January 27, 2022, would have been my father’s 87th birthday. Ted Hall, my Dad, taught me to ski, and sparked my lifelong fascination with Tuckerman Ravine and Mount Washington. Born in 1935, my father, Edward H. “Ted” Hall, Jr., graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in the Class of 1953.
Cranmore Mountain, February, 1946
In February, 1946, over Washington’s Birthday, just a few months after the war, Ted’s father took him on the Boston & Maine Railroad’s Snow Train, via North Station in Boston, to Cranmore Mountain, in North Conway, home of the Hannes Schneider Ski School, and the infamous “Skimobile” lift. Ted (and Ed) wrote this postcard to his mother.
That February 1946 weekend, Ed Hall took this series of photographs of his eleven year old son, Ted, in the Hannes Schneider Ski School, and skiing on the slopes.
1949 Tuckerman Ravine
In 1949, Ted skied Tuckerman Ravine with his friend, Gerry Clapp, and Gerry’s father. Ted took this series of photographs, on that day in 1949, with his Kodak Brownie camera, annotated on the back, and saved in a photo album.
1953 Exeter Ski Team
Ted was very proud of his participation in Exeter’s Ski Team. Ted Hall is seated on the far right, in this team photograph. One of the faculty ski team coaches, flanking the back row of students, standing behind Ted, is Robert H. Bates. Bob Bates taught at Exeter for thirty years, and was a well-known, mid-20th century mountaineer in his own right, climbing in the Alps and K-2.
After graduating from Exeter, along with forty-odd classmates, Ted went on to Harvard College, graduating in the Harvard Class of 1957. Ted often said that Exeter had prepared him so well for college, that he had a lot of fun during his Freshman year around Harvard Yard, and he didn’t need to study very hard for the first year. He said that reality hit him in the Fall of his Sophomore year at Harvard, and he had to work hard. I don’t think Ted went skiing very often during college. Ted’s Smith College girlfriend, Ann Progin, from Fitchburg, was herself a good skier, having grown up skiing the Burbank Hospital Hill rope tow, across Mechanic Street from the Progin’s home. Ted and Ann once went on an overnight ski trip to Hermit Lake Shelters, below Tuckerman Ravine. I treasure an undated photograph of Ted and Ann at HoJos, with Tuckerman Ravine in the background. Someday I’ll disassemble the frame, scan the photo, and post it here.
In the Winter of 1955-1956, when he was in his junior year at Harvard College, he received this Sig Buchmayer catalog.
In 1956, Ted’s father, E. H. Hall, Sr., wrote to the Hovde factory in Norway, and imported their prized jumping skis as a gift for his son. Hovde neglected to invoice for the skis, for which Ed Hall sent them $21.50 the following year. Ted spoke of jumping “small” thirty-meter jumps, while on Exeter’s ski team, but I don’t know how much ski jumping Ted did in 1956-1957, his senior year at Harvard.
After college, Dad would take me skiing on Saturday mornings, waking me up before dawn, driving to ski areas around central Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire, putting me in ski school while he free-skied for the morning, then eating lunch with me, and skiing together after Noon, before the journey home. Mount Wachusett had a thousand foot T-bar; Mount Watatic had a long T-bar to the top; Mount Snow had a chairlift or two; Crotched Mountain; Big Bear had a couple T-bars in Brookline, NH;
Ted Hall, with Ann, Sarah, Jon, and Jeff, on Mt Washington
Ted and Ann drove up the Mt Washington Auto Road, one summer day in the 1960s. Ted posed with Sarah, Jon, and Jeff, while Ann took a photo of us huddled next to the Tuckerman Ravine Trail sign, near the summit parking lot. Years later, I understood the importance of that moment to Dad.