Snowmaking at Boston Hills in the 1980s
Boston Hills Ski Area
North Andover, Massachusetts
Status: Lost/Defunct
First Season:1948-49
Last Season:1992-93
Vertical Drop:320 feet
Standing Lifts:0
Past Lifts:1 double, surface lifts
Left: Snowmaking at Boston Hills in the 1980s
Recent News:
1/21/2017: Powder Ridge to Offer Synthetic Summertime Skiing
Located on the Salem Turnpike (Route 114) side of 385 foot Boston Hill in North Andover, Boston Hills ski area was a popular ski area for many decades.

Salem Ski Busters and Boston Peak

The radar station (left) and ski area (right) in the late 1950s or early 1960s
The radar station (left) and ski area (right) in the late 1950s or early 1960s

The Salem Ski Busters group was formed in the mid-1930s, attracting members from all over Eastern Massachusetts. Boston Hill's ski history traces back to this group.

In December 1948, word emerged of two Salem Ski Busters (and former Winnipesaukee Ski School instructors), Johnny Anketel and Ray Pressey, reportedly reopening the Clay Pit Ski Tow. Located northwest of Boston Hill, Clay Pit Hill was first developed with a rope tow in 1938 and had reopened in 1947. Reports soon changed, with Anketel and Pressey announcing in January 1949 that they had installed a rope tow (reportedly from Clay Pit) on Boston Hill. Their Boston Peak ski area likely began operating in late January on a slim 2 inch base. Due to poor snowfall, the area sporadically operated in the late 1940s and early 1950s, likely shutting down after the 1953-54 season.

Boston Peak Reopened as Boston Hill

In 1957, a group including Robert Livermore and David Arnold re-established the Boston Peak ski area as Boston Hill. A Boston native, Livermore graduated from Harvard and became a real estate broker. A member of the 1938 United States Olympic ski team, Livermore was involved in the formation of the National Ski Patrol and the 10th Mountain Division, serving in the 87th Regiment in World War II. Arnold, also an alumnus of Harvard, served in the Army during World War II before embarking in a career in the chemical industry.

Leveraging its proximity to Larchmont Engineering, Boston Hill had a snowmaking system that it was constantly tweaking (initially referred to a "snow sprayer"). Snowmaking operations likely started in early December 1957, though mild weather quickly melted it. The area may have operated on a limited basis just before Christmas with "bare spots in manufactured snow." The Boston Globe described it as "not a golf course slope" since it was "steep enough for some good slalom practice." Trails included the East Slope, West Slope, and Novice Slope, served by two rope tows.

Snowmaking on Boston Hill (January 1962)
Snowmaking on Boston Hill (January 1962)

An early employee of the ski area was Bob Dunn, likely as a ski instructor. A veteran of the Army Air Corps during the World War II and Korea era, Dunn attended Boston University and taught high school before starting work at Boston Hill. He soon became manager of the ski area, developing a relationship with the Tropeanos and Larchmont Engineering that fostered new snowmaking technologies.

By mid-February, Boston Hill reported pumping 1,100,000 gallons of water for snowmaking. The 1957-58 season likely extended into late March.

A new novice slope was added for the 1958-59 season, as well as additional parking. The 1958-59 season likely started in mid-December with manmade snow on the novice slope. Marco Stefani served as ski school director. Meanwhile, a radar station was being constructed by the military on the summit of Boston Hill. The operational control station was transferred to the Mitre Corporation in the spring of 1960.

For its third season, a 1,000 foot long J-Bar was installed, the first non-rope tow in Eastern Massachusetts. Expanding to seven-day operations, Boston Hill's trails included The Common, Commonwealth Avenue, and Beacon Street. With its snowmaking system and new lift, the Boston Globe declared it "the most expensive little ski area in the East."

Though the 1959-60 season started on manmade snow the day after Christmas, the J-Bar did not begin spinning until mid-January due to the 1959 Steel Strike. The season also marked the start of midweek ladies days, geared toward teaching housewives how to ski.

The 1960-61 season started in mid-December with manmade snow on the novice slope and once again spanned to late March. Johnny Polando served as ski school director for the season, before departing to take on the role at Killington.

Boston Globe Ski Clinic at Boston Hill (December 1962)
Boston Globe Ski Clinic at Boston Hill (December 1962)

Circa 1962, Dunn took an even larger role at Boston Hill, becoming an owner. David Arnold later reflected on his own years as owner, joking, "our glamorous ski hill idea turned out to have all the problems of a metropolitan transit system." Starting in December of 1962, Dunn kicked off the first in a decades-long series of Boston Globe Ski Clinics at Boston Hill, generating significant press coverage of the ski area and attracting 600 children to the debut lesson. By this point, Boston Hill featured night skiing, the J-Bar, and three rope tows.

On February 13, 1963, Boston Hill hosted an international professional ski race that featured Adrian Duvillard, Ernst Hinterseer, Anderl Molterer, Marvin Moriarty, Toni Spiss, and winner Pepi Gramshammer. Thousands of spectators came to Boston Hill to watch the race and exhibitions.

The December 1963 Boston Globe Ski Clinic drew an even larger crowd, putting 800 youngsters on skis. One month later, Boston Hill hosted a Massachusetts Veterans Slalom, which featured winner Charles Gibson, Franz Schemmel, Wildcat founder George Macomber, and Boston Hill founder David Arnold. In February, Boston Hill hosted another well-attended International Professional Ski Racing Association race, this time won by Adrian Duvillard.

A new base building was constructed for the 1966-67 season, while the novice and intermediate slopes were expanded in 1967-68. The base lodge was expanded for the 1968-69 season.

Boston Hill Enters the Chairlift Age

The Boston Hill base area
The Boston Hill base area

Slopes were again widened for the 1970-71 and 1971-72 seasons, increasing skier capacity in advance of a larger expansion. For 1972-73, a new Hall double chairlift was installed at Boston Hill, providing top to bottom modern lift service day and night. At this point, the ski area had five slopes and one trail, served by the chairlift and 3 rope tows.

Dunn took over Ragged Mountain, NH starting in 1974-75 and used the opportunity to sell combination passes for both ski areas.

Starting in 1976-77, Boston Hill became known as Boston Hills.

Dunn looked to diversify Boston Hills' offerings beyond the risky ski business when he added an alpine slide in 1977.

Tower snowguns, a relatively new technology, were installed on Dunn's Run for the 1980-81 season. Later that year, Boston Hills started to experiment with Perma-Snow.

A full-fledged, 1,400 foot installation of all season Dendix Perma-Snow PVC skiing surface went opened for the 1982 off-season, complementing the existing alpine slide operation.

Beginning of the End

The former ski slopes behind Brightview Senior Living Facility
The former ski slopes behind Brightview Senior Living Facility

Things started to wind down through the 80s, beginning with the closure of sister area Ragged Mountain. Dunn sold Ragged in 1987 to future Blue Hills operators, Endriunas Brothers, Inc.. Also in 1987, initial plans surfaced developing senior townhouses on Boston Hill.

Starting with the 1992-93 season, Bob Dunn headed to Bretton Woods to run their ski school. Meanwhile, the Boston Hill Archery Center opened under a lease agreement at Boston Hill in May of 1992. Boston Hills likely operated to some extent during the 1992-93 ski season.

In the fall of 1994, designers of the new Boneyard snowboard park at Waterville Valley Curt Hulst and David Olcott were rumored to be interested in running Boston Hills as a snowboard-only ski area. However, the ski area likely gathered dust instead.

Boston Hills ski area started to disappear in late 1997 when some of the property was sold. The chairlift was removed in 1998, while the base lodge and snowmaking buildings were demolished in the fall of 2008.

The housing development was initially approved in 2002, however legal battles held it up for some time. Construction on the Brightview North Andover development commenced in the spring of 2012. The development was expected to encompass 8 acres, whilst 25 acres of the old ski area would have been protected by a conservation agreement.

The 143,000 square foot Brightview North Andover senior living facility opened at the base of the old ski area on August 26, 2013. The bulk of the ski terrain has grown in and is managed by North Andover for hiking and mountain biking.

Image Gallery
Boston Hills Aerial Imagery, 1995 vs. 2010
View All Images in Boston Hills Ski Area Image Gallery

Click on lift name for information and photos
Standing Lifts

Past Lifts
The top terminal (2015)
Double Chair
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
The J-Bar circa December 1963


1982-83 Boston Hills Trail Map
1976-77 Boston Hills Trail Map1982-83 Boston Hills Trail Map
View All Boston Hills Ski Area Trail Maps

Year by Year History
Adult Weekend Full Day Lift Ticket; Adult Full Price Unlimited Season Pass
1980s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1987-88$12.001987-88 Ticket Price Graph1987-88 Season Pass Price Graph1987-88 Skier Visit Graph
1982-83$10.001982-83 Ticket Price Graph1982-83 Season Pass Price Graph1982-83 Skier Visit Graph
1980-811980-81 Ticket Price Graph1980-81 Season Pass Price GraphFebruary 81980-81 Skier Visit Graph
1970s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1976-771976-77 Ticket Price Graph$125.001976-77 Season Pass Price Graph1976-77 Skier Visit Graph
1973-74$6.001973-74 Ticket Price Graph1973-74 Season Pass Price Graph1973-74 Skier Visit Graph
1971-72$5.001971-72 Ticket Price Graph1971-72 Season Pass Price Graph1971-72 Skier Visit Graph
1970-71$5.001970-71 Ticket Price Graph1970-71 Season Pass Price GraphMarch 271970-71 Skier Visit Graph
1960s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1964-651964-65 Ticket Price Graph1964-65 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 121964-65 Skier Visit Graph
1963-641963-64 Ticket Price Graph1963-64 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 141963-64 Skier Visit Graph
1962-63$4.501962-63 Ticket Price Graph1962-63 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 15March 241962-63 Skier Visit Graph
1961-621961-62 Ticket Price Graph1961-62 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 14March 241961-62 Skier Visit Graph
1960-611960-61 Ticket Price Graph1960-61 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 121960-61 Skier Visit Graph
1959-601959-60 Ticket Price Graph1959-60 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 261959-60 Skier Visit Graph
1950s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1958-591958-59 Ticket Price Graph1958-59 Season Pass Price GraphMarch 291958-59 Skier Visit Graph

Visitor Memories
"I grew up less than a mile from Boston Hill on Gray Street North Andover. I have so many fond memories of Boston Hill and watching the skiersand watching them try to get parking spaces on 114 or in the field in the on the farm across the street crossing 114 was a challenge. My brother got his first job working making snow in the middle of the night on Boston Hill he loved it was so much fun. Towards the end we witness people grass sking. Good jmemories of the old days."
Cheryl Reade, Oct. 3, 2021
"I grew up on Boston Street. Along the side of Boston Hill. I have many fond memories of that place. When there was no snow on the roads we would take our bikes up to the radar site and race down that road. One of the kids on the street broke his arm going down that road. There was a trail behind the radar tower that led to the Ward Reservation in Andover. I have probably walked that trail 100+ times. One time we found an old wooden wagon in the woods back there. Not a toy wagon, a big wagon, the early version of a pickup truck. It was mostly rotted away. In the winter we would take our flying saucers or toboggans to the top of the hill and fly down when no skiers were around. We would get to do that two or three times before an adult chased us away. A few days later we would go back again. One or two winters my grandfather worked there in the concession stand. I can not remember how big it was, but I think I remember sitting at a counter drinking hot chocolate. All the years I lived there I never tried skiing. "
Jim Fitzgerald, Aug. 7, 2020
"Just drove down rt 114 My dad used to bring us up to ski school ( bob Dunn) every Saturday We loved it.. But omg our equipment back then Tied up boots, leather trail runners, spring suspension to hold to boot!! But we learned to ski! Loved it And had fun!!"
Lisa Ulwick, Jul. 29, 2017
"I learned to ski here also in the 70's. I'd load a bus every Saturday for 6 weeks at the Danvers YMCA and have a lesson in the morning and free ski all afternoon. I never skied here again after that first season but I have such fond memories of Boston Hill. "
Steve Sullivan, Aug. 28, 2015
"I drove by this hill many times in my life, but never skied there. Maybe because they seemed to claim a vertical drop of 320' which is impossible since rt 114 is at 170' and lower than the bottom of the ski area (215' max). Anyway, my neighbor tried to learn to ski there and broke his leg on his first lesson. Oops! "
Mark O'Hara, Aug. 27, 2015
"At the ages of 8 and 6 (1975), when we lived in Andover, our boys started their ski lessons on Boston Hill. It was amazing to see them come down the hill after their second lesson!! Amazing! They now continue to ski and one of them has his daughters skiing, also (most recently in Banff). It was a great start for them on Boston Hill! This message is coming to you from Southern California! (We just found an old 'boston hill bugle' and decided to see if the ski area was still in operation.)"
Peter and Joan Jedrzejek, Mar. 31, 2014
"I was on the ski patrol with my dad Raymond I think I was about age sixteen 'jr.Patrolman' I think they sold the J Bar lift to the now closed and not listed on your page, Hamilton Ski Slope. Also ,you have no information for Page's Hill Peabody, or Ferncroft, Peabody/ Danvers. My dad and me were on the National Ski Patrol at these hills too."
Robert Borsetti, Mar. 11, 2014
"I learned to ski at Boston Hill in the 1970's, it was the perfect learn to ski area. I went right through their ski school program. The chairlift used to sport huge huge lines, and the summit rope tow was an quicker way up. I used to face the wrath of my mother, since I went through many pairs of gloves grabbing onto that pretty fast moving rope. My first every chairlift ride was on that Hall Chairlift. My first year of learning to ski was not that enjoyable, but over time, my confidence and skills developed, and I was able to take on all the terrain Boston Hill had to offer with a king size smile on my face. My first 'big mountain' trip was to Ragged which was co-owned with Boston Hill at the time. The alpine slide was pretty good too. Wasn't Attitash or Alpine Ridge, but it fit the bill being reasonably close to home. I get sad everything I drive down Route 114 and show my kids this hill that once resembled a very good learn-to-ski area !"
Jay Gadon, Oct. 8, 2013
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External Links
  • Boston Hills Ski Area - New England Lost Ski Areas Project
  • Boston Hill - Hiking Guide
  • Last updated: September 28, 2021

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