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Mazama, 1930-39

Mazama, Dec 1939, p. 63 - McNeil, Fred H., "Leading the Snow Army"

"Most, if not all the actual pioneering of winter sports at [Mount] Hood was done by Mazamas," writes the author. "They left commercial exploitation of the field to others, but in the purely recreational field the club has stood continuously at the front."

The earliest mention of skiing in Mazama records is the account of an expedition made February 22, 1897 by Will Langille, Malcolm Moody, and Mr Balfour (of Lyle, WA) to Cloud Cap Inn. The trip was made out of concern abut the eight-year-old structure in winter winds and snows. They used homemade skis, nine feet long, three inches wide, with tow strap harness. Skis were considered a novelty at the time. Each skier carried a single long pole. It could be tilted to the side for balance or straddled and sat on to check speed. The party reached Cloud Cap in a day from the valley below, found the building snug, and spent three days skiing. Langille called it "the trip of a lifetime."

The first Mazama winter sports expedition to Government Camp, by Col. L. L. Hawkins, Martin W. Gorman and T. Brooke White in 1903, was extensively reported in the Portland press. None of the party had previous skiing experience. They had fine weather and Hawkins later wrote: "The time will come when more people will go to Mt Hood in winter for sport than now go in summer."

At Government Camp, O.C. Yocum hosted Mazama guests each winter during the decade of the 1900s. Groups also visited the north side of the mountain and Mazamas helped organize the Portland Snowshoe Club, which built a cabin near Cloud Cap Inn in 1910. Skis remained a novelty on Mazama winter outings for several years, as most parties used snowshoes.

In 1913, the author joined a Mazama ski outing to the south side of Mt Hood, including a snowshoe and ski hike to Timberline. Elijah Coleman, who operated the Government Camp hotel, provided instruction in skiing.

During the New Year of 1914, a party led by Osmon Royal spent six days on the north side of the mountain at Mt Hood Lodge. Hazel L. Mills and Marian Schneider, Mazamas, became the first women to make the trip to Cloud Cap Inn on skis.

In March 1917, Frank Jones and Rodney Glisan skied from Fort Klamath to Crater Lake rim and back. That same year, Dean Van Zant, Clem Blakney and Chester Treichel hiked with skis and snowshoes along the skyline between Mt Hood and Mt Jefferson. Due to snow storm, they cut short a planned winter climb of Mt Jefferson.

In the first decade, most skiers went to the north side of Mt Hood because roads in Hood River Valley were open so much closer than those on the south side, while the railroad offered comfortable travel to Hood River. As the Mt Hood loop highway was extended and more buildings and resorts were going in along the Sandy River route, the balance began swinging to the south side, with trips becoming common by the time of World War I.

The road to Government Camp was kept open after the winter of 1926. In the 1930s the Roosevelt adminstration completed the road to timberline and Timberline Lodge. Boyd French took the lead in stimulating club members to enter ski competitions on the mountain. The author wraps up by discussing the 1938-39 ski season, a new ski tow, and competitive events.

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