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.

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16 Responses

  1. Vinny g says:

    Each time I skied at Bald Hill, the t-bar would be broken more than it would be operational. So I would ski down take my skis off and walk back up the side of the trail. Everybody in line said I was crazy. But who’s crazy I just made five runs and you haven’t moved 3 inches. Lots of fun times, skiing with Johnny the amputee from Vietnam was a blast.

    • Mario D. says:

      I remember Johnny! He used to ski on 195’s with the 1st rear entry ski boot, Hanson made them. He was awesome! One ski, no outrigger poles! My cousin worked at the 1st aid/ski patrol office. The egg rolls in the snack bar were amazing! I skied my a!# off at night as a teenager due to split sessions at Sachem HS. I learned to ski at Bald Hill, and have skied all around the world. I miss the old place! They should cover it and turn it into an indoor ski area!

  2. Mike D. says:

    In 1986, I was on Longwood High School’s Cross Country Team. Our coach would bring us there to run up those hills over and over. That year we won the NY State Championship!

  3. Donna says:

    In 1969 my parents brought my brother and i to the ski bowl in farmingville! We went sleigh riding there! We laughed at each other and other people too! We all behaved and waited our turns. 6 people across and very spread out. The place was packed out!

  4. Al says:

    It was a majstic place.i remember it and my brother and 3 sisters learned to ski there.i do remember the cold night at times and snow falling. no better sight has these eye seen when your a kid.i remember the Lodge and the fireplace burning away and the hot chocolate. There was a sled bowl and a ice rink that me and my buddies used all the time. Yes I do remember that place well.

  5. JIMMY ROSE says:

    My dad would take me and my brothers in the summer to the antique car shows. We fell in love with cars and now we have our own show cars and hot rods.

  6. Amanda Venezia says:

    My father Dominic Venezia managed the Bald Hill Ski Bowl. My bother and I skied there hundreds of times. We both learned there and we were both expert skiers before we became teenagers. I love the ski lodge, sitting by the fire after skiing eating a hot dog and drinking hot chocolate. I felt like all the guys that worked there were my uncles. They all knew my brother and I. They looked after us.

    • Dorian Gilbert says:

      Good day, I was a ski instructor at Bald hill for several years and your dad went to my wedding. Those were the good days.

  7. Bonni-Lee Jones says:

    Learned to ski there in 1965. It was my winter home until I was 18. I skiied all over the northeast from Main down to LI. My father was on Bald Hill ski patrol & National Ski Patrol. It came with perks like hanging out in ski patrols private lodge and not paying to go skiing. They even hosted a few races which was alot of fun. I love LI but to live there is is ridiculous now. Property taxes are a joke. Now I just visit but love seeing and remembering the good ole days

  8. Dorian Gilbert says:

    Good day, can’t believe I found this, my name is Dorian was on of the ski instructors that taught many people to begin skiing. At that time Dominic was the manager in charge. I enjoyed being able to ski without waiting in line when I wasn’t teaching, one of the advantages. Had fun for many years.

  9. Anonymous says:

    On the day the Jets won the Super Bowl, my future wife and I skied at Bald Hill. It was first time ever on skis. We were at the top of the beginner slope but my date could not get the clamp to close over her boot. So I sidled over to help with the clamp but satrted to slide backward. I ended up going down the entire hill backwards without falling. Next time I went down forward and fell twice.

  10. Sue L. says:

    When I was a kid I went there and was standing on my skis at the top of the bunny hill. My father put his hand on my shoulder and accidentally pushed me. I started sliding…downhill…backwards…until I slid into a tree. (I wasn’t hurt and he felt terrible about it.) Another time I was trying to use the T-Bar tow with a friend and we were having trouble staying balanced on it. We fell off and they stopped the tow so we could get back on. We fell a second time. After the third time, they kicked us off and said we had to walk up. I started up, then turned to look down the slope. It was higher than I had thought. I was scared, so instead of going up, I sat down on the snow and slid down to the bottom on my butt.

  11. Ralph B. says:

    Great place to hang out with friends. Anyone remember the little “freestyle” team? I think it was 1975-1976 sometime

  12. Lydia K says:

    Smithtown Central HS had a Ski Club. We would go there after school. By 6 pm when we were taking our last run, it would be so icy. 1967-69

  13. Paul R. Sklar says:

    I was a part time junior ski instructor at Bald Hill during two winter seasons. As a high school student at the time, I was trained in American and Austrian style skiing techniques and actually taught beginning and intermediate skiing at Bald Hill Ski Bowl on weekends. and after school. This was so great because I was a certified Lifeguard in Brookhaven Township during those two summers stationed at Corey Beach (in Bluepoint/Bayport) on the Great South Bay and a few days at the Sandspit Beach on the end of the Patchogue Town Dock and a few days Lifeguarding Lake Ronkonkoma. Those days skiing and Life- guarding on Long Island in the 1970’s were the best. Thank you for

  14. John Daly says:

    I ran a 10K (or maybe 5 miles) race up that hill, that ended at the Bald Hill Ski Bowl. Forget where it began. I loved the race shirt you got on completion and I wore it all over the place. I tried it on a few years later and I could barely get into it. Good times.

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