1948’s Bethel Ski and Outing Club


The Vernon Street Ski Tow and People Involved

On November 25th about 25 people interested in skiing and developing winter sports met at the Community Room to discuss local possibilities. The meeting was in the charge of Wilbur Myers who as chairman of a Bethel Chamber of Commerce committee.


Locations suitable for improvement or extensive development on several local hills and mountains were considered including slopes at Middle Interval, Songo Pond and West Greenwood.  Russell Haggert who operates the ski slopes in Bridgton gave a briefing on the problems encountered in developing a winter sports area, costs of building a tow and maintaining slopes as well as his experiences in meeting the desires of the skiing public.


A committee was named to go over the various sites suggested and meet at the home of John Howe (his home was on the corner of Broad and Paradise Streets) on Sunday evening.


November 25, 1948:  “Bethel Skiers Form Club Tuesday Night”   An organizational meeting was held at the Community Room for local winter sports development and officers were elected.  The name of the new association will be Bethel Ski and Outing Club.  “A slope of Vernon Street which provides a ski run of about 900 feet has been leased and work of clearing up the cut over land was started during the weekend.” 

Officers elected for the new club were:  John Howe, president; Addison Saunders, vice president; Stan Davis, secretary and treasurer.  There were three committees set up as follows:  Finance, Richard Young, Richard Davis and Wilbur Myers; Low End Slope, Murray Thurston and Wilbur Myers will aid him in laying out the same; publicity, Stan Davis, for the present time.


Skiers are very pleased at the discovery of this slope on land owned by Florence Machia. Not only is the site pleasing because of location but it is steep enough to interest the more skilled ski enthusiast. Construction of a tow this season is assured.


Funds will not be solicited by the new club but donations and suggestions are welcome.  Material help will be accepted by the treasurer. Financial arrangements have already been made by those interested in the promotion. Officers will draw up by-laws and arrange details of membership.

“New Ski Slope Well Under Way – Tow Motor and Rope Purchased.”  On November 30th there was a meeting at John Howe’s house for the officers and directors of the Bethel Ski and Outing Club.  It was reported that rope and the tow motor have been bought.  Also suggestions have been received from the Maine Development Commission and from winter sports organizations.


About 50 people were at work on Sunday and equipment in use included power saws and a bull dozer. (The bull dozer was provided by Addison Saunders.) Leslie E. Davis had donated posts for the tow.  Needed were six Model A Ford wheels.  Work groups will be at the slope on Saturday and Sunday. Ski enthusiasts were invited to a Chamber of Commerce meeting Saturday where James Thorpe of the Maine Ski Instructors Association will be the speaker. 


 James Croteau, Carl Brown and Clayton Fossett are to arrange for free use of the ski tow this winter for town children.


The name of the new club was announced as the Bethel Ski and Outing Club, Inc.  It was incorporated as a social club for the promotion of skiing and other forms of recreation for the benefit of the people of Bethel and any others using its facilities. 


Henry Hastings was elected secretary of the Chamber in 1949 and he probably did the legal work for the ski and outing club’s incorporation.

December 13th, large attendance at the Community Room meeting.  Business included announcing that dues were fixed at 50 cents for those under 18 and $1.00 for those 18 or over. Member-ship entitled the holder to reduced rates when using the tow and purchase of ski equipment at discounted prices through the club.


Dr. Willard Boynton was appointed to chair the membership drive. Wilbur Myers was in charge of rates and tickets. Kimball Ames was responsible for concessions.


Mrs. Esther Brown would have the concession at the hut for hot drinks and eats. John Howe had sample of skis, boots, bindings and poles for sale to members at a discount.

December 30, 1948:  “Announce rates and hours of new ski tow.” The slope will open as soon as a foot more of snow has arrived. Present plans call for the tow to be open Thursday evening plus Saturdays and Sundays.

Probable hours will be Saturdays and Sunday from 9:30 to 12:30 and in the afternoon s from 1:00 to 4:30.  Thursday evenings – hours will be 7:30 to 9:30.  Rates for non members were adults all day @ $1.25 and half-day tickets were to be 75 cents. Skiers under 18 would have rates of $1.00 for the full day and half day would be 50 cents. 

Not enough snow fell for opening Mt Vernon until the 21st of January 1949.

Read the full Bethel Ski & Outing Club and the Vernon Street Ski Tow article


Early Scenes from the Vernon Street Ski area

Thanks to contributors Murray Thurston, Don Cross, Arlan Jodrey, Amy (Mrs. Stanley) Davis, Don Angevine, Nancy Carver Stickney, Roger Adams, Dwight Lord, Janice Lord Mott, Connie Thurston,  Norm Ferguson, Irving Lee Carver and the Bethel Citizen.  All contributor comments are in the full article