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Seldovia Ski Tow

1947 to 1950?

Name of Ski Area: Seldovia Ski Tow
Location: Seldovia, on Frank Raby Hill, behind the site of the Beachcomber Hotel, likely on the back side (side facing northeast and away from the water) of what is now called Caps Hill.
Type of Area: Ski Hill
Dates of Operation: 1947 to 1950? (still researching)
Who Built It?: Dr. Melvin Beltz, Everd Jones
Base/Top/Vertical Drop:

Base: ~50'-~100'

Lifts: One rope tow made for kids, gas engine powered.
Miscellaneous: The tow ride took 8 seconds to get from the Yuth residence to the top of the hill.

A resident of Seldovia in the 1950s said there was no sign of the rope tow in town then.

The exact location of this ski hill has proven to be hard to locate, even by long-time residents of Seldovia.  The reason for this is the extensive damage to the town that the 1964 earthquake caused.  After the earthquake much dynamiting and bulldozing as part of an Urban Renewal project was done to make a better town site.  This work changed the topography and roads of the old town site considerably.  In particular, Frank Raby Hill (which is now called Caps Hill) was partly removed.  A church stands on the remains of this hill.  But the part of the hill where the rope tow was located has been removed.

Sources of Information:

Susan Springer - "Seldovia, Alaska: An Historical Portrait of Life in Zaliv Seldevoe - Herring Bay", Savannah Lewis, Dan Calhoun


Does anyone have pictures of skiing at the Seldovia Ski Tow on Frank Raby Hill (or current pictures of the vicinity) that they would like to contribute to ALSAP ?

~  MAPS  ~

This large scale topo shows where Seldovia is located (across Kachemak Bay) relative to Homer.

(click on this map to expand it)

topo_seldovia.jpg (148314 bytes)

Here is a more detailed topo map of Seldovia.

(click on this map to expand it)

topo_zoom_seldovia.jpg (96491 bytes)

Zooming in on a 1995 topo map once can see the layout of Seldovia in more detail.  Frank Raby Hill is what is now called Caps Hill.  Much of this hill was removed during a post 1964 earthquake Urban Renewal project, including the northeast section where the rope tow was once located.

(click on this map to expand it)

topo_zoom_max_seldovia.jpg (123162 bytes)

Here is a 1997 aerial view of Seldovia and the estimated location of where the Frank Raby Hill (now Caps Hill) rope tow once existed.

(click on this view to expand it)

terra_seldovia.jpg (67861 bytes)

Research Correspondence 
[Savannah Lewis - 23 December 2004 email to Dave Brann, excerpt]

Happened to be at a city council meeting last night with time to chitchat with one of our old-timers, Walter McInnes. He said that "Frank Raby Hill" must have been the back side of Cap's Hill, the major landmark that was blown up as part of our post-64 Urban Renewal to provide the flat area that is today's "downtown" Seldovia. There are in fact several places in town known as the "Yuth house" but the one he thinks the text referred to was on a lane that wandered up from the water roughly between where the Mad Fish and Sweet 'n' Clean are today. The Yuth house was up there a little ways, and thus around the back side of Cap's Hill. He also said that he thought that Gerry Willard set up a tow at some later date, but didn't have a lot of details. Mr. Willard is in the Seldovia phone book, and you might want to give him a call if you want to pursue information on that one. I have no idea how long either of these tows were in operation.
Savannah Lewis
Editor & publisher
Seldovia Herald

[Dan Calhoun conversation with Dave Brann, 31 December 2004]

I talked with a past Seldovia resident, Dan grew up there in the fifties and there was no sign of the rope tow at that time. Caps Hill which I believe used to be called Frank Raby Hill is on the bay side of town. Dan thought the tow was located in the trapezodial section directly east of the word Seldovia, a little east of the church with the tow going downhill to the northeast, towards the black circle. The church still sits on the remains of the hill but nothing remains of the hill where the tow used to be.

[Savannah Lewis - 02 January 2005, email]

As it happened, I was at a party New Year's Eve with Pierre Intout and in the course of asking him about another local name question I had and the inevitable reminiscing session that followed, I asked him and Mike Miller, who's been around since the 40s, about Frank Raby Hill.  Neither of them had heard of that designation and really felt that the only "named" hill in Seldovia was Cap's Hill, which of course was the one leveled in post-64 urban renewal. As I have the opportunity, I'll keep on asking the old timers about some of these informal local names, both to see if we can pin down Frank Raby Hill and to see which other names we can capture before they are forgotten. We've lost quite a few of our elders in the past couple years, and that knowledge pool is shrinking rapidly.

Regards for the New Year,



Do you have further information, stories or pictures that you would like to contribute about this ski area?