December 20, 2005

History of Burleigh Mountain Part II

See the first part of the history in the previous post.

Burleigh Mountain and New Hampton School by Nate Spencer ('03)
After receiving the land on Burleigh Mountain, the school began the clearing of the land for the trails in the early 1960's. There were two trails, one would be a racing hill and the other would be a slope for recreational skiing. There were two rope tows to carry the skiers up the mountain. The school had originally planned to further develop the ski area to enlarge the trail system (personal communication, T. Holmes Moore, March 14, 2003). Peter Bixby was a math teacher and ski coach at the school in the 1970's. He was an energetic individual who was the leader of the ski program (The Hamptonia, Fall 1996, 18). The A-Frame building was used by the skiers so that they could go in to warm up next to the wood stove. There was also a trail built so that the students could ski all the way back to school. Due to the cost of a large settlement in a lawsuit involving an accident in a ski area in Vermont, the school was not willing to risk the liability of running a ski area (personal communication, T. Holmes Moore, March 14, 2003).

When the school hired Jeffrey Pratt Beedy Ed. D., to be the new Headmaster (Fall 1992), he wanted to use the area for skiing again. The following summer, the school hired a company to re-clear the slopes. However, due to steeper terrain half way up, the company was unable to finish. The school still wished to use the area so they decided to have an adventure education program for the students at the school. The facilities that this program would use were the A-Frame building, which was the original warming hut for skiers, two Yurts and a series of lower ropes course elements. A community service group would build the lower ropes course. A Yurt is a Mongolian building that is round with a peaked roof that was easily dismantled so that it could be reassembled in a different location. This enabled Mongolian nomads to follow their yak herds. Traditionally the exterior is made from animal hides.

This past fall (2003) the group that worked on Burleigh cleared the saplings from what had been the recreational slope that had reclaimed the trail. This past winter (02-03) the school used the slope for sledding, the school is currently working on getting the insurance paper work cleared to put in a new rope tow for skiing.

[Note: in 2005 we still haven't seriously pursued the rope tow, Nate's writing reflected his enthusiasm for the mountain. Current plans include sledding, possibly a Nordic ski team, and maybe - who knows maybe skiing and snowboarding!! - HM]


  1. Anonymous10:06 AM

    Wow... This brings back incredible memories! I was on the varsity ski team at NHS. I recall taking a school van (with no seats) up a rutted dirt road to the mountain. That darn rope tow chewed through 4 pair of gloves that season. We use to duct tape our gloves to make them last a bit longer. The tow rope went so fast that you had to slowly apply pressure to get up to its speed.

    We were all bussed to Cannon mountain over an hour away in my senior year. It became quite a drag as we use to ski 4-5 days a week.

    I remember the rope course on Burleigh and does anyone remember the ski jump? It was no longer in use while I was there, but it was some sure fun sliding.

    Thanks for the memories "Happy Hampton"

    Pete Covill '83

  2. Greetings Pete - great to hear from you!

    It would be interesting to track the ski jump down some time - it's got to be all grown in but it would be great to find it back!

    Thanks for your reflections and memories.

  3. Wow, some good memories. I was originally part of the community service in 02-04, that built the ropes course and other elements. Sure was fun. I remember just sleeping outside on the raised platforms, before the yurts were built.

    Good times.

  4. No kidding! That's awesome! There is another student group this year doing another building project - stay tuned I have some pics coming!