Taken on 09/20/07
by Eric H.
Old ski shed at Thompson Park, Watertown
From Eric H. "Old shed at the top
of the abandoned ski-slope on the Academy Street extension. It sits at the back
of the zoo, and is completely boarded up. I remember when they used to close off
that street in the winter, but was never up there myself (too young)."
From Bill B. "Old Tow Shed. I am just old enough to remember the rope tow
- literally a motor powered rope which the skiers could grab on to at the bottom
of the hill in order to be pulled up to the top. Many years ago."
J. writes "I do remember the old rope tow, and yes, they did close off the
street. This was probably in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It was great fun."
10/28/11 evilmonkey writes "I grew up in Watertown and have many fond memories
of skiing at that slope.
It closed in the early 80's I believe.
just the single rope tow, and 3 somewhat groomed trails, with other more
adventurous trails that were forged by some of us who were a little more
adventurous, or foolish I suppose.
It was a free area operated by the
recreation department and the shack at the top was a heated space that had a
attendant/safety person and you could get in and warm up for a few minutes, and
get a soda or hot chocolate for a quarter as I recall.
It was lighted for
night skiing also, and I can't recall how late it stayed open, but believe it
was 10 pm on weekends.
We were also allowed to build jumps and do aerials
even on the main slope!
I had several friends break legs there, and guess
that liability expenses were likely the demise of this area, along with the road
becoming a thoroughfare.
There were always adults around who were skiing
enthusiasts themselves, and it was a very safe and wholesome recreation area for
What a gem it was for the city of Watertown, sadly, all good
things seem to pass.
Thompson Park remains a wonderful asset for the
residents, and I have snowshoed and x country skiied there as recently as 3
The North Country is a wonderful place to have grown up, and
return to occasionally."
1/24/14 Ed writes "I skied at the park in the early 70s when I was a kid. If you
grabbed the rope the wrong way it would knock you down, prompting jeers from the
crowd. (The correct way was one hand in front and one behind you, slowly
gripping the sliding rope till it caught your gloves and yanked you forward.)
The sheer, steep "face" was too frightening to attempt at first, so my first
time there I tried the novice trail, where I broke my leg the second time down.
Spent the next 3 months in a cast, missing my final year in little league.
But I was at it again the following year, spending hours there with friends,
"bombing" the face and barreling down the "expert" trail. Spent a whole evening
in the shack one particularly frigid evening, sipping hot cocoa while my more
resilient friend braved the -10 chill. Good times. Sad to see that this bit of
my past is gone, like so many other things in good old Watertown."
2/24/2022 Richard Delaney writes "Spent many days there - I’d walk to the park from my house on Ohio st and put on my skis at beginning of closed off read and ski skate to the hill in the 70’s. Bought my skis from money I won from Holy Family bingo. That tow rope got awful slippery and was a challenge to hold onto as it was so icy."