Bald Hill Ski Bowl
If you learned how to ski on Long Island in the 1970s, there’s a pretty good chance it was at the Bald Hill Ski Bowl. Granted, it wasn’t exactly Aspen, Colorado. but for many families, it was a convenient local place to slap skis on the kids and have a great day in the snow.
Bald Hill Ski Bowl was built in 1964 on 106 acres of elevated land in Farmingville known as, you guessed it, Bald Hill. Although I recall many referring to it back then as the tallest point on Long Island, it actually is the third tallest.
George Washington visited the area in 1790 and remarked that he found the hills unimpressive, but that was before the Ski Bowl was built, of course. A swift trip down the icy slopes of Farmingville might have changed his mind, who knows.
Seriously though, the Ski Bowl was enormously popular on the island in the first winter seasons that it was open. By 1976, it was drawing 5,000 visitors a week. There were three slopes at Bald Hill, one for beginners, one for intermediate skiers, and a 1,400 foot advanced run. The cost of a day of skiing was a whopping $2.25 back in the 70s.
Though the mini-resort did quite well through most of the 70s, especially during the winters of 76-78, snowfall dropped dramatically in the years that followed. In 1980, there was so little snowfall that the slopes were only able to open for eight days the entire year. That wasn’t going to pay the bills.
The Bald Hills Ski Bowl drew roughly the same amount of skiers that year that it once drew in a single day. It closed its doors for good after the 1980 season, never to open again.
Today, the Brookhaven Amphitheater sits where those old slopes once traversed the land. Next time you are up that way, picture that hill filled with joyous locals, enjoying an inexpensive day of skiing without having to set foot off the island. Bet there’s more than a few of you that wish it might return someday.
Did you learn to ski on Bald Hill? I’d love to hear your memories of this long-lost amusement in the comments section below.