Well, since Boston Mills/Brandywine was mentioned so many times in this thread, I have to tell you that I didn't 'grow up' skiing there but was an instructor from day one there and there are a number of PSIA examiners who made their first tentative turns in my class. There was only one instructor in our ski school who didn't have a foreign accent. Our ski school director was an olympic slalom racer and the rest had jumped over higher bumps than Boston Mills in their native countries. But man, could they ever ski and teach the youngsters, who didn't know that they were supposed to be on an inferior hill, how to crank them.
As for where I grew up and my early skiing adventures, see the following:
Since you all could figure out that I am old now, I don't mind telling you youngsters what the uphill transportation was for us at that time...I lived in the foothills of the Alps but not too far to the really tall mountains.
The village where I lived was in one valley and the next town, which actually had railroad connection to the outside world, was over a hill in the next valley, with about 800 to 1000 foot elevation in-between, I would guess. A road wound over that hill
connecting the two. We could catch busses, milk wagons pulled by tractors, trucks and even horse drawn sleighs, since the road was always snow covered, no snow plows then.
But we weren't allowed to ride inside of any of these conveyances, we had to hang on behind and catching them was tricky, but we had it down to a science.
We had a long rope with knots in it and a sling on the other end. A half dozen or so of us on skis would stand in line holding onto the rope facing uphill and our strongest skier would wait up on an embankment with the sling. As a bus or truck would come by he would schuss down the embankment timing it so he could hook the sling around the bumper or any other convenient place and hold on for dear life as the rest of us were jerked into motion. Going uphill they were doing 10-15
mph I would estimate.
After some hilarious initial attempts we learned that the weakest skier had to be on the end of the rope, and the rest of them, graded up to the best in the front since we found out that if a weaker skier was in front and would fall he would take the rest of them down with them, but if he fell off at the end, oh well, catch the next one...
Since all the bus drivers and truck drivers were the same local ones all the time, they would watch for us and play games, like breaking hard when the skier came off the bank so as to have him hit the side of the bus and then accelerate trying to run over his skis, but it never happened, they were dealing with agile teenagers...the sling was undone at the top after everyone but the first skier let go, he would hand over hand up to the bumper and hold onto it while he undid the rope.
Well, that was our rope tow (wouldn't lawyers over here have a field day with that one).
From the top of the hill we had a beautiful glade for about 500 ft vertical and then a traverse back to the road.
Oh the fun we had... Some weekends we would strap our skis to the side of our bikes and pedal a couple of hours to the real mountains for some real adventure, but that is another story...