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Ezra Bowen - The Book of American Skiing

Chapter 2 - The Murky Past

p. 36: The author attributes the dawn of skiing to Norse hunters around 3000 B.C. "Then in the middle of the 19th century, skiing leaped all the way to California without first touching down in Central Europe." He discusses Snowshoe Thompson and mentions early skiing in central Europe, including Mathias Zdarsky and Sir Henry Lunn.

Much of this chapter describes the evolution of technique, from the telemark through the open and stem christies to the French technique of the 1940s and the resurgence of Austrian racers after WWII. The author discusses wedeln and the influence of Stefan Kruckenhauser in analyzing shortswing technique. Willy Schaeffer spread shortswing to skiers in America.

p. 42: In 1928 Rudolph Lettner patented the first steel edges.

p. 44: In the mid-1950s, Karl Hinderman ran a ski school at Big Mountain, Montana.

Chapter 6 - The Far Corner

p. 83: Between 1946 and 1963, skiing in the Pacific Northwest grew at 10 to 15 percent a year. In 1963 there were an estimated 100,000 Seattle skiers and another 60,000 around Washington state. There were 64 rope tows, a dozen chair lifts, two T-bars and six Poma lifts spread over eight major resorts and several lesser areas.

p. 84a: Photo of Walter Best and three others during the "first ski ascent" of Mt Rainier in April 1928.

p. 84b: The author interviewed Otis Lamson and Otto Giese about early Northwest skiing, but their recollections in this book are poorly edited. Lamson said, "We had jumping and races out here since 1915, but in those days nobody knew how to turn." Referring (I think) to the 1934 Silver Skis race, Giese recalled, "They lined us up at the start like calisthenics. The Norwegians came out with jumping skis without poles, and I remember one guy had a football helmet and shoulder pads." Lamson and Giese briefly recall the Milwaukee snow trains, winter life at Paradise on Mt Rainier, the 1935 Nationals, the first rope tows, and the bus to Stevens Pass. This was probably a good interview, but the resulting text in this book has been hacked to pieces.

p. 85a: Photo of eight ladies of the Summit Ski Club at Cle Elum WA in 1928 before the club's 5th annual ski tournament.

p. 85b: Photo of a half-dozen skiers, including Otto Giese, in the mass start of the 1934 Silver Skis race, with the Tatoosh Range in the background (fine).

p. 88: Photo by Ray Atkeson of a ski tourer at Artist's Point with snow flocked trees and Mt Baker in the background (fine).

p. 98: Photos and text describe the Slush Clup at Mt Baker, which mutated out of the annual July 4th Heather Cup race.

Chapter 9 - The Second Coming

p. 117: This short chapter describes the influence of Hannes Schneider and his immigration to America in 1939.

Chapter 12 - From Paradise to the Po

p. 145: Photo of mountain troops descending in a long line from Alta Vista below Mt Rainier (fine). The discussion of the 10th Mountain Division is very short, typical for this book.

Chapter 23 - The Predator

p. 222: This chapter contains an entertaining discussion with Monty Atwater and Dick Reuter about their avalanche control experiences in the 1950s. Atwater was a 10th Mountain veteran.

p. 228: Photo sequence of Ed LaChapelle triggering (and surviving) an avalanche at Alta (fine).


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Last Updated: Thu Feb 27 16:59:17 PST 2003