lift footing in the base area (2010)
Diamond Hill
Cumberland, Rhode Island
Status: Lost/Defunct
First Season:1940s
Last Season:1980s
Vertical Drop:275 feet
Standing Lifts:0
Past Lifts:2 doubles, surface lifts
Left: A lift footing in the base area (2010)
Recent NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News:
Located on 481 foot Diamond Hill in Cumberland in northeastern Rhode Island, Diamond Hill ski area was in operation for nearly four decades.

Early Years

The groundwork for skiing at Diamond Hill likely dates back to 1935, when Philip Allen, C. Faulkner Kendall, and Henry Munroe Rogers offered 235 acres of land to the State of Rhode Island. It is possible that a steep ski trail may have been cut as soon as 1936 or as late as 1938. A novice slope was added for the 1939-40 season.

Plans for a rope tow may have been in place as early as 1938, however it is unlikely that Diamond Hill had lift served skiing in the 1930s. A rope tow may have been installed in either 1940 or 1941, at which point the parking area was improved.

Growth and Lease

Ducks crossing the Diamond Hill access road (1960s)
Ducks crossing the Diamond Hill access road (1960s)

With the skiing boom taking place all over New England in the 1960s, Diamond Hill was no exception. Ski Valley opened on the back side of Diamond Hill for the 1961-62 season. Meanwhile, at some point in the early 1960s, the state likely invested significant funds in a snowmaking system at Diamond Hill ski area. While one or more seasons may have seen operations in excess of 90 days, the red ink was accumulating. After decades of losses, the State of Rhode Island leased Diamond Hill to private operators for the 1965-66 season. A T-Bar may have been installed for the 1966-67 season. While a new chairlift was rumored for the 1967-68 season, it was still a few years away.

A sizeable expansion took place for the 1970-71 season, when a new trail was cut, snowmaking was expanded, and two double chairlifts installed. Unfortunately for Diamond Hill, the expansion coincided with multiple bad winters.

Stanley Marszalkowski, owner of nearby Klein Innsbruck in Massachusetts, likely leased Diamond Hill in 1976-77. It is thought that the chairlifts were removed soon thereafter, one of them likely finding its way to Mt. Watatic, MA and later Temple Mountain, NH.

Closure

Diamond Hill may have been operated by the state or town as a rope tow area in the late 1970s and early 1980s, though with limited success due to poor winters. The ski area likely ceased operations prior to 1982. Neighboring Ski Valley closed following the 1984-85 season.

The Town of Cumberland acquired Diamond Hill State Park from the State of Rhode Island in 1997. Since then, Diamond Hill Park has been gradually improved to provide residents with many outdoor activities, such as baseball, hiking, and the CumberlandFest.

Image Gallery
1967-68 Eastern Ski MapJanuary 10, 1968 New London Day
View All Images in Diamond Hill Image Gallery

Lifts
Click on lift name for information and photos
Standing Lifts
Installed

Past Lifts
Seasons
Bottom footings from the double chair in 2010
Double Chair
Heron-Poma
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1970-71
-
Bottom footings from the double chair in 2010
Double Chair
Heron-Poma
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1970-71
-
T-Bar

T-Bar
1966-67
-
1969-70

Year by Year History
Adult Weekend Full Day Lift Ticket; Adult Full Price Unlimited Season Pass
1970s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1970-71$6.001970-71 Ticket Price Graph1970-71 Season Pass Price Graph1970-71 Skier Visit Graph
1969-70$3.501969-70 Ticket Price Graph1969-70 Season Pass Price Graph1969-70 Skier Visit Graph
1960s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1967-68$3.501967-68 Ticket Price Graph1967-68 Season Pass Price Graph1967-68 Skier Visit Graph
1962-63$1.501962-63 Ticket Price Graph1962-63 Season Pass Price Graph1962-63 Skier Visit Graph

Visitor Memories
"The Pelletier kids all had season passes. This is where we learned how to ski. My brother Richard worked in the ski shop with the Benz family. Richard used to race down the big hill. We thought he was so cool! Wonderful childhood memories!"
Patty Pelletier, Dec. 7, 2016
"I grew up across from the ski area. One of my best memories.are looking out my bedroom window at the slopes with all the lights on making snow. My bad memory is looking out my bed room window and seeing the old lodge ablaze and Mr Costigan trying to save his little dog.Now about the big hill. If you could ski that you could ski anywhere"
Ron Schofield, Dec. 29, 2015
"I grew up in Pawtucket, RI and learned to ski at Diamond Hill in the early 60's. We first went to Diamond Hill to rent toboggans. They had toboggan chutes. This was after Squaw Valley Olympics but before the Innsbruck Olympics. There was the 'Big Hill' and the 'Little Hill'; they only had rope tows. The little hill was all we little kids could handle. To take the Big Hill to the top you had to be heavy enough and strong enough to take it to the top. The rope, without skiers, would be perhaps 10-15 feet above the ground at the point where the slope went up 'the steep part'; so kids would sit on the rope to stay in contact with the snow. Once you were going up 'the steep part', you were holding on for dear life as the rope was now trying to drag you up 'the steep part' while the rope twisted in your hands. Toward the top if you were still holding on you now had to fight the rope as it tried to pull you down to the level of the snow. It was a real triumph to ride the tow to the top. I recall a rope tow ticket costing $1.25 for night skiing."
Rudy Jaworski, Nov. 27, 2015
"I remember my brothers walking to Diamond Hill to ski after school from the plat across the street many winters ago, in the 1960s. Always amazed by their conquering the 'Big Hill', I soon followed, as their younger kid sister. The stories of the rope tow tearing up our mittens, falling off of the J and Tbars with the embarrassment of stopping the lift, and the memorable aroma of the 'warming hut' with the wood stove and hot chocolate for sale and wet wool socks in rubber boots are enough to make an 'old lady' revel in the good ole days. Thanks, Diamond Hill, Ski Valley (the only night skiing) and for friends and family that made those years amazing. So sorry to hear that these areas are now closed down."
Kim (Black) Upton, Jul. 18, 2015
"Diamond Hill was on the back side of Ski Valley. As a child, we skied at Ski Valley because Diamond Hill was too steep for us. On the way to Ski Valley, we would drive by Diamond Hill, which probably had a chairlift and, to us, looked like a huge mountain with a main, wide trail as steep as a cliff. I think I may have skied there once or twice while in high school college, though we mostly went to Klein Innsbruck on Thursday nights at the time, but I do remember my brother, at least once, taking on the 'beast' of Diamond Hill with a friend."
Jeff M, Feb. 3, 2015
"I didn't ski enough to dare the 'big hill', but in the 50's there was definitely a rope tow on the smaller hill. The tow was right beside the toboggan shute."
Nancy Smith, Oct. 8, 2014
"I learned to ski at Diamond Hill and remember the rope tow pulling me up into the air between the gentle part and the steep part. My goal was always to follow someone with some heft to hold down the rope. I loved Diamond Hill."
Sharon Tomaselli, Feb. 24, 2014
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External Links
  • Diamond Hill - FranklinSites.com Hiking Guide
  • Diamond Hill Reservation Ski Area - New England Lost Ski Areas Project
  • Last updated: June 13, 2016

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