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Ski Magazine, 1936

Ski Magazine, Jan 1936

This is the primiere issue of SKI, America's first skiing magazine (price: 25¢, renamed Ski Illustrated a few years later). My PDF copy is from ISHA. This issue was edited and published by Al Nydin and Harry Randle. It includes sketches and cover art by Harry Randle and photographs by Orville Borgersen. This issue focuses on Northwest winter sports clubs during a transitional season before rope-tows were installed at many ski areas. (The only Northwest tow at this time was the new "Ski-Escalator" at Mt Baker.) This issue is a treasure trove of period Northwest ski information.

Ski, Jan, 1936, Inside front cover - "Rainier National Park Company"

This advertisement touts Paradise Valley as site of "last year's U.S. Championships" with "skidom's grandest downhill course--the four mile race of the Silver Skis." The area offers "two modern hostelries," Paradise Inn (reconditioned for this winter) and Paradise Lodge ("last year's ski headquarters"). Accommodations range from $4.50 for European Plan (no bath or meals) to $7.00 for American Plan (single bath with meals). The all-year highway leads to Narads Falls, from which the Park Service maintains one-mile trails to Paradise. "To glide down the ski trail back to Narada climaxes any day's skiing."

Ski, Jan, 1936, p. 1 - Masthead

The list of associated editors and advisors is a who's who of Northwest skiing: Peter Hostmark (PNSA), Ed Loners, (Washington Alpine Club), Hans Otto Giese (Washington Ski Club), Frank Bush (YMCA), Earl Little (Leavenworth Winter Sports Club), Carl Zappfe (Seattle Ski Club), Elvin P. Carney (The Mountaineers), Dr. Otto Strizek (Washington Ski Club), Carl Mahnken (Seattle Ski Council), Victor Larsen (Seattle Ski Club) and Ben Thompson (Washington Ski Club). The masthead says that SKI will be published in November, December, January, and February during the winter season of 1936-37. (Apparently just one issue was published in 1935-36.)

Ski, Jan, 1936, p. 2 - "We Make Our Bow"

The editors write: "Our major news will eminate from the Northwest but we will also give you some interesting slants on skiing in other sections of America and abroad."

Ski, Jan, 1936, p. 4 - Al Nydin, "Our Mountain Rendezvous"

This article by the publisher of SKI is a survey of Northwest skiing centers. The author describes the Northwest as "the Switzerland of America," with perfect conditions for the advancement of skiing. With a mild climate and close proximity to population centers, golf may be played in the lowlands while skiing takes place among the mountain tops.

Ski, Jan, 1936, p. 4 - Photo by Orville Borgersen: "Snow ghosts stand sentinel across your path."

Mt Baker and snow-flocked trees from Artist Point (fine).

Ski, Jan, 1936, p. 7 - Harry Randle, "Beginners Tips on Skiing and Clothing"

The author mentions The Mountaineers, Washington Alpine Club, Washington Ski Club, and Seattle Ski Club as organizations that have "blazed the trail" in local skiing. He discusses techniques for stopping (Double Stemming, Open Christiania) and climbing (Herring Bone, Zigzag). He provides basic advice on selecting clothing and equipment.

Ski, Jan, 1936, p. 9 - Hans Otto Giese, "The Olympic Games"

The author (pictured) was chairman of the reception committee for the 1935 U.S. Olympic Team tryouts and National Championships held on Mt Rainier. He discusses the history of the ancient Olympics in Greece and the revival of the modern Games by Baron Pierre de Coubertin in 1896. The first winter Olympics were held in 1924 at Chamonix, followed by St Moritz (1928) and Lake Placid (1932). The 1936 Winter Olympics will be held at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, in February. The Summer Olympics will take place in Berlin in August, opened by German Chancellor Adolf Hitler.

In the closing paragraph, the author notes that the German people as a whole, and the athletic and government authorities in particular, have done everything possible to make 1936 Olympics an unforgettable experience for the visitors and participating athletes. "And this, no doubt, will serve to form lasting friendships to be of the greatest service and value to athletics as one of the major factors in modern international relations to the end of maintaining peace amongst humanity and for continuing and furthering more than ever the fine ancient ideals and the spirit of the Olympic Games."

The article includes a graphic showing the five Olympic rings, each containing a photo of one of Washington's entries in the 1936 Olympic skiing events: "Skit" Smith, Ellis-Ayr Smith, Grace Carter, Darroch Crookes, and Don Fraser.

Ski, Jan, 1936, p. 11 - Photo by Orville Borgersen: "Start of the Downhill Race at the Olympic Tryouts - Paradise Valley."

A group of skiers stands near Camp Muir as a racer begins the downhill course. (The winner of this race was awarded the 1935 Silver Skis trophy.)

Ski, Jan, 1936, p. 12 - Photo: "The Downhill and Slalom course at Rainier National Park - scene of the Olympic Tryouts and National Championships."

Aerial view of the course between Camp Muir and Paradise.

Ski, Jan, 1936, p. 13 - Orville Borgersen, "Spring Skiing"

The author is described as the "Eminent Photographer of Northwest Winter Scenes." He writes: "We in the Pacific Northwest are particularly fortunate and can boast one of the longest ski seasons in the world. Spring and mid-summer skiing starts about March and continues as late as June or July. At these late dates we turn to the vast sun-lit expanses of ski ground that lie between glaciers." Later the author writes: "Most of the ski climbing expeditions of mountains have been made in the spring of the year, this insuring the party favorable weather conditions and settled snows which cut down the hazards of avalanches, covered crevasses and loose cornices."

The first crossing of Mt Rainier on skis from Paradise to the White River was made by Dr. Otto Strizek, Ben Spellar and the writer. "This was only possible during the month of March where at the elevation of 11,000 feet we side-stepped and wound our way through and over crevasses on Muir Glacier, Ingraham Glacier and Emmons Glacier. We were rewarded by one of the finest downhill runs any of us had ever experienced when we culminated our trip with the run down Inter Glacier to Camp Starbo."

The author writes that the Seattle Junior Chamber of Commerce has been the driving force behind popularizing spring skiing in the Northwest.

Ski, Jan, 1936, p. 13 - Photo by Orville Borgersen: "Bathing suits, bronzed bodies and glorious sunny days accompany Spring Skiing."

A woman in shorts and a halter-top stands next to a pair of long skis.

Ski, Jan, 1936, p. 14 - Photo: "As June advances we turn to the vast sun-lit expanses of Ski-Ground that lies between Glaciers."

Photo of Borgersen brothers (Orville, Melvin, Stanley, and ?) standing on skis wearing shorts on the slopes of Mt Rainier. (I don't remember where I learned that this is a picture of the Borgersen brothers. I think it was at the memorial gathering for Mel's wife Evelyn.)

Ski, Jan, 1936, p. 15 - Ed Loners, "The 'Sport of Kings'"

Eight to ten years ago, the author writes: "To carry one's skis and pack down to the depot in the street car, to catch the train for the snow-fields, was to put one's self in an imaginary frame, for all to stare and wonder. One was told that snow-shoes probably would serve the purpose of snow travel better as only ski-jumpers used the ski. However, upon leaving town and upon arriving at the ski fields, one was in a very exclusive fraternity of true sportsmen..."

At Paradise, at the end of a day of skiing, less than a score of skiers would gather to dine at the Old Winter Lodge (six miles from the end of the plowed road). At Mt Baker, a party would procure the key to the timberline cabin and once there, have the mountain to themselves. At Stampede Pass they would live in unoccupied railroad shacks and ski in small groups. Snoqualmie Pass was out of the picture because the narrow dirt road was closed during the winter twelve miles below the summit.

Today, thousands of people ski at Paradise on weekends. Mt Baker offers an uphill lift (a cable-drawn sled). Stampede Pass is accessible by train in special cars for skiers, with accommodations near the snowfields. Snoqualmie Pass is reached by a paved road year-round. "Naches Pass" is also being developed. (I suspect that the author is referring to either Corral Pass or, more likely, Chinook Pass.) Ski equipment is not only readily available, but much of it is manufactured in the Seattle area. The author suggests that local skiing has really come of age "in the past three or four years."

Ski, Jan, 1936, p. 15 - Photo by Orville Borgersen: "Crowds gather on week-ends and holidays at every popular Winter Sports Playground."

A long line of skiers stands on a snowfield above Paradise Inn on Mt Rainier. The Tatoosh Range is visible in the distance. (This is a pre-rope-tow photo. Probably a ski race or winter carnival crowd.)

Ski, Jan, 1936, p. 16 - "Tacoma: The Gateway to Rainier National Park"

The first Tacoma Winter Sports Carnival was staged by the Tacoma Chamber of Commerce "six years ago." At that time it was estimated that there were 200 pairs of skis privately owned in the Puget Sound area. Today the number is estimated to be 10,000. The Tacoma Chamber of Commerce is keenly interested in selling to the rest of the country the idea that here in the Northwest "we have the 'ideal' in skiing."

Ski, Jan, 1936, p. 18 - "Kimball's Ski Club"

The purpose of this club is to introduce non-car drivers to enthusiastic car owners. The club has no dues other than the fare of one dollar paid by each passenger to the driver of the car. "The passenger thus gets a dandy trip almost too reasonable, and the driver has his motoring expenses paid and can afford to furnish frequent transportation to the mountain."

Ski, Jan, 1936, p. 19 - Scott Edson, "Wax and Weather"

Waxing advice (including a wax chart) based on information from Andy Anderson and Norval Grigg (of the Mountaineers).

Ski, Jan, 1936, p. 20 - Peter Hostmark, "The Curtain Rises on Competitive Skiing"

"A few intrepid mountaineers" took up skiing "some twenty years ago." Ski clubs were formed and they built lodges and organized competitions among their members. The Seattle Ski Club organized its first jumping tournament in 1930. The Cascade Ski Club of Portland postponed its own tournament to avoid a scheduling conflict and in the fall of 1930 these clubs, and four more, organized the Pacific Northwest Ski Association (PNSA) to work together on matters of common interest. Fred McNeil of the Cascade Ski Club was the first PNSA president.

The new organization set up a system to license tournament judges and developed standards for safe jumping hills. A few years later, downhill and slalom races were added to the official PNSA calendar. At present the association includes eight member clubs: Seattle Ski Club, Washington Ski Club, Cle Elum Ski Club, Leavenworth Winter Sports Club, Spokane Ski Club, Cascade Ski Club (Portland, OR) and Skyliners (Bend, OR).

Ski, Jan, 1936, p. 21 - "The Silver Skis Trophy"

A description of the Silver Skis race, to be held for the third time on April 19, together with a photograph of the trophy.

Ski, Jan, 1936, p. 22 - Ome Daiber, "Skis as Transportation"

This historical piece discusses the practical use of skis around the world, from Scandinavia to the North and South Poles, Greenland, Alaska, the Yukon, and the Alps. The author writes: "The ski like the automobile was made for practical service, but how much they have added in their use for pleasure, is immeasurable."

Ski, Jan, 1936, p. 23 - "With the Clubs"

This section details club activities during the current ski season.

Leavenworth Winter Sports Club (reported by Earl Little)

The Mountaineers Penguin Ski Club Seattle Ski Club Washington Alpine Club (reported by Ed Loners and Wilma Warner) Washington Ski Club (reported by Ben Thompson) Wenatchee Ski Club (reported by Bob Thomas)

Ski, Jan, 1936, p. 24 - Earl Little, "Leavenworth Winter Sports Area"

With the help of the U.S. Forest Service and the Civilian Conservation Corps the Leavenworth Winter Sports Club has improved its ski grounds one mile from town. The club has two warming huts, several jumping hills, and a variety of slopes and trails. The author lists the following suggested trips in the area:

Ski, Jan, 1936, p. 26 - Frank Bush, "Ski Trails in the Wenatchee Valley"

"The Stevens Pass district has already been termed by skiing authorities as comparable to the best ski terrain to be found in the Northwest, and a contemplated clearing and building project by the Forest Service similar to what is being done at Leavenworth, and which will be undertaken in 1936, will make it a mecca for skiers."

Wenatchee Valley skiers can ski literally in their back yard, or can travel anywhere from one to 65 miles (the distance to Stevens Pass) to find better facilities. Trips into the backcountry up to 75 miles in length are possible. A group from the newly formed Wenatchee Ski Club have planned a 50-mile ski trip this winter. The trip will take them from Cle Elum Lake up the Cle Elum River, over the divide south of Paddy-Go-Easy Pass to descend Meadow Creek to the Icicle Canyon to Leavenworth. "Eating and sleeping provisions were laid in during the Fall, at three cabins for overnight stays, and at the last stop at Chatter Creek Guard Station beds are made and table set with place cards, awaiting the coming of the ski party."

Wenatchee skiers have been known to use ski-equipped airplanes to fly into the hills above the Wenatchee Valley, from which they can descend to their cars at the airport.

Ski, Jan, 1936, p. 27 - "Skiing in Dollars and Cents"

This short item lists statistics on Northwest skiing during the winter season of 1934-35. The statistics are mostly about dollars and the number of people involved.

A fine, untitled photo on this page shows several dozen cars parked at the end of a snowy road. I think it is the Narada Falls parking lot on Mt Rainier.

The University Book Store in Seatle offers a ski bus service to Snoqualmie Pass on Sundays. Leaving the Book Store at 7:15 a.m., the busses arrive at the past two hours later. Fare: $1.50 per person. The Book Store also rents ski equipment.

Ski, Jan, 1936, p. 30 - William J. Maxwell, "Skiing at Snoqualmie Pass"

The Snoqualmie Pass highway was kept open throughout the winter for the first time in 1930-31. "Prior to this only a few venturesome skiers visited there during the winter months."

When the pass opened in winter, inadequate parking facilities caused much congestion. The State Highway Department widened the roads and improved snow removal. In December 1933, Ben Evans (in charge of playfields of the Seattle Park Board) and a few other enthusiasts obtained government money to develop a ski area. A tract of land was leased without charge from the Forest Service. Land plotted for private homesites was withdrawn from private use to meet the needs of the public. Forty Civil Works Administration workers from North Bend cut and trimmed trees covering four acres of hillside above a meadow for a skiing ground. A warming shed was constructed for shelter. As many as 600 people played on this municipal ski course on Sundays and holidays, while Saturday usually saw at least 100 people at a time. But due to limited space and crowded conditions many did not return and instead looked for skiing at more distant places.

The author argues that the time has come when the people must choose "whether a huge ski development shall take place and Seattle and neighboring communities reap the fullest reward both commercially and recreationally." He writes that a plan has been suggested to cut trees and smooth out some of the terrain features to enable "several thousand skiers to enjoy themselves."

"We have to choose: does conservation mean to keep our ski hills in comparative idleness--unused through the ages--or to yield to the demand of young America that they be given an adequate winter playground. The high school boys and girls are the skiers of today and tomorrow. They cannot afford trips to distant places and to expensive hotels, but they must have physical activity to develop fully and to satisfy their love of adventure.

The exhilaration of swift running skis, the purity of mountain air, the achievement of skill and the approbation of their companions, the feats of daring on skis...all these give to young America an outlet of exuberant spirits. It is a youth movement worth while. It teaches them teamwork, self control, good sportmanship, ability to overcome obstacles, to endure and enjoy a mountain storm and to really know the outdoors in all its varying beauties and vicissitudes. Let us then work ceaselessly for the further development of skiing in Snoqualmie Pass."


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