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Piper Hill
Pipersville, Pennsylvania

Woody Bousquet uncovered a ski patch that indicates there was a ski area named “Piper Hill” in Pipersville, PA at some point.

A patch from Piper Hill Ski Area. Image provided by Woody Bousquet.

Tim, a DCSki reader, commented that the Piper Hill ski lodge is now a family restaurant called the Cactus Grille. That prompted Bill O’Hara to visit the location and dig up additional details and photos. Bill writes:

    “Thanks to the post by Tim I was able to find this lost area after searching for sometime. The lodge is indeed now arestaurant called the Cactus Grill. Theminute Iwalkedin, I could tell that it had once been a ski lodge. The only remnants are a pair of snow shoes hanging from the rafters and the fireplace, but the building has not gone through any major changes. I spoke with the owner, Mary Elcavage, and she was very accommodating. Sheeven allowed meto borrow some photos from 1965, that a customerhad givenher. Thephotos are of the customer’s children. I had the photos scanned and include them below, along with the photos that I took the day I visited.

    Please advise anyone who visitsto ask permission before walking the property and to also patronize the restaurant. The food is very good, reasonablypriced,and they have many micro brews on-tap. Their website is www.cactusgrill.net.

    From my walk of the property, the ski area had snowmaking and at least two rope-tows. I am including a topographic map markedwith the remnants that I found in the photos.”

Bill provided the following photos:

Main entrance to the lodge. Photo provided by Bill O’Hara.

 

Bottom of a rope tow. Photo provided by Bill O’Hara.

 

The Lodge viewed from the slope. Photo provided by Bill O’Hara.

 

The pump house. Photo provided by Bill O’Hara.

 

Remnants of snowmaking. Photo provided by Bill O’Hara.

 

Ski school meeting place. Photo provided by Mary Elcavage.

 

The rope tow. Photo provided by Mary Elcavage.

 

The lodge. Photo provided by Mary Elcavage.

 

The rope tow. Photo provided by Mary Elcavage.

 

A topographic map showing the location of Piper Hill. Photo provided by Bill O’Hara.

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Tim
10 years ago
I’ve always wondered about this ski area! It is right on route 611 north of pipersville. The lodge is now a family restaurant called the Cactus Grille. I remember going to the restaurant as a kid and seeing pictures in their gameroom downstairs of the old ski area. Also, the old equipment used to be visable (I remember one night walking out and seeing the lift cables). I drove by a few months ago and sadly all the equipment was gone. I must say, it’s a pretty small hill. Any more info would be much appreciated!
John Washko
10 years ago
Our family used to go there in 1965?ish, it had one rope tow. They used to pile the plowed snow from the parking lot at the top of the hill, making the “Piper Hill Pimple”; a launch ramp to get you more speed. The run was pretty flat towards the bottom, so the “better” skiers would go about half way down and just grab the rope there and go back up. Lots of fun for beginner skiers; my sister and I were probably 6 and 7 years old then.
Jeff
10 years ago
I visited this area in 2005 & we got a few pictures. The pictures will come soon.
Piper Hill
Pipersville, PA
Early 1960s-Early 1970s

Piper hill was a hill in the backyard of whats currently the Cactus Grille. They had a tow, judging from the remnants. (Only one tower out in the middle of whats now a corn field.) They closed because they had a lack of snow and/or the lodge burned down. There are no signs of snowmaking or night skiing there. Notice that you parked at the lodge and skied downward. I am not sure the slope on the right ever was a slope there. We actually talked to a waitress in the Cactus Grill & she did know a bit about the ski area.
Jeff
10 years ago
I visited this area in 2005 & we got a few pictures. The pictures will come soon.
Piper Hill
Pipersville, PA
Early 1960s-Early 1970s

Piper hill was a hill in the backyard of whats currently the Cactus Grille. They had a tow, judging from the remnants. (Only one tower out in the middle of whats now a corn field.) They closed because they had a lack of snow and/or the lodge burned down. There are no signs of snowmaking or night skiing there. Notice that you parked at the lodge and skied downward. I am not sure the slope on the right ever was a slope there. We actually talked to a waitress in the Cactus Grill & she did know a bit about the ski area.
Dave
9 years ago
I skiied Piper Hill as a beginner in the winter of 1964. A 24-year-old Air Force 1st Lieutenant, I was stationed at McGuire AFB, NJ. The area had, I believe, either just opened that year, or had been open at most for a year or so.

I took a lesson and learned to snowplow the gentle slopes with some confidence, but learned to ski well only years later in Colorado.

The bar was a going concern, and one evening’s visit featured a local writer who dominated the conversation. The guy looked like James A. Michener, who grew up in Doylestown an lived in Bucks County at the time, but the bartender said it wasn’t Michener.
Sofe5
9 years ago
According to my father, my grandfather owned this ski area. He says that they lost a great deal of money running it.
Paul
9 years ago
I was a ski instructor at Piper Hill durning the winters of 1966-67, 1967-68 and 1968-69. The ski school director owner/operator was Robin Tiesler. Robin was a very bright person and a inventor by trade. This man could ski and would do a tip roll and royal christe with his ski high in the air.
I remember during warm spring skiing in 1968, Robin and I were alongside a stream that ran down the side of the ski area next to Rt 611. Robin was looking at the stream with an idea about what type of material would be needed to make it easy for people to slide down the water and have fun. At that time I thought it was just another inventors crazy idea….. Robin said it could be a Water Slide. We all know about water slides 40 years later. Robin Tiesler was a genious in so many ways!! Robin was the inventor of the Tiesler Ski Binding. Durning the years I was there we taught the GLM (Gradulated Length Method)and used Cliff Taylor short skis in lenghts from 2.5 feet through 4.5 feet. There were two main ski slopes, the one that ran along the lodge and another one to the left looking down. We only had snow making on the main slope next to the lodge. Yes there was the Piper Hill Pimple. Robin would blow snow all night long in one spot on top of the main slope….This would develope into aprox a 15foot high or more pimple on top that you could side step up a get one fast start down the hill. We had no grooming at that time as you would ski on ungroomed snow as was the case with most ski areas at that time. I remember after a deep snowfall Robin had a tractor and would drag a man made wooded piece of equip behind and we would ride in it as the snow would get packed down. I moved to New Hampshire the summer of 1969 and have been a ski patroller here for the past 38 years. Piper Hill Ski Area was a great place and Robin Tiesler was a real special person. Paul.. From New hampshire
Lisa Eshleman Foster
8 years ago
I lived in Pipersville as a child from 1961-1964. We lived on Dark Hollow Road and my parents were caretakers on an estate for the Seftons, who owned part of the Commodore Hotel in NYC. We would go by Piper Hill and I would beg my parents to let me ski, but I guess we didn’t have enough money. I think that our bus stopped there to pick up kids. Somehow I remember Jack’s Dog farm nearby??? The one very famous writer who lived nearby was Pearl Buck. My mom tutored her in French.
Jim Nathan
7 years ago
I’m originally from Levittown in Lower Bucks and skied Piper Hill probably in 1960/61 because by ‘63, we went to Stowe and never looked back! I was about 5 or 6 at the time and went over a “mogul” that couldn’t have been more than 3 inches high and “sprained” my ankle. Actually the pain probably went away the next day. Going up Mammoth tomorrow in CA to at least a 10-15 foot base. Love your site. Gonna next look for Buckhill Falls, another pre-Vermont place I remember.
Anne J. Allen
7 years ago
Hi! I came across this site while trolling for information on the old Doe Mt. ski area and lodge which in now Bear Creek Resort. I cracked up when I saw the pictures of the kids skiing. That’s me standing by the ski school sign and the other two are my brothers! I remember going to The Cactus Grill a number of years back and talking to someone there about the old Piper Hill. My brother mentioned we had some pictures from when we skiied there as kids, but I didn’t know he had given copies to the Grill owners. What a hoot to see them here! Those were the days! Love those outfits and skis! Anyone who would like to reminisce about the old local areas can find me on facebook.
David Arata
6 years ago
I would like to contact Craig Schrieber a former ski instructer at Piper Hill in the mid 1960s . He taught me how to ski.
Arlene Cooper Daley Clemick
5 years ago
Am I the only one who remembers this place being a biker bar called The Piper Hill Chalet in the 1970’s? My boyfriend/husband and I were regulars. My boyfriend even had a van club that used to meet there every week or so. It was a hopping place. Live bands, plenty of fun and fights, like any good biker bar. :-)
Sherry
5 years ago
No, Arlene, you are not the only one who remembers when the Chalet was a biker bar. I lived at the top of the hill and our parking lot was the regular meet-up spot for the cops from 3 townships just before a raid. Ah, the good ‘ole days. :) The tow ropes and polls were still standing at that time. I was too young to have seen the inside before the Chalet closed for many years. It eventually opened for a few years as Cucumber’s, closed again for a year or so, opened again as the Cactus Grill. It’s still a great place to eat to this day. One of my favorite spots.
Carl Ziegler
5 years ago
Yeah there were bikers there. In the mid 70’s my friends went in there & brawled w/some of them.

In the mid 60’s I skied there occasionally. Just one rope tow. I think it was propelled by an old car engine. No lift lines.
Bob Patterson
4 years ago
I was born in 1950 and grew up in Northeast Philadelphia. I think Piper Hill was the closest place to ski. When I was about 12 I went to Piper Hill with my neighbors using a pair of Army surplus skis with “beartrap” bindings my Dad had in the attic. I wore borrowed hiking boots. The poles had leather tongs holding a metal ring above the tips. It was my first time skiing and I loved it! On my last ride up the tow rope ( my mittens had rubbed through) I fell half way up. A ski patrol guy came up and noticed my bindings had no release; clamped on or off! He told me to ski down and not to come back without releasable bindings. I somehow got better gear and disovered the Poconos and eventually Rocky Mountain skiing. But I guess I, and my kids who loved to ski, owe it all to Piper Hill!
Shout it from a mountaintop.
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