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PocoNorth
Near Hawley, Pennsylvania

Kevin Whipple describes a lost ski area he uncovered in Pennsylvania:

    I’m not sure what the official name was for this hill. PocoNorth, Poco-North, POCONOrth, POCO-NOrth. Anyway, some sort of combo with “pocono” and “north.” It’s located 2 miles west of Hawley, PA off Rte. 6 in Wayne County. Many people don’t remember that Lake Wallenpaupack supported another ski area other than Tanglwood (formerly Paper Birch). While Tanglwood is located off the south shore of the lake, PocoNorth was on a ridge just north of the lake. One would not have been seen from the other since both are north facing.

    A listing from a 1969 ski atlas says the area had 416’ of vertical, a double, t-bar, two tows, 2 slopes and 4 trails, night skiing, and snowmaking.

    The vertical was probably more like 350’. The summit of the double chair ended at the edge of the power lines (see topo map), at maybe 1,350’, while the base could be exaggerated to 1,000’. The base lodge looked small but modern. All that remains today are the stone pillar supports and some twisted steel. It looks like fire destroyed the lodge, but I can’t say if this was why it closed or happened sometime after it closed. I don’t think the hill survived into the 1980’s, but I can easily be wrong. It is hard to identify the old trails from the parking lot (which does remain clear). They are heavily grown in at the base of the hill. The upper mountain trails are still relatively clear. The lifts have been totally removed, save their concrete foundations and some scattered parts. It looks like a small but interesting place to ski. The separate learning hill (served by at least one tow) was very nice, but a good hike from the base lodge. The double chair had a mid-station at the top of a small knoll at mid-mountain, then continued up to a power line.

Jeff Martin from Winter Park, Colorado writes in with the following memories:

    “I just had a friend awaken an old memory from my childhood ski days so I did a quick search on Poco-North Ski Area and found your website. You had an article of the Lost Ski Areas of PA. Back around ‘63-‘66 I skied there a lot with my family. Why we traveled all the way there from Fanwood, NJ about 2 hr drive (in our ‘59 VW bus) I’ll never know, maybe it was the $2.50 lift ticket price ($3.50 for adults). I remember when they first turned on their high tech snow making machine, never seen such a miracle in all my 7 year life.

    Your description of the ski area is pretty complete, although I remember the beginner hill having a J-bar not a T-bar. We finally out-grew the ski area and moved on to more challenging terrain when the family upgraded from our old modified WWII Army Surplus X-Country skis and got ‘steel edged’ skies.”

Peter B. provided the following photo in May, 2010. “Found this in my pile. I skied there in 1969 and 1970,” Peter writes.

Photo provided by Peter B.

Kevin Whipple provides the following photos from a visit he made in 2005.

A topographic map of the area with the approximate lift locations in red. “The longest line was the double chair with mid-station,” Kevin writes. “The next longest was the t-bar, and the shortest was the rope tow. There may have been another rope tow on the learning slope or somewhere else.” Image provided by Kevin Whipple.

Kevin obtained this postcard scan from www.teachski.com. “The base lodge is to the left, then the base of the double chair center, with the base of the t-bar to the right,” Kevin writes. “It is interesting to see this picture of wide open slopes, and see the heavy overgrowth on these lower slopes today.” Photo provided by www.teachski.com.

What now remains of the base lodge. Photo provided by Kevin Whipple.

Remains of the base lodge. Photo provided by Kevin Whipple.

A tower footer for the double chair. “These can be followed up the old liftline, which is hard to find until you reach mid-mountain,” Kevin writes. Photo provided by Kevin Whipple.

The mid-station area of the double chair. Photo provided by Kevin Whipple.

A mellow, mid-mountain meadow right off the double’s mid-station. “The t-bar ran along the woods line in the distance,” notes Kevin. Photo provided by Kevin Whipple.

Looking down the t-bar liftline from near its summit. “The t-bar liftline is easier to recognize than the double liftline today,” Kevin Writes, “but the tower foundations for the t-bar are more overtaken with moss and sediments.” Photo provided by Kevin Whipple.

A section of haul rope found near the base of the hill, with grips and support arms still connected. Photo provided by Kevin Whipple.

A tower foundation for the t-bar. Photo provided by Kevin Whipple.

The learning hill. “There are no lift remnants in this picture,” Kevin writes, “but there were some structural elements left of the rope tow from this slope. An easy grade, but a steady pitch with a steep enough grade to make learning turns necessary. This meadow was divided in two by a natural ridge that created two different routes down the field. A great learning hill, but I was surprised by how far it was from the base lodge.” Photo provided by Kevin Whipple.
A scan of a PocoNorth ski patch from Woody Bousquet’s collection. Photo provided by Woody Bousquet.

A 3-d view of the area from Google Earth. Image provided by Kevin Whipple.

An aerial image from Google Earth. Image provided by Kevin Whipple.

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ciscokid
9 years ago
I believe the area may have been called Hickory Ridge in the 60s/70s?
kevin
9 years ago
this was not Hickory Ridge. Hickory Ridge was located on a horse farm further north from Hawley.
Rick Bolus
9 years ago
The proper name was Poco North, I learned to ski there! It had a very nice lodge in its day, the rope tow was far from the lodge in terms of walking or carrying your skis from the rental shop, and it had double chair lft and T bar. It was oneof the smaller hills but very convenient if you lived near by or visited the Poconos. Today Hawley is more of a destination but you can find the old mountain, there is I believe a private residence on the property now though.
Travis Ambrose
9 years ago
I live about 5 miles from here and my dad skied there when he was a kid. I think there were more trails than you say above, maybe 7 to 10 at the most, some trails were more like paths and not groomed. I do know they got their water for snowmaking from the stram at the base (the middle creek). The main reason they closed was becuase of Tanglwood, there was not enough business for two small areas so close
Alice Yonke LaPoma
9 years ago
I have often wondered whatever happened to Poco North. Just tonight I realized I should search it on the net, and found this site! When I was a junior in Valley Stream High School, I went there with our ski club. It was pretty small, but fun, of course. There was an icy snow mix falling the entire day, and when the bus tried to leave, we skidded, and a tire went into a rut. We had to walk back down to the lodge,(I should say slide, as it was all ice) and wait for help. We all ended up staying overnight in Hawley, and missed school the next day. It was a great adventure!
Jon Almquist
9 years ago
I learned to ski at Poco North in 1967 and skied there regularly for about 5 years. I remember the “All Lift” tickets were $5.50 on weekends, beginner area only tickets were $3.50. The rope tow chewed up gloves and mittens at a remarkable rate.
Gunther was in charge of the ski school and the lodge was very modern and seemed huge to a 10 year old with a large fireplace in the center with a large copper hood hanging down from the ceiling.
The T-bar was a double pipe type (not the anchor and cable type found at other areas at the time) and was a comedy of errors watching people learning how to get pulled on it and not sit down.
There was a long flat section between the upper hill (top of the double chair) and the top of the lower hill that made going to the very top less appealing when the snow was soft and slow.
The rumor in the mid 70’s was the chair lift was sold to Paper Birch (now Tanglewood) which only had a T-bar when Poco North was alive and well.
After 40 years of skiing, it is nice to remember where it all started, thanks for the website and memories.
Robert Treftz
9 years ago
I lived in Honesdale, five miles from the hill. The season ticket in 1970 was $80.00. With night skiing and a decent winter, it was a great deal. The lodge fire was after the area closed.
Robert Tyler
9 years ago
My brothers and I skied PocoNorth after Hickory Ridge closed around 1970. After PocoNorth closed, around 1973, we skied at Tanglwood and other local areas. The ski clubs from local high schools enjoyed night skiing on Thursdays. Mom learned to ski at PocoNorth. That is a great postcard of the area in its heyday.
DCSki Reader
9 years ago
Skied Poco North alot in 1965 - 1969. Also Skied at Paper Birch, was 12 at the time so not sure where it was, but it was close. As my son is looking at colleges in PA was wondering if either area still existed. Sad to see they don’t many fond memories. Had quite a few lessons with my siblings and Gunther and how strict he was. Not at all like today, went from snow plow, to stem turn, to stem Christie then finally to paralell and you didn’t get to move on till you had really mastered each! The walk to the beginers hill seemed exhausting, but best memory was also the lodge and the huge central fire place. This was a great place for a family to connect and spend the day!
Sknowboy
8 years ago
I also skied PocoNorth in the late 1960’s. Mostly we skied at Elk but due to the cheap season passes at PocoNorth, a bunch of us high school kids bought ‘em.

Gunther was an icon to a young ski freak like me. I learned a lot about skiing from him. Plus, he totally played the part, he had the latest Lange Comp ski boots,the ones with that had Alpine national flags riveted on the back of the ski boot. I kind of remember him on Hart Javelins with Look bindings. He also wore the stretch ski pants with the single stripe running the length like Killy.

I wonder whatever happened to Gunther? Anybody know?
Ed
8 years ago
As a kid, I worked at a grocery store in Hawley whose owner was one of the original investors in PocoNorth. I don’t know if he ever made much from his investment, but he was certainly enthusiastic during its development. On more than one occasion, I had to cut—er, mangle—chops for customers because he was in conference over the project.

I learned to ski there, but never considered myself “good” in any way. If I remember correctly, the rope tow was out of service as much as it was operational. And someone was forever falling and holding up progress. LOL

Wasn’t Gunther the same Gunther who worked at the Katz store in Honesdale? Now there’s a piece of regional history.
Patrick
8 years ago
I saw the stone Lodge columns foto after glimpsing at a friend’s monitor, and I immediately recognized them -very unique. What a gem of a memory this was for me! I never ski’d there, but my Father (Carpenter) built that Lodge - I believe he was the job forman. I remember he took me to the construction site when I was just a boy - vague memories of a lot of mud and stone. I may have slide fotos of the construction from my parents estate. My older cousin who had a place on the Paupack told me he remembers visiting the job site, and that stones used in constructing the Lodge fireplace were obtained right from the local area there. The Lodge as seen in the postcard shot still looks modern today. I’m proud to hear the great memories folks wrote of the Lodge, and that the columns were still standing in 2005. But I’m dissappointed to hear a residence may now be on the site, since I want to go visit the area. Long after it closed, we would stop by the site while hunting, and he would tell me stories about the place. Thanks for the article - it really brought back special memories for me.
teachski.com
8 years ago
Ad from 1969 Ski Atlas on teachski.com

http://teachski.com/books/nationalsurvey/papoconorth.jpg
Dale Williams
7 years ago
Great place. Guenther Kopp was there and at Paper Birch teaching. Last I heard he’s retired but doing well. He ran the ski shop at Katz’ in Honesdale (bought many, many skis from him), went on his own and sold it to the Hopkins family, still called Guenther’s Ski Haus. There are pics of him at Poco North and Paper Birch (now Tanglwood Ski Area) at the ski shop. This lodge was beautiful with a fantastic circular fireplace. The skiing was a great testament to the family ski life of the 60’s and 70’s. I remember my father meeting Robert Goulet there when he flew in on a helicopter and landed in the parking lot. After it closed fire destroyed the lodge and now one of the bank officer’s sons built an underground house on the property. I’ve mountain biked there. Great spot with great memories.
Rick Schmidlin
7 years ago
I have my true story of Poco North.When I started skiiing there the winter of 1967. It was wonderful as there were many happy families there. Poco North was managed by Ray Carrack and he used to ride his snow mobile up and down the hill. His daughter and son also skied and were wonderful. Art Schmidt was the ski director and his you gal Gloria taught there. She also played guitar around the center round fireplace were we would all gather. Paula Roos who co-owned Katz Department Store in Honesdale and Gunther Kopp who ran the sport shop was our ski school hero. He also had a ski shop down stairs in the lodge who was managed by high blonde 60’s knock out Diane in a tight sweater .There was a woman named Jane who sold the tickets, and Scotty Waller ran the ski rental shop. ( i work there in 1969). We had a Jr. racing team camp that was run by Art Schmidt Jr.My friend Bob and Bill Greenwood,Johnny Murphy,Joel and Ziggy Ross,Paul Lewis, Ricky and Randy Black were all ski buddies and on the team in 1968.Dick Murphy was the head of the Ski Patrol. There was a great cafeteria upstairs. Downstairs there were two pin ball machine. There was the Baldersari family that rain the pin balls and cig machines and they skied there. One family member was Butch (RIP) became one of the worlds great mandolin players.I play mandolin and we were would ski togeather, neither had the interest at the time In 68 we had a all night ski marathon and Gregg Guston won, Katz gave the prive. I was a judge and was the first time i stayed up all night. Also the chair lift had no mid station. It just got lower and we jump off. We also would leave the T Bar mid way. There was also nights the schools came in to ski,we hot shots used to teach the girls how to ski. I reember Jill Henderson.There were two trails and there big rocks in the middle and we would jump from there. The ski of choice was Kastle CPM and Lange boots because that what Gunther used and indorsed. There was one short hill I do not see represented here, that was very short and steep .These were some of the best days of my life. I was sick the winter of 69 and received a poster signed by every season tickets holder and the employees. A few years ago I went back and saw the ski lodge burnt and everything over grown, I cried like a baby.

Rick Schmidlin

Adjunct Professor
School of Library, Archival and Information Studies (SLAIS)
The University of British Columbia

Audio/Visual Consultant
City of Vancouver Archives

http://www.answers.com/topic/rick-schmidlin
Diana Grina
7 years ago
Just decided to search for this old time favorite and this site came up. I still have my ski jacket from High school with the Poco North patch on it. Went there alot in the mid ‘60’s with Douglas Macarthur HS Ski Club. Now I live in NJ and was wondering if it was still around and close by Sad to see it gone. I remember they had the prettiest lodge with a fireplace in the middle have never seen one as nice.
Rick Schmidlin
7 years ago
Part two.

I remember: Gunther daughters Bridget and Gretchen snow blowing down the main hill at 5 and 6.

Riding the t bar half way and always getting of, it would swing and make the lift operators mad as hell, ah we were kids then.

Rick
Philip Arasimowicz
7 years ago
I also learned to ski at PocoNorth. It was a cold winter day and my mom, Dorothy, really wanted to teach me. I was outfitted in leather boots two sizes too big. After the struggle of the rope tow I started down in the snow plow. When I fell one boot came off my foot and it took off down the hill with the ski.
I spent the rest of the day in the lodge coloring with Moni.
I still have the boots and an old racing bib on display in my basement.
Guenther had three daughters named Jackie, Britta and Moni.
Rick Schmidlin
7 years ago
True above, it hard to jog the ol 40 year memory
Randy
7 years ago
My brother and I learned to ski at Poco North in the winters of 1969 and 1970. The lodge was quite impressive. I recall the beginners rope two and two chairlifts. Equipment cost $20 for GT90 skis and (molded rubber - I.E. COLD) Grenoble boots from Sears. Memories of skiing in a blizzard - older brother very angry that he got his VW van stuck in the parking lot picking us up.
kevin
7 years ago
awesome trail map! that’s the first I’ve ever seen for Poconorth… thanks Peter B.
Larry Cox
6 years ago
I enjoyed reading the professor’s comments about Poco North. It really brought back memories. A friend and I ventured to Poco North from Trenton, NJ back in 1968 or 69 to visit my older friend’s old buddy, Ray Carrack. I’ll never forget getting a tour of the property from Mr.Carrack on his snowmobile. First and only time I ever rode on one of those machines. That was quite a memorable experience for this kid of 19. I remember Mr. Carrack as a very friendly and gracious host. I also remember having supper that evening at a beautiful lodge nearby called “Split Rock”. I understand that is gone also. Hard to believe over 40 years have passed. Thanks for the memories.
Scott Coverley
4 years ago
I went to Camp Watonka in Hawley in the late 70s. We used to hike over to this place and can remember the lodge still intact with broken glass and old ski equipment, presumably rentals everywhere. At the point, I think the lifts were still intact and the mountain still looked like a ski resort.
Tim Frisbie
3 years ago
That was the first place I put skies on! I think I was like 4 or 5 years old.
Janie McMurray
3 years ago
These memories are all so great to read. Really takes me back! - learned to ski here. I remember night skiing to the tunes of Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass. To this day, when I hear that music, I think of POCO NOrth. Loved the lodge and LOVED the blueberry pie!!

I remember a J-bar, too.

Rick - the short steep hill that you’re remembering was Irving cliff. It’s pictured in Peter B’s photo (way above) - there are 2 black cirle slopes. the one on the left is Irving cliff. I remember once when my older sister and I waxed my younger sister’s skis (unbeknownst to her). She went down Irving cliff and just kept going! Ended up in the parking lot! Great fun!
Speak truth to powder.
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