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Wilfred Woods - Personal Communication
Phone conversation, 14 January 2003Wilfred Woods has been publisher of the Wenatchee World for many years. I reached him at his office at the newspaper. We talked about skiing at Stevens Pass, Leavenworth, and around Wenatchee. He confirmed much of what I have found in newspapers and other sources but didn't provide much new information, at least about wilderness skiing.
by Lowell Skoog
Wilfred started skiing in 1935. He started with simple toe strap bindings and would look for a wheat field without a fence at the bottom to ski down. "No turns, just go." He said toe irons (i.e. Huitfeldt style bindings) were available in 1936 and probably a year or two earlier. I asked whether the term "toe-strap binding" referred to the type of binding with iron ears and he said no, a toe-strap binding just had a leather strap over the toe, often with a rubber band (inner tube material) to hold the boot tighter. The strap was threaded through a mortice in the ski or just nailed to the sidewall (on homemade skis). There was no heel strap originally. Leather heel straps appeared later. Later, metal springs with a buckle to tighten them were used to hold the heel in place.
I asked Wilfred about Dale Allen and Walt Anderson and he recalled that Allen was a Wildlife Department man and Anderson worked for the Forest Service. He said both are long since deceased. Wilfred did winter trips with Dale Allen to Lake Josephine near Stevens Pass and Twin Lakes up the White River. They also air dropped supplies at Holden the year after the mine closed and hiked in from Lucerne to check out the area. He never visited Holden while the mine was operating. He said Dale Allen still has relatives in the Wenatchee area. Wilfred didn't know about any relatives of Walt Anderson. He said that Anderson was older and he didn't know him well.
Here are a few odds and ends that Wilfred mentioned during our conversation. There was a lot of early skiing in the Waterville-Mansfield country in the 1920s and before. This was not a sport--people used skis just to get around in the winter. There were many rope tows in the hills around Wenatchee in the 1940s. The Hampton brothers, Walt and Wilmer, had an early ski jump at Squilchuck. Squilchuck State Park was established around 1951. The Hamptons later founded Mission Ridge. Ray Courtney used to ski into Lyman Lake to do snow surveys for the Washington Water Power Company and later the Chelan County PUD. Before the highway was finished on the west side of Stevens Pass, nearly all the skiers there came from Wenatchee. Wilfred recalled that the road was finished around 1939. He has Wenatchee Ski Club scrapbooks with information and photos of early skiing at Stevens Pass. The original Stevens Pass lodge was built by the Forest Service and was rebuilt after it burned down.
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