Pine Forge Ski Area

Pine Forge, Pennsylvania

Sean Dougherty writes about a lost Pennsylvania ski area named Pine Forge:

Woody Bousquet provides the following scans of a brochure from Pine Forge.

“The brochure is likely an early one in the history of Pine Grove Ski Area,” Woody writes. “It shows rope tows only, but comments [from other readers] mention that the area had a J-bar (or poma) lift. That surface lift was probably installed after the publication of this brochure.”

Image provided by Woody Bousquet.
Image provided by Woody Bousquet.
Image provided by Woody Bousquet.

Woody also provided the following image of lift ticket from Pine Forge.

Image provided by Woody Bousquet.

Woody provides a Google maps satellite image of the area surrounding Gracie’s 21st Center Cafe, a restaurant now located in the building that reportedly used to be the base lodge for the ski area. Woody has marked with red lines his inferred location of the 2 rope tows shown in the brochure’s center spread.

Image provided by Woody Bousquet.
Image provided by Woody Bousquet.

Reader Comments

Bill O
February 17, 2009
I've been looking for this area for a while. Do you have a more specific location? I'd like to explore and take some pictures.
February 20, 2009
This old ski area is located about 3 miles outside of Pottstown. Take State Street north and bear left on Manatawnay Street next to Cumberland Farms. Follow about 3 miles, pass Rattlensake Hill on left and about 1/4 mile down street on left is the old resort. It is now I believe a trucking or shipping company but the outline of the trails remain partially. Was never a big place and I'm sure most people around this area now don't even know this little place ever even existed!
March 4, 2009
The lifts are still on the old slopes and the old lodge is now a resturant called Gracies. The lift can be seen from the Pine Forge Elem School in the winter months I learned about this slope in the 80s from an older resident in the area
Roger Roth
January 10, 2010
As a 12-year-old I learned to ski around 1968 at Pine Forge through a program offered at the Pottstown YMCA. I'll never forget the soaking wet rope tow that would saturate my gloves in no time at all. Some high-tech skiers had a neat little device that they would clamp around the rope to pull them up the hill and keep their hands dry at the same time. They were so lucky!

I remember trying to get up the "Big" slope but inevitably dropping off either because I feared the steep descent or because I couldn't hold on any longer.

If your memory still retains something of what the lodge looked like many years ago, you might remember the jukebox that sat on the right just as you stepped down into the building. When I had the occasion to meet with Gracie of Gracies Restaurant about 20 years ago, I stopped mid-stride as I entered the building and remembered hearing Nancy Sinatra singing "One of These Days These Boots are Going to Walk on over You." If you remember this tune from years back, you may remember that during the part when she sings the lyrics mentioned above, it almost sounds like someone unplugged the power cord and the player was shutting down. I thought I had tripped over the power cord as I walked past the jukebox.

Great memories of my first athletic pursuit!
Cheryl Wade McCallum
January 19, 2011
I got my first set of ski equipment for xmas 1965, after begging mom to take me skiing with her. Leather boots with ties and long skies with cable bindings were the fashion of the day. We spent every saturday at Pine Forge. I remember the rope tows vividly but I believe it was another year before I conquered the J bar. The lodge was a stone building, I think, and there was a toasty fire place, to thaw your feet. I remember eating rectangular pizza from a toaster oven sort of thing for every lunch. I also remember getting teased in school, in Reading, by the less enlightened about my "price tag" hanging from my jacket. Those were the days and I will always remember them in my heart!
June 14, 2011
I remember my dad taking me there as a kid (around 1970) and watching nighttime snowmobile races going up the big hill. Pretty exciting stuff - especially when someone lost it and the sled and rider came tumbling all the way down. One especially cold night we took my neighbor along where he made the comment "I've been to 2 snowmobile races in my life - the first one and the last one..."
Douglas FitzSimons
May 9, 2013
In about 1963-64, as a teenager I learned to ski there on rented Fischer skis, lace-up leather boots, and bent-up poles.

A vicious rope tow that invariably dumped the novice into the rutted ski-tracks that were usually filled with melt water pulled or dragged one to the top of the bunny slope.

I believe it was a poma-tow or maybe a J-bar that went all the way to the top of the always icy hill.

That hill routinely produced injuries -broken ankles and wrists, sprains, cuts, etc. due to its steepness, the inability to keep much other than ice on its surface, and the very primitive state of equipment.

In any case, having gotten bitten by the 'bug', I bought my skis from the rental shop at the end of that season, and purchased new leather lace-up boots from Wanamakers.

By 1965 I was taking bus trips from King of Prussia to Mt. Snow, and since then have skied all over PA, the East and some of the west.

All in all it was a great and thrilling place and time. I finally sold the cable-binding Fischers at a yard sale about 20 years ago.
September 11, 2018
Member since 09/9/2018 🔗
1 posts

I Learned to ski at pine forge in 1964. Remember it had a 268 foot vertical drop, one main very steep mogully slope and 2 rope toes. I think the lift ticket was $2 . The rope tow ripped up gloves real quick and they sold a device called a “nutcracker “ at the base lodge that you used to clamp onto the rope tow (to save your gloves). I still have the “nutcracker” device. The place was owned by the “Brown” family that had the cement block company in Stowe, Pa.. The area bragged that if you could ski the steep moguls there that you could ski anywhere. It was steep but short. Lots of good memories ! 

January 22, 2022
Member since 01/22/2022 🔗
1 posts

Just saw this thread now - my uncle used to own Pine Forge.  My very first day of skiing (free!) happened there in about 1968 and I went on to become a ski instructor with 1200+ days so far.  The comments above about the rope tow and ice are very correct.  It was a cool place at the time but I doubt they ever turned a profit.  Used to rent 50 cc mini bikes in the summer too.

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