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Physical Culture, 1932

Physical Culture, Feb 1932, p. 22 - Jank, Milana, "Back to Nature on Wings of Wood"

"Twelve years ago my friends in Europe called me 'ski crazy'," writes the author, "And they were right--still are. For even in my childhood skiing held for me an irresistible lure. It brought me great happiness--the happines of blazing ski trails from peak to peak. Indeed, so powerful was this urge to travel on 'wings of wood' that no amount of ridicule could check or even lessen its force."

Fridtjof Nansen offered to the youth of Europe the promise of a new life. He called it "Idraet," which means in Norse "Go back to nature," and he pointed out the way to fulfill it, skimming on skis across the snow covered regions of the earth. "It was scarcely more than a decade ago that this new and invigorating life in Europe began."

The author taught skiing in Europe and made "the first and only crossing" of the Alps from Vienna to Mont Blanc on skis in winter, taking 146 days. She came to America and in January 1931 skied across the Presidential Range in New England. "It proved to me the possibilities for advancing the white sport in the United States," she writes. She traveled west and "soon various different mountains of the Cascade Range saw for the first time this modern weapon, the ski, conquering the steepest and most difficult approaches."

She describes in detail a solo ski-climb of Mt Baker from the northeast. Leaving Mt Baker Lodge shortly after midnight, she skied toward the mountain and climbed the Mazama and Rainbow glaciers, following a cougar to the bergschrund. She skied a short distance above, then switched to crampons and cut steps up the ice wall toward the summit. She described her climb as "the first and only solo ski ascent made by a woman to a majestic peak in the United States" and "the zenith of my ski experience." Her ascent took fifteen hours and from the summit she returned in about two hours to the area of Ptarmigan Ridge, where she met some of her ski students. They returned to the lodge together.

The author writes that "to me the primeval Pacific ranges are more intriguing than those European heights so redolent of the storied past." She calls Seattle the gateway to the Cascade Range, "the counterpart of Munich in the Unites States." She says of Ben Thompson, "This young man is a leader on the Pacific Coast in the development of the most glorious of all winter sports, an explorer who has made first ascents into the winter-white regions."

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