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Ancient Skiers 1904-1984
This album commemorates the second Clamfreeze reunion of the Ancient Skiers, held September 1984 at the Red Lion Inn, Bellevue, WA. The banquet paid tribute to the racers in the first Silver Skis race on Mt Rainier in 1934, fifty years earlier. Nearly 300 people attended.
Tall TalesThe first section of the album contains tall tales submitted by various ancient skiers. Interesting stories of life at Paradise before World War II were submitted by Hugh Bauer (p.2), Howard Clifford (p. 3), Bob Coe (p. 3), Bill and Honey Drake (p. 4), Shirley MacDonald Fopp (p. 5), Larry Linnane (p. 7), Jane Stoddard Mayer (p. 8), Harry Webster (p. 11), Irv Pratt (p. 26), and Grace Carter Lindley (p. 27). Stories of early racing and the Silver Skis race were submitted by Matt Broze (p. 2), Ome Daiber (p. 4), Conner Gray (p. 5), and Wendy Trosper (p. 10). Margaret Eilertsen (p. 4) describes skiing at Stevens Pass before the west side road was open. Joy Lucas mentions that Bob Hayes was chairman of the PNSA Certification Committee during the first exams in 1939-41.
Ski Area StoriesBruce Kehr writes that the Stevens Pass ski area started during the fall and winter of 1937-38, when some trees were chopped down and a rope tow was constructed, using parts purchased for less than $600. Bruce Kehr and Don Adams formed a loose partnership and went into business, even though the pass was not open from the west side in winter. The few west-siders who skied at Stevens either hiked six miles from the railway portal at Scenic or bought one-way tickets through the tunnel for 18 cents and rode up from the east portal in a small second-hand school bus. They completed their day by skiing back down to Scenic and their cars. Kehr describes the installation of other rope tows and chairlifts until December 1976 when the area was sold to Harbor Properties, a Seattle Firm headed by Stimson Bullitt.
Webb Moffett writes about the Snoqualmie Pass ski areas. This information seems to be entirely from psoundings-1978-dec-p20.
Howard Clifford gives a nice summary of ski history at Paradise, taken from Linda Helleson's History of Skiing in Mt Rainier National Park (helleson-1972). Sig McGuire briefly describes the development of skiing at Mt Baker, which matches the information in Ramon Heller's book (heller-1980). He says the sled lift constructed in 1935 was the first ski lift in the Northwest. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the lodge operation closed, since the highway department stopped plowing the road.
Photo AlbumThe album contains thirty-nine photos of banquet attendees at their tables.
Biographical SketchesSeveral of the attendees submitted biographical sketches. The following are noteworthy:
Amick, Don: Started skiing in 1933, racing in 1935. On 1948 Olympic team, but injured prior to the race. First president of Crystal Mountain, on the board for 22 years.
Bakke, Magnus: "First skied in Norway in 1903, a way of life. Harness was made of birch boughs put in water, scraped of bark, and when they became soft and supple, bent to fit around the foot. A clamp over the toe held them on. We wore wooden sole boots, rag sox of goat hair. Any carpenter could make a pair of skis." Bakke helped redesign the jump hill at Leavenworth, was a nordic coach for 39 years, was slope and trail engineer for Mission Ridge from 1965 to 1982, and was nominated to the U.S. Ski Hall of Fame in 1971.
Bauer, Wolf: Started skiing in 1919 in Bavaria, a pioneer of the sport in the Northwest since 1927. Won first slalom race on the West Coast, set by the Mountaineers, in the winter of 1929-30, using linked telemarks. Finished 5th place in the first Silver Skis race. Taught first mountaineering courses in the Northwest in the early thirties, founded and headed the Mountain Rescue Council and the Washington Kayak Club in late forties.
Beam, Kurt: Started skiing in Austria in 1936 in the Toni Seelos ski school. Came to U.S. in 1940 and the Northwest in 1946. Active in National Ski Patrol, initially at Mt Rainier, then regionally. Became a Regional Director, Division Director and finaly Assistant National Director. Active member of Mountain Rescue Council.
Borgersen, Mel: Parents from Norway started the family skiing as small children in Chicago, in the Norske Ski Club. Resumed skiing at Paradise in 1920s and 1930s. Crystal Mountain manager, 1958-66.
Broze, Matt: Started skiing in the 1935-36 season with brother Vince. Broze describes early racing experiences, then writes: "In 1942, I schussed Mt Baldy at Sun Valley and got the Diamond Sun. About a month later I schussed Mt Rainier from 10,000 ft. Camp Muir with one wingding on the rolls above 'Pan' and got the Silver Skis."
Campbell, Buster: Started skiing 1927, jumping 1928. Leavenworth Winter Sports Club junior jumping team 1932-40 and high school 4-way ski team. Inducted into army in January 1941, original member Ft. Lewis ski patrol. Won first 20 mile cross-country race at Camp Hale in May 1944. Later coach of U.W. ski team.
Daiber, Ome: Active Mountaineer from before 1925 to 1975. "First climb of six different routes on Mt Rainier in 1931. Liberty Ridge in 1935." Honorary member American Alpine Club. After Delmar Fadden search on Mt Rainier in 1936, was one of three founders of Mountain Rescue Council in 1948. Consultant, adviser and outfitter (Ome Daiber, Inc.) with many inventions and patents. 1939-40 development work for General Buckner of Alaska Defense Command on clothing and equipment. Development work for 10th Mountain Division and Royal Canadian Air Force early in World War II. 1943-44 engineer on survival problems by Army Air Force at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio.
Devin, Doug: Early skier at Stevens Pass. Opened Sporthaus ski shop in Seattle in mid-1950s and sold ski equipment for A&T Ski Company. Active in early Crystal Mountain days and started Mitey Mite ski program for Crystal Mountain ski school. President of Methow Recreation, Inc., the company applying for permits to build a destination ski resort at Early Winters in the Methow Valley.
Drake, Bill: Member of Bremerton Ski Cruisers. Searched the Olympic Mountains in late 1940s for a ski area before Hurricane Ridge was established.
Eilertsen, John: First skied at Darrington in 1933 on skis made by his grandfather (jumping and cross country). Helped form the Norheim Ski Club which later became the Everett Ski Club. In 1938, the Fjeld Ski Club was formed in Stanwood. Skied for Fjeld and won the national 4-way title at Mt Baker in 1942.
Fraser, Don: First skied Longmire in 1928, then Snoqualmie with Seattle, Sahalie and Washington ski clubs. During thirties was twice PNSA champion and won Silver Skis in 1934 and 1938. On 1936 Olympic team to Germany. Made Olympic team again in 1940. Worked for Union Pacific railroad in 1937, becoming sports director at Sun Valley and later PR director.
Fraser, Gretchen: Born in Tacoma and first skied Paradise in 1937. Won Mt Rainier combined in 1937 skiing for Washington ski club. Married Don Fraser in 1939 and moved to Sun Valley. Taught amputees skiing, riding and swimming while Don was in the service. Skied 1948 Olympic team, winning Silver in combined and Gold in special slalom at St Moritz.
Giese, Hans Otto: Born in Germany. First skied 1914 in the Black Forest. After World War I competed in cross-country and jumping until he came to the U.S. in 1923, settling in the Northwest. That year took part in the last 4th of July Ski Tournament at Paradise. Active competitor in late 1920s receiving special "Big W" award from U.W. "With Mountaineers made first ski ascents of Mounts Rainier, Adams, St Helens and Baker." One of the founders of Seattle Ski Council and served as President. Starting in 1934, organized and conducted all-city high school tournaments at Snoqualmie for ten years. Suggested Seattle P-I promote a unique race from Camp Muir to Paradise called "Silver Skis." As Northwest delegate to National Ski Association helped procure 1935 National Championships and Olympic tryouts for Paradise.
Griggs, Chauncey: "In 1935, Jim Parker and I founded Ski Lifts, Inc. and built and installed the first rope tows west of New England at Paradise Valley. Snoqualmie Summit, and Mt Baker. We operated this company for six years and sold out in 1942 to Webb Moffett, our first employee. I served in the Artillery Section of the 10th Mountain Division at Camp Hale, CO, and ended the war in San Francisco as a transportation officer."
Hayes, Robert: "Arrived in Seattle in the fall of 1926. In the spring of 1927 commenced climbing in the Cascades with the Mountaineers and by fall a number of our revolving group were reluctant to give up mountains for a long winter. We went out and purchased skis which in those days wasn't that easy. Learning to ski wasn't either. Hans Giese from the Black Forest and the Arlberg was our number one teacher along with a silent Swiss, Rudy Amsler, a beautiful, graceful skier but not very vocal. After four years in Snoqualmie Pass area--no place else to go--shared a cabin at Mt Baker with Ben Thompson for four years with never a dull moment--skiing, climbing, and on blizzard days repairing and manufacturing. Then Paradise opened up, Washington Ski Club, Silver Skis, etc. for four years. Then came the war and that spelled the end of skiing for our family. We moved to boating to fill the gap and we encountered many old skiing buddies on the water."
Higman, Bob: Started skiing in 1927 via Milwaukee railroad to the Scout cabin at Silver Peak. "Then, until Snoqualmie opened, skied at Silver or Mountaineers Hyak Lodge...or hopped N.P. freight for Stampede Pass, sometimes sleeping in boxcars. While in high school completed Mountaineers ski team. Made U.W. ski team in 1932."
Hoffman, Walt: First went on Garfield High School ski trips in 1926 led by H.B. Cunningham and Leon Brigham. "Would snowshoe from Ashford to Narada Patrol cabin (some made it to Paradise)." Later got a cabin at Paradise for three years. In 1935-36, with John Bissell toured Europe on bicycles in winter carrying skis. Ski toured Arosa to Davos and St Moritz, then biked to Zermatt for more skiing.
Hvam, Hjalmar: Writing about Paradise: "I had won a race and was invited to celebrate with friends who were staying on the second floor in the Lodge. After a few aquavits I thought I had better go to my lodgings in another building, and being a bit befogged I thought I was on the first floor and could put my skis on and ski out. I found myself on the stairs and was under the impression that the stairs would not be slick. I decided to go down. They were wet from skiers' boots, and I really picked up speed, made the turn, and sailed out onto the crowded dance floor. I was so embarrassed, I just looked down at the floor and skied out. Needless to say, I didn't hear the end of that one for quite a while."
Kehr, Bruce: Started skiing at Mt Rainier in the early 1930s. In 1937, Kehr quit his job in Seattle and joined with Don Adams to build a rope tow at Stevens Pass. Operated tows in Paradise Valley in the winter of 1941-42. Sold Steven Pass ski area to Harbor Properties in 1976.
Kinkade, Harold: First skied in 1931 at Silver Springs on homemade Enumclaw ash wood skis with toe straps. During 1936-39, helped build Longview Ski Club cabin at timberline on Mt St Helens. The cabin was used until 1980.
Link, Ed: Started skiing in the Boy Scouts, Troop #327, at Silver Peak near Snoqualmie Pass in 1926. Was in the 10th Mountain Division through World War II. Retired from the Army in 1966. Spent 13 years as president of Crystal Mountain.
Linnane, Larry: In 1937, rented one of the single cabins behind the Paradise Lodge for $30 for the winter season. No modern facilities, had to use the bathroom in the lodge. "Because of an accident the cabins were closed for the 1938 winter so we moved into a room in the lodge for 3 persons, $60 for the season with maid service."
Little, Walter: First skied in 1927 on the trail from Longmire to Glacier Bridge. Previously a civil engineer; active in early development of Crystal Mountain.
Lucas, Jim and Joy: Met on the Milwaukee ski train, married in 1939, "then went to the Olympics in 1940 and ran the Deer Park ski area (the year of NO SNOW). We made $90 for the whole three months." Joy was the first woman in the Northwest to become a certified ski instructor, in 1941.
Moffett, Webb: First skied on the golf courses in New Rochelle, NY, in 1917. Came west in 1931 and was fascinated by the skiing possibilities here. In 1936, read an article in the Sunday Supplement of the New York Times about a fellow in Woodstock, VT, who built an endless rope to haul skiers up hills. "This decided my future and I have been hauling skiers up the hills ever since."
Simonson, Henry: Started skiing at Snoqualmie in 1932. Bought the Anderson and Thompson Ski Co. with John Woodward in 1955 and sold it in 1975. A&T made skis until 1958, then purchased skis, boots, bindings from around the world. Involved in getting a ski area at Early Winters, WA.
Spring, Ira: "My twin brother and I were given our first pair of skis in 1926, when we were seven years old, but we didn't make much use of them until we were in high school." In 1939-40, helped the Shelton and Bremerton ski clubs build a winter lodge at Flapjack Lakes in the Olympic Mountains. "More time was spent building the lodge than was ever spent using it." After World War II became freelance photographer with twin brother Bob. "For twenty years, sometimes with Bob, I made one or two ski mountaineering trips every winter for picture stories. They included a ski ascent of Glacier Peak, a Paradise-Camp Muir-Steamboat Prow traverse, Juneau Icefield, Mt Baker, and a few other rugged trips."
St Louis, Lyle: Arrived in the Northwest from Wisconsin in 1930. Became involved with Ski Patrol, Search and Rescue, and in 1958 or 1959 received the Minne Dole Award for Outstanding Ski Patrolman in the nation.
Trosper, Wendell: First skiing at Snoqualmie Pass about 1926, Model T Ford transportation, Strand skis with toe straps. Worked with Ben Thompson at A&T in the 1930s. Summit guide on Mt Rainier in the summers. One of the founders of Paradise Ski Club, raced in slalom and downhill.
Williams, Parker: "Began mountain life 1913 (age 6 months) at Monte Cristo. Started skiing 1927, several seasons at Big Four skiing to Monte Cristo and surrounding mountains (including Stevens Pass from Scenic) passable with my 8 foot maple boards, later oak (!) and ash. 1930-36 U.W. and skied Paradise 1932-36 staying at Fiji cabin connected by 75 foot tunnel to Theta cabin under 30 feet of snow. Purely platonic--nice girls."
Woodward, John: Started skiing Snoqualmie Pass in 1930. With a group from Garfield High, built a cabin on Forest Service land just below the summit. In 1933, the Torvig Ski Club moved to Mt Rainier and rented one of the cabins. Moved into the Lodge when the cabins were closed. Raced in first three Silver Skis races and was course setter in 1941. Went on active duty in 1941 and trained 15th Infantry ski patrol at Longmire and Paradise. Went to Camp Hale, CO, and ran the ski school for the Army, then to Italy in 1944 with the 10th Mountain Division. Spent 25 years as a partner in A&T Ski Company with Hank Simonson as president.
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