SOUTH BERWICK — With a top elevation of 240 feet and a base of 120 feet, Powderhouse Hill probably is considered a bunny slope to many. But don’t tell that to the adults who ski here.

As winter finally arrived with some gusto last weekend, dropping a good 10 inches on York County, Powderhouse Hill reopened for the eighth day of skiing after mild weather forced it to close. The community-run ski area only opens when there is enough natural snow.

And dozens of adults came, as well as children, to enjoy some turns. At $5 per ticket, what’s not to love?

“On a perfect day when the snow is just right and you’ve got a song in your head, it doesn’t get any better than that. I’ll come and ride for an hour and a half. It’s such a good workout,” said snowboarder Mary Beth Weaver of South Berwick, a substitute teacher in the local school district.

Powderhouse Hill sits right around the corner from South Berwick’s downtown, on land owned by the town. It’s run by volunteers and is open weekends and two nights a week. Two snowmaking guns are used sparingly to patch up the hill. A big storm always draws out Powderhouse fans.

They don’t mind that there are just three short trails and a rope tow.

This ski area is as grassroots as it comes. The volunteers who run the place have picked the hill clean of rocks and boulders, so a little bit of natural snow goes a long way.

“A guy at the bike shop told me about it two years ago. This storm was an excuse to get out and try it for the first time. I am happy just to be making turns,” said Andy King, 40, of York, a backcountry skier who hikes up – as well as skis down – in his Alpine touring skis.

“We backcountry ski on Mount Agamenticus. But there, you’ve got to wait for 18 inches of snow to cover the rocks there.”

Two years ago, the Powderhouse volunteers bought a new groomer, replacing a plastic, homemade snow rake that did little more than smooth out the snow. Now they can pack down the snow, providing a deeper, stronger base that lasts longer.

“It’s not a real Snowcat,” said Powderhouse volunteer president Chad Gregory. “But it means we can be open more days. It chews up the ice and levels it and packs the snow. It meant last year we were open until April 1.”

The community-run ski area has been around in various forms since 1938. Old-time ski signs hang in the tiny wood lodge, bragging of a $4 lift ticket at one time.

But no one who volunteers here recalls it being anything other than $5.

That nominal fee pays for electricity and diesel to run the rope tow. The operational cost is about $5,000 a year thanks to help from dozens of volunteers, Gregory said.

“It’s a passion thing, to keep it alive. Not too long ago, it almost stopped. Myself and some others revived it,” Gregory said. “It’s all in what we get for snow. We use the snow guns only if it’s really cold. We try for optimal temperatures. And while other mountains have them mounted on the hill, we do it the hard way and move them around.”

Needless to say, while many other mountains have been open since before Christmas, last Sunday marked just the eighth day Powderhouse Hill was open this winter. But the locals weren’t complaining.

“I didn’t know Mrs. Weaver snowboarded and I’m here a lot. This place brings the community together,” 15-year-old Linus Manchester of Eliot said of his teacher as he watched her ride by.

Susan Morse and her husband, Ralph Morang, came to get their legs in shape for bigger mountains. And Morang broke in a new set of skis. They use the ski hill about a half dozen times a winter.

“The is my first tine out this winter,” Morse said. “It’s four miles up the road and at $5 it’s great. We’ve been coming here since we moved here 12 years ago.”

“I’ve been skiing for 46 years, since I was in college,” Morang added. “This is great. And the rope tow gives you an upper-body workout.”