About

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History

Camden Snowbowl installed a rope tow in 1939 and the PVSC arranged several trips to that area. In 1940, the club built their own tow on Kings Mountain in Orrington. The next year the war and gas rationing came. Dow Air Force Base personnel wanted to transport men to the mountain for recreational skiing with instructional help from PVSC. At times there were 25 instructors for 10 G.I.’s.

The war years didn’t stop the skiing career of one PVSC trail blazer, J. Howard ‘Red’ Lawson, who joined the ski troops and became a skiing instructor. He served in the Aleutians and later with the Tenth Mountain Division in Italy. After the war he provided informal instruction for club members for many years. The best trail on Bald Mountain was called the “Red Trail”.

In 1951 the rope tow was moved from Kings Mountain to Bald Mountain under the supervision of Bill Weeks and a crew from the telephone company. In the following year, a hut was constructed by the Walter (Slim) Melvin and John Chapman families.

The tow rates were as follows:

 

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Karl Anderson, who subsequently became an Olympic skier, won the seventeenth Penobscot Valley Ski Club-sponsored GOLDEN SKIS RACE held at Dedham Bald Mountain on February 7, 1971. The Golden Skis Race was one of the oldest United States Eastern Amateur Ski Association sanctioned events held in Maine, first held on Bald Mountain in 1947. The race was held in sunny 25 degree F weather and for the first time on man-made snow. Gil Roderick, then manager of the Bald Mountain Ski Area, provided perfect snow and grooming for the course.

Eighty-five racers, including 7 from the PVSC, in junior classes I and II (ages 14-18) representing 13 ski clubs and schools entered the race. A few racers were unattached. Race officials included Chief of Course: Dick McHugh (PVSC coach), Referee: Harold Brown, Chief Time Keeper: Fred Hanson, Start Referees: Tom and Dick Hanson, Course Setters: Dave Stevens and Dick McHugh, and Chief of Race: Bob Dunlap.

Karl Anderson continued his racing career as a member of the United States Ski Team as a downhill specialist and competed in at least two Olympic events. The Anderson family were members of the Sugarloaf Ski Club and all were involved in their alpine racing program. Karl’s brother, Robbie, came to the University of Maine as a premedical student and found time to coach PVSC racers for four years.

Millard Koritsky preferred the title of ‘Restroom Committee’ to ‘Privy committee’. In 1959 he reported that the arrangement was so primitive that modern youngsters didn’t know how to use it. “People don’t talk, but the women stay away from it. The seat has been gnawed by porcupines. A septic arrangement might cost $50 and a housing for it about $200. New England Pipe will donate unsalable seats.” Voted: $250 for the privy committee.
The new restroom, which was a one-holer, was soon to become one howler. It was sturdily constructed without ply wood in architectural style requiring no further description, except that it was located over an intermittent stream bed. It was supported by two logs that straddled the stream bed. Since Bald Mountain was mostly solid granite we were guaranteed a flush every time it rained, and since it rained frequently, it was clean and odor free. The one major problem that we encountered resulted from the curiosity of some youngsters who placed mirrors in the snow bank in the stream bed to have a look up. They soon found out that the mirror worked two ways and the problem was promptly resolved with an old-fashioned spanking.

In the fall of 1963, Clarence Young moved about 1200 cu yds of earth along the road to provide 340 ft of parking for 60 cars. Will Farnham organized the ski patrol and gave a 6-week first aid course. Francis Head acquired a record of deeds to the land on Bald Mt., but had difficulty in locating lot corners. The small tow was relocated and a new old V8 motor was acquired from Clarence’s old Chrysler. At the end of the 1964 season Treasurer Horace Chapman reported total receipts of $2542, $2004 of this from the Tow. Expenses for labor were $959, Gas $122, Slope $565, Construction $748, Misc $253.

At a special meeting in October, 1964, the club said “good-bye” to Francis Head who resigned as long time secretary to the club to move to Pittsfield, Mass. near his daughter and grandchildren. President Fred Hanson reported that Francis was able to buy 80 acres of land from the Lucerne Corp. for $50. and the club now owned 120 acres of land on Bald Mt. The land on top of the mountain was owned by the State of Maine and the remainder belonged to Clarence Young.

The 1964-65 ski season was one of the worst on record with only five skiable days. There were 37 individual and 8 family memberships.

In the Spring of 1966, the Pennobscot Valley Ski Club with President Fred Hanson in the chair began negotiating with a group of Brewer business men for the sale of the club’s assets on Bald Mountain. Willie Hamel, the chairman of the group said that they had plans for a lodge similar to Sugarloaf’s, a T-bar to the top, snowmaking equipment and a parking lot at the lodge. Several arrangements were discussed such as a lease-purchase agreement with the option to buy at the end of five years. After several meetings with many proposals and counter proposals Fred reported that Willie Hamel had signed a 5-year lease with the option to buy Bald Mountain at the end of that time. The group of men with Hamel as chairman were: Bernard Thompson, Bob Vittum, Floyd Whitcomb, Elmer Alto, and Clarence Young.

Clauses in the lease agreement were: 1. do not strip the land, 2. Bald must be developed as a ski area, 3. $150 to be paid to the club quarterly until the group elects to pick up the option, 4. The group shall pay all expenses, ie taxes. The purchase price of the mountain was established to be $12,000.

In February, 1967, Hamel, president of the Bald Mountain Ski Area Association reported to the club that a 40 yr. F.H.A. loan of some $350,000 had been approved subject to the subscription of 350 memberships at $50 each of which 75% must be rural. The Sewall Co. had almost finished the layout of the area and the T-bar line and part of the ski slope had been cut. The plan included a 2200 ft. chair lift, a three acre parking lot near the lodge and lighting for night skiing.

In November, 1967, $12,000 (less $683 in closing fees) was paid to the Penobscot Valley Ski Club by The Bald Mountain Ski Area Development Corporation. At a meeting of the board of directors it was moved by Fred Hanson and seconded by Horace Chapman that $11,000 of the assets of the Penobscot Valley Ski Club be placed in a Trust Fund with the annual interest being made available to promote skiing in the Bangor Area. The motion carried. That fund has been continued by the club to the present time.

Clarence Young died of heart failure while working on the Bald Mt. Ski Area. The Clarence D. Young Cup Race was established in his memory and held on March 9, l969 with 99 competitors. Clarence ran the Bald Mountain ski tows for many years, cut trails, plowed roads, started skier’s cars, and entertained their children. His friendliness was contagious. In our dreams we can still see him sliding down the tow line on a snow shovel with a great big smile on his face.

The Golden Skis Trophy race was also held in 1969. This was a great year for the Bald Mountain Ski Area as skiing began on Veteran’s day in November and lasted through April. The mountain did not do well financially, however, because all of the corporate members were allowed to ski free.