Harold D. Smith - Stevens Pass Ski Chase (1943) Home
This film shows the influence on early Northwest skiing of ski chase films made by Arnold Fanck and Hannes Schnieder. (In particular, see the 1931 film, "Der Weisse Rausch," a.k.a. "White Ecstasy.")

The film is five minutes long, silent, and in color. According to the videotape jacket, it was filmed in the winter of 1943. The fox in the chase is Hank Seidelhuber. Among the eight or so hounds are Don Amick (wearing a white cap with goggles), Paul Gilbreath (wearing a white cap without goggles), Sig McGuire, Andy Anderson, and a skier named Rusty. These were some of the best Northwest skiers of the day.

The film opens with scenes of the Stevens Pass lodge. The chase begins with the fox climbing a powdery trail among snowy trees. The hounds soon follow. The skiers literally run up the hills. At the top of a ridge (probably Tye-Mill divide) the fox stops for a cigarette and is nearly caught. There are scenes of fast downhill running in sun and fine powder snow, probably on the Mill Creek side of the ridge. The scenes include nice parallel turns, terrain jumps, and several crashes. The fox stops to rest again and is almost caught by Don Amick and Paul Gilbreath. The chase continues along an undulating ridge and there are slow motion shots of skiers jumping with the Chiwaukum Mountains in the background.

The ending credit says that the film was made near Stevens Pass and was unfinished due to World War II.

This film was donated to The Mountaineers on VHS tape by Tom Allen in October 2012. The location of the original color film is unknown. The VHS "master" tape was previously held by Irv Pratt of the Ancient Skiers group. The tape was probably made in the 1990s. In November 2012, the VHS tape was copied to an AVI file by Danny Miller of the Mountaineers History Committee. (Film notes and video preparation by Lowell Skoog.)

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