Alpenglow Ski Mountaineering History Project Previous | Next | Home
American Ski Annual and Skiing Journal, 1957
* Lowell Skoog has a copy of each article marked with an asterisk.
p. 33: Bourdon, Robert, "Skiing Has Changed! -- But Is It Any More Fun?" *
This article discusses changes in equipment and techniques from the 1920s to the present. The author began skiing in Vermont with edgeless skis and poles made of hard maple. Bindings were called "hitchin's" and consisted of a toe strap, sometimes with a heel strap. The heel strap always slipped off unless you put a screw in your boot heel to hold it up. Control with these bindings was minimal, but nobody tried to turn except in an emergency. This was accomplished by crossing the tails of the skis. Later, skis were made with a wide mortise under the foot, and a piece of iron was wedged into this opening and then bent up and around the sides of the shoe.
The Northland catalog had a few brief words on technique, explaining how to do a telemark to the left and an open christie to the right. The author notes: "The telemark is rather interesting to watch and does work well in powder snow, but anyone using it today is considered very eccentric, to say the least." The big advances in skiing began with the advent of the rope tow in 1934 and the introduction of the Arlberg technique. It was about this time that metal edges appeared. Bindings were changing too. Toe irons were adjustable with screws and no longer had to be bent to fit the shoe. The Bildstein heel spring and Amstutz pull-down spring appeared. Sections of inner tube were found to work as well as the Amstutz, and cost less.
Dick Durrance began winning races by skiing with his feet together, and without stemming. "They called it the 'tempo turn' then, but it would just be called a good christie today." In the 1940s, the "ruade" and the French parallel technique shook the ski world. In the 1950s, the idea of a strong shoulder swing began to fade, and this season "wedeln" is the technique every skier hopes to master.
p. 47: Freeman, Roger A., "Mount Rainier Continues Winter Hibernation As Skiers' Efforts Blocked" *
Until 1954, the road to Paradise had not been kept open in winter for several years. No overnight facilities exist at Mt Rainier in winter. A small rope tow operates on the lower slopes, but there is less skiing now at Paradise than before World War II. The author, assistant to former Washington Governor Arthur B. Langlie, writes: "The downhill runs match anything that the Alps can offer. They lack but one thing: facilities. Mt Rainier is a sleeping beauty in permanent hibernation."
In October 1953, Governor Langlie submitted a request to Interior Secretary Douglas McKay for a three-point development program at Paradise, including overnight facilities, a year-round road and aerial tramway, with costs to be born by private operators. Newspapers, civic and business organizations in the state, and the Pacific Northwest Ski Association, backed the proposal. According to the author, "only a local climbing group" [The Mountaineers] agreed with Parks Director Conrad Wirth, who opposed the idea. "When it became obvious that the overwhelming sentiment in the state favored the proposed program, the small group of local opponents and the park service mobilized powerful conservation groups in the East." The author rails against the conservationists, writing: "Opposition to development of western parks has always been concentrated on the eastern seaboard among people who seldom if ever visit the parks but seem determined to protect their colonies from contamination by local residents."
On December 17, 1954, Secretary McKay notified Governor Langlie that the National Park Service had decided not to include proposals for a tramway in Mt Rainier National Park development plans. Following this decision, the Governor and state legislature petitioned the President and Congress to take measures to enable development at Rainier to proceed. The author writes: "The Washington state organizations which have in the past supported the drive for Mt Rainier development are determined to keep working at it till the final goal is accomplished."
p. 53: Adams, Nancy, "New, Trim, Functional Look, This Year's Ski Wear" *
This article is largely concerned with fashion. The author touts Head skis as "fashion-conscious skis" and writes, "This year, increasing emphasis has been given to look-alike ski clothes for families--a trend that has quickly captured the fancy of those who pursue the snow time sports." Fiberglass wrapped wood core skis are available from Lamborghini of Italy.
p. 77: Dole, C. Minot, "History of the Patrol" *
A brief history of the National Ski Patrol System from 1938 through 1956. Regarding the Air Force Winter Search and Rescue units organized during the war, the author writes that fifty-two missions were completed and "eight known lives saved." By 1953-54, the NSPS had handled over 49,500 accidents since its beginning 18 years earlier and had saved "66 known lives."
p. 126: McNeil, Fred H., "Furry History of Pacific Northwestern Ski Association" *
In the spring of 1930, the author and Harald Lee were delegated by the Cascade Ski Club to work on a Northwest ski association. Letters went forth. The first reply was from John C. Beeson, banker of Cle Elum. In December 1930, six clubs met in Portland to become charter members of PNSA--Seattle, Leavenworth Winter Sports and Cle Elum in Washington and Bend Skyliners, Hood River and Cascade in Oregon. Interest in those days was in jumping, cross-country and classic combined. There was a tendency to regard skiing as a transplanted Scandinavian sport. The author attended a meet at Beaver Lake, the Seattle Ski Club hill near Snoqualmie Pass, and found the Norwegian flag flying and announcements being made in Norwegian. At the banquet in North Bend that evening, he berated the crowd for the transplanted features.
He writes: "Over at Cle Elum they had been conducting a freak tournament for some years. It included events like obstacle races and races in costume, and cash prizes were posted. Cash prizes, until the association got going, were not uncommon. Influence of the jumping-for-cash practice in the Middle Western states was felt here and I saw cash awarded winners in the first Mount Hood meets. All this was stricken in the PNSA charter."
The association's first Alpine meet, a slalom, was held early in 1932 on a steep forested slope across the valley from the Beaver Lake jumping hill. [Wrong: It was 2/4/1934, two weeks after the dedication of the Snoqualmie Municipal Ski Park.] "Seattle's Hans Otto Giese was the ardent proponent of the Alpine events through knowledge and enthusiasm for them in Europe." Some eighty skiers, men and women, climbed to the top of the ridge, and not more than twenty had skis with metal edges. Just below the first gate, on a steep slope, was a sharp turn that was Waterloo for the wooden edged skis. "Skier after skier slid down that hill, many of them disappearing into the cones around the trees."
By 1935, the association had secured the national downhill and slalom championships and tryouts for the 1936 U.S. Olympic team. Now more than 80 organizations belong to PNSA.
p. 131: Keil, Bill, "Washington's Pigtail Peak, Newest Ski Mecca" *
Construction of the new charlift at White Pass was started last year, but early snows halted work before the lift could be finished. The lift has been completed for the 1956-57 season and new ski trails are being cleared. A new lodge is being built at the foot of the chairlift.
Previous Return to the Alpenglow Ski Mountaineering History Project home page Next