NW Skier, Vol. 3, No. 11 - Crystal Mountain road
In 1949, the lodge at the Milwaukee Ski Bowl burned to the ground
and operation of the area was abandoned by the Milwaukee
Railroad. On January 9, 1960, the area will reopen as the Hyak
Ski Area. The area has been completely redeveloped with a new
A-frame lodge, two Pomalifts and several rope tows. Frederick D.
"Skip" Voorhees, who was largely responsible for redeveloping the
area, is the new area manager. Hyak will become the second
Washington ski area, after White Pass, to operate seven days a
week. The article includes a diagram of the new area facilities.
The 1-11-63 issue (p.1) describes improvements at Hyak--an
extended Pomalift and a new ski jump.
A group from Seattle and Port Angeles has proposed a million
dollar ski area development in Hart Lake Basin in Olympic
National Park. Spokesman Bob Millpointer stated: "If developed,
the area would become an Alpine Sun Valley of the Pacific
Northwest." Development would require five miles of new road
beyond Sol Duc Hot Springs to the head of the Sol Duc River,
where a parking lot would be established. From there, at the
3,200-foot level, a 10,000-foot long enclosed tramway would carry
skiers and tourists into Hart Lake Basin at 4,200 feet, where at
least three T-bars would branch out onto the 5,200-foot High
Divide. A day lodge would be constructed near the terminal of
the T-bars. The article includes comments in opposition to the
plan by Director Conrad L. Wirth and other Park Service
officials. Support for the plan is voiced by Svein Gilje, ski
editor of the Bremerton Sun. There is a photo of the basin with
Mt Olympus visible in the background and another of Walt Little,
Dave Newton and Bob Millpointer on a spring tour to check out the
In a page 2 editorial, publisher Bill Tanler argues for
the development of skiing on National Park lands.
Charles Hessey argues against the proposed Hart Lake ski area in
the Olympic Mountains on the grounds that it is against the
spirit of the National Park Service Act. What's more, the access
road would cost far more and the ski basin would offer far less
potential than the promoters claim. Hessey urges a comprehensive
study of ski development in the mountains of the Northwest rather
than the current haphazard approach. He writes: "When a planned
intrusion into a National Park is of such a demonstrably inferior
quality, then we cannot help but be suspicious of its advocates.
If it turns out that they are pure and above reproach, then we
feel it our duty to save them from themselves, for they'll surely
go broke with such a scheme."
A page 1 article reports that Nelson Bennett, a 10th Mountain
Division veteran, is the new general manager of White Pass ski
The King County Medical Society honored Dr. Otto Trott for his many
years of service in mountain rescue. In a newspaper story following
the award, Dr. Trott was quoted as saying, "My mountain rescue work
is not entirely unselfish. It is an ideal way to see the country."
Construction of the six-mile road from U.S. 410 into the site of
the Crystal Mountain ski area is expected to begin next spring.
The road question has been reported in previous issues of
Northwest Skier. The 11-6-59 issue (p.2) included an editorial
in favor of state assistance. The 11-13-59 issue (p.1) reported
that a survey had been authorized. The 12-4-59 issue (p.4)
reported that Governor Rosellini supported building the road.
The 10-28-60 issue (p.1) reported that state officials requested
federal forest highway funds. The 11-18-60 issue (p.1) reported
preliminary federal approval of the highway funds. Completion of
the road plans freed from escrow $850,000 raised through 1958-59
stock sales for construction of the ski area. The current issue
includes a photo of the ski area with proposed lifts and base
facilities marked. The 12-22-61 issue (p.1, with photos)
describes progress on building the road and preparing slopes and
reports that developers are aiming for a December 1, 1962 opening
A group of Vancouver skiers and businessmen submitted a bid to
host the 1968 Winter Olympic Games at Whistler Mountain in the
northern portion of Garibaldi Provincial Park. No ski area yet
exists at the site and it is accessible by rail but not by a
Six ski lecturers, Sverre Engen, Roger Brown, Dick Barrymore,
John Jay, Warren Miller and Hans Gmoser, are touring the
Northwest with ski films this season. Brown, a new filmmaker,
presents "Out to Ski," which features a ski descent of Mt Rainier
by a party including Jim and Lou Whittaker and Gordon
Butterfield. The 10-19-62 issue (p.4) reported that Brown quit
movie making to work for the Head Ski Company.
Assistant Secretary of the Interior John Carver surveyed the
proposed Hart Lake ski area site in the fall and gave the
proposal a slim chance. "The public doesn't seem to favor this
kind of project in our National Parks--at least, not in an
established park," he said. The $1 million project has been
spearheaded by W. Clyve Abel, owner of the Sol Duc Hot Springs
resort. The 10-25-63 issue (p.3) reports that Abel circulated
petitions throughout the Olympic and Kitsap peninsulas urging the
National Park Service to change its position. Senator Henry M.
Jackson has expressed support for the proposal.
The idea of building chairlifts at Paradise was floated again by
Governor Albert D. Rosellini in connection with a study of
overnight facilities at Mt Rainier National Park. Rosellini and
other state officials favor a new resort hotel at Paradise to
replace the aging Paradise Inn. Interior Secretary Stewart Udall
resists the idea and suggests that the hotel--assuming one is to
be built--should be outside the park on U.S. 410 near Crystal
Springs. The editorial supports locating the hotel were it can
be an asset to winter sports.
"Veteran Olympic Mountain skiers noted the passing of the shelter
and connecting buildings at the one-time popular Deer Park ski
area. The buildings were sold for salvage and the area is no
Seven years after the formation of Crystal Mountain, Inc., by a
group of Puget Sound skiers and businessmen, the all-new ski area
east of Mt Rainier National Park will open on December 1 with two
double chairlifts, a T-bar, seven rope tows, a day lodge and
parking for 1,200 cars. The key to development of the area was
the six mile road built from U.S. 410. Crystal is described as
"the first major Northwest ski area to be built away from an
Mel Borgersen is general manager. Jim Sullivan, formerly
area manager at Snoqualmie Summit and White Pass, is facilities
manager. Jack Nagel is the ski school director. Crystal
Mountain, Inc., officers include Joe Gandy (better known as
president of the Seattle World's Fair), chairman, William M.
Black, president, Don Amick, Leo Gallagher and John Graham, vice
presidents, Francis A. LeSourd, secretary, and Mel Borgersen,
treasurer. Initial development, not counting the access road,
was about $1.3 million.
On page 1 is a fine photo of three carpenters, Paul Borell of
Buckley, L. E. Thorsett of Enumclaw, and John Collins of
Enumclaw, who were the first passengers to ride up the first of
two Riblet double chairlifts installed at Crystal.
Sir Arnold Lunn, inventor of Alpine ski racing, visited
Timberline Lodge twenty-five years after his first visit in 1937.
Lunn expressed displeasure at the way alpine racing has
developed. He wants slalom courses "opened up" to become more of
a challenge to skiers and not just the performance of "a bunch of
ballet dancers on skis." He suggests that competitors not be
permitted to see courses before running them. "The trouble with
skiing today," Sir Arnold says, "is that no one under the age of
70 has any imagination or new ideas." The 74-year-old
Englishman's arrival at the Portland airport was hampered by fog,
"by local definition powder snow so fine and light that it just
hangs there." On page 7 is a photo of Lunn with Timberline's
Richard Kohnstamm at the terminal of the new Magic Mile lift.
The 9-20-74 issue (p.10) reported the death of Sir Arnold Lunn at
the age of 86 in London, England.
During the past ten years release bindings have come into popular
use in hope of reducing injuries caused by excessive torque
transmitted from ski to skier. A recent study showed that in
1952, when fewer than 50 percent of skiers used release bindings,
there were approximately the same number of accidents as in the
1960-61 season, when almost all skiers used them. The report
suggests that today's skier skis faster and better than he did a
decade ago and that modern short-turn techniques increase
Marcel Schuster, a native of the Bavarian Alps, is the new
director of the White Pass ski school. Schuster has lived in
Yakima for ten years and is described as "a member of the party
to first ski down from the summit of Mt Rainier about six years
ago." He is a former member of the German FIS team and was head
instructor at the U.S. Army rest center at Berchtesgaden from
1947-49. The article includes a fine photo of Schuster.
This article has a good summary of how the Stevens Pass ski area
got started in 1937, including the role of the Wenatchee and
Everett chambers of commerce, early access by road and train, and
development of lodges and rope tows. This information can be
found in other sources I've reviewed, but perhaps not so
concisely. The article describes later rope tow and chairlift
developments through construction of the 7th Heaven chair in
1960. The Big Chief chairlift was not yet built at the time of
this writing. The article includes photos of the ski area in
1937 and 1963.
There are twenty-nine National Forest ski areas in the Pacific
Northwest region. These areas recorded more than one million
visits in 1962, 95 percent of them by skiers. This is an
increase of 157 percent since 1950.
A story from Snoqualmie Summit was published in a regular Pacific
Northwest Ski Areas Association news release then picked up by
many Northwest papers. During the winter of 1963 it made it into
This was the story of the two lift attendants who set out to
discourage skiers from sneaking onto the lifts without tickets.
One went and dug up an old pair of discarded skis and fastened
them to his feet, then returned to elbow his way to the front of
the lift line.
"Where do you think you're going?" asked the
attendant. "Do you have a lift ticket?"
"I don't need a ticket to ride this tow," the other
snapped, and started to go on up.
The attendant on duty got out a double-edged axe,
took one swipe and chopped off the lift crasher's skis a
few inches in front of his toes, then looked up at the
amazed skiers in line who had witnessed the whole affair.
"Anyone else out there doesn't have a lift ticket?"
Snow depths during the winter of 1962-63 were the lowest in forty
years. Despite the poor winter, Crystal's gross revenues were 70
percent of the original estimates and plans are being discussed
for a third chairlift in Green Valley. On page 1 is an aerial
photo of the ski area with Mt Rainier in the background.
The 2-22-63 issue (p.1) reported that the Leavenworth Winter
Sports Club canceled its annual jumping tournament for the first
time in thirty-two years. The event was to have been a
qualifying meet for the 1964 U.S. Olympic team.
A new chairlift at Mt Pilchuck this season will transform one of
the Northwest's older ski areas "from a rope tow area to a
full-sized mountain." A new 4,000-foot long double chairlift is
being completed from the 3,100 foot level to 4,300 feet on Mt
Pilchuck. Dick Werner is executive vice president of Pilchuck
Park Lifts, Inc., and Wendy Carlson is area manager. George
Savage is ski school director. The 12-1-61 issue (p.4) reported
on a drive to raise capital for this chairlift and includes some
background on the ski area. The 10-16-64 issue (p.5) has a
display advertisement for the expanded area. The 3-17-67 issue
(p.4) has a Mt Pilchuck profile and the 3-38-69 issue (p.31) says
"Mt Pilchuck excels in courtesy." The chairlift below the lodge
was apparently built between 1967 and 1969. The 10-24-69 issue
describes "interim facilities" (portable buildings) added at
During the past week in Seattle, Wenatchee and Mt Vernon, a
special study team held public hearings to determine, in effect,
whether federal lands in the North Cascades should remain under
jurisdiction of the U.S. Forest Service or be turned over to the
National Park Service as a national park. The editor writes:
"The national park concept is to preserve the natural lands as
what is properly called an outdoor museum. The park concept
excludes all other use." The editor argues against the transfer
of more lands in the state of Washington to the National Park
Service and includes a resolution to that effect by the United
States Ski Association (USSA).
All major boot manufacturers have added at least one new buckle
boot to their product lines this season. Buckle boots have been
available for a few seasons and have proven popular for their
quick fastening and snug fits. The article includes fitting
advice from John Woodward of A&T and a summary of available
A page 4 article reports that Franz Gabl, 1948 Olympic
downhill silver medalist for Austria, will become director of the
Mt Baker ski school this season.
Stockholders of Wenatchee Mountain, Inc., gave formal approval to
plans for development of a ski area in upper Squilchuck Basin on
Mission Ridge. Don Kirby is company president. A four-mile
access road must be built to reach the proposed area. The
development has been conceived as a community project and further
stock sales are planned.
R. Duke Watson challenges the USSA's position on a national park
in the North Cascades. He cites as evidence of his support for
organized skiing his involvement in developing Crystal Mountain.
"But along with lift skiing, a number of us have also found time
for touring in the high Cascades. As a result of more than sixty
trips throughout this area during recent years, we have become
acquainted with many ski fields both within and outside of the
proposed park. From this experience I can state with conviction
that there are alluring prospects for lift development almost too
numerous to count outside the boundaries, including every type of
terrain that is found within. The well-meaning officials of the
USSA and PNSA should put on climbing skins and take a look for
The editor laments that skiers and mountaineers find themselves
in opposition on wilderness and National Parks. He blames this
on the conservation clubs for opposing permanent ski lifts of any
kind on national park land. On page 2 is another letter in favor
of a national park by Richard E. Taylor.
The U.S. Forest Service rejected an application for a winter
sports development inside the Mt Jefferson Primitive Area on the
eastern slopes of Three Fingered Jack.
Seattle KING-TV's cartooning weather man, Bob Cram, will host a
new half-hour weekly ski program, "Ski Nanny," on Friday
evenings, offering road and snow conditions, ski tips, feature
stories and Warren Miller ski films in color.
A third chairlift (in Green Valley), a ski jump, the new Silver
Skis Chalet, and other improvements have been added at Crystal
Mountain. According to this article, almost 1,000 Washington
families bought stock in the development of the ski area. A
2-3/4 mile downhill race course has been cut. The course will be
used this spring for a revival of the Seattle P-I sponsored
Silver Skis race. The Silver Skis was first held on Mt Rainier
in 1934 and ran ten times through 1948. The race was abandoned
as newer ski resorts became more popular than Mt Rainier. The
3-6-64 issue (p.6) reports that the Silver Skis race was held on
March 1 and won by Jay Jalbert of the University of Washington.
Hal Amick and Eric Giese, sons of former Silver Skis racers,
finished in the top five. The 2-28-69 issue (p.23) reveals that
the Silver Skis has become a two-run giant slalom race. It is
called the "Crystal Mountain Silver Skis," suggesting that by
1969 the Seattle P-I no longer sponsored the race.
As evidence that skiing is booming in the Northwest, this article
notes that Mt Bachelor, Anthony Lakes, Mt Ashland, Crystal
Mountain, Mt Pilchuck, Schweitzer Basin, Brundage Mountain, Hyak,
Tod Mountain and Big White were little more than ideas just five
years ago. It is unlikely that so many new ski areas will open
in the next five years, mainly due to lack of adequate access,
but established areas are likely to expand. Three completely new
areas are possible: Whistler Mountain, Mission Ridge and Mt Hood
Meadows. Developments at Hart Lake Basin in the Olympics and the
Three Fingered Jack area near Mt Jefferson are unlikely, due to
their location in a park or wilderness area.
Hans Gmoser of Calgary, Alberta, says, "They [the ski magazines]
speak of the revival of ski touring. There is no need to revive
ski touring, it has never been dead!" Every spring after
completing his national movie lecture tour, Gmoser leads groups
of skiers into the Canadian Rockies, Selkirks and Bugaboo
Mountains. Gmoser notes that ski touring "long ago abandoned the
hill country and moved into the most spectacular surroundings
skiing can find, namely, right up onto the vast glaciers and
Step-in bindings appear for the first time in an advertisement
for the Contact Skimatic binding from Germany, which "makes side
hitches and cables obsolete." On page 12 is an ad for the Miller
binding, with independent toe and heel units and operation in
"all ten release angles."
At the January 17 meet at Crystal Mountain, Jim and Dick Skoog of
the Kongsberger Ski Club placed 2nd and 3rd, respectively, in the
Veterans jumping class. The 2-16-68 issue (p.13) reported that
they finished 3rd and 4th, respectively, in the Veterans class at
the PNSA Championships at Leavenworth. In the 2-8-74 issue
(p.1), in a photo spread from a Rainier Snowbust at Crystal
Mountain, Lowell Skoog is shown in the upper-right corner
throwing a helicopter. [Please forgive my moment of nostalgia.]
Whistler Mountain is expected to open before Christmas with a
sedan lift from the highway at the 2,100 foot level to the 4,100
foot level. From there a chairlift will carry skiers to the
6,400 foot level of Whistler Mountain. T-bars will service
slopes near the bottom and top of the sedan lift. Accomodations
are under construction on both sides of the highway overlooking
Northwest Skier begins the 1965-66 season with a new
editor-publisher, Lee Klein. Ian Brown is Northwest Editor.
The North Cascades Study Team report fails to consider the
growing need of skiers for developed facilities, argues the
author. At Senator Jackson's recent public hearings, F.D. (Skip)
Voorhees of Renton's Milmanco Corp., PNSA president Max Meyring,
and consulting geologist Bob Grant testified to this effect.
They have studied at least fifteen potential sites for major
resort developments within or adjacent to proposed park and
wilderness areas. One of these sites (pictured on page 1) is Mt
Hinman in the proposed Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Another
(pictured on page 8) is the Liberty Bell basin near Washington
Pass on the still incomplete North Cascades Cross-State Highway.
The 2-11-66 issue (p.2) carried an editorial call-to-arms
alerting readers that potential ski areas may be lost if skiers
don't make their views known. The 3-11-66 issue (p.2) noted
that of almost 200 people at Senator Jackson's hearings in
Seattle, only four voiced support for ski area development.
Regarding the loss of potential areas, the editor writes, "We say
it can't happen here. Well, it is happening. We are letting it
Mission Ridge ski area is scheduled to open December 1 with two
double chairlifts and a new $250,000 lodge. Walt Hampton is the
ski area manager. Gordon West is ski school director. The
10-23-64 issue (p.5) reported on a $1 million stock drive to
raise capital for developing Mission Ridge. The 12-22-67 issue
(p.17) includes a profile of Walt Hampton at the time he was
named manager of the U.S. Olympic nordic ski team.
Northwest Skier begins the 1966-67 season with a new
editor-publisher, Ian F. Brown.
John Day is the USSA National Ski Touring Director. In this
article he promotes the benefits of nordic ski touring. A
similar article by Day in the 3-17-67 issue (p.10, with photos)
notes the sport's low cost, appeal to families, conditioning
benefits, safety, scenic beauty and lack of crowds.
Alpental ski area is scheduled to open December 2 with three double
chairlifts, five rope tows and a three-story day lodge. Bob Mickelson and
Jim Griffin of Tacoma are the developers. Rene Moser will be ski school
director and Hans Weismuller will head a climbing school in the area during
the summer. The 11-25-66 issue (p.12) reported that Ted Griffin (who once
owned a whale called Namu) and Jim Sullivan were involved in the early
development of Alpental. Eventual plans call for an aerial tramway to the
saddle between Guye and Snoqualmie Mountains with a double chairlift
continuing to the summit of Snoqualmie. The 12-8-67 issue (p.3) reported
that the area opened with all facilities on schedule. (Note: The original
article said that the climbing school director was named Hans Swissmuller.
In 9/8/2010 email, Gordy Holt sent a correction.)
Loup Loup has installed a new day lodge and a Pomalift, 3867 feet
long, with a vertical rise of 1,248 feet.
Lot sales begin this weekend for Yodelin, a new residential ski
area east of Stevens Pass. Yodelin is being developed by Wendell
Carlson and Art Granstrom of Everett. They purchased the ski
resort site last June and plan a $5 million project with four
chairlifts, a lodge and restaurants, residential lots and
condominium units. The 3-1-68 issue (p.16) included a full page
ad offering "tree studded view and creek lots" for sale.
Mt Hood Meadows, on the southeast side of Mt Hood, opened this
month with two chairlifts, a T-bar and a rope tow. Keith Petrie
is the area manager and Dick Ewald is ski school director. The
article includes an artist's drawing of the ski area. The 2-2-68
issue (p.3) reported on the ski area dedication.
Dennis Sackrider, Andy Aarhaus and Jerry Sopko of Montesano have
investigated the Three Peaks area north of Wynoochee Lake in the
Olympic Mountains for a possible ski area development. "A
natural bowl rises to the Peaks, providing what the Montesano men
believe could result in several good runs." They reported their
findings to the U.S. Forest Service, which will prepare a report
on the proposal.
"The newest and fastest-growing sport in the country is known as
snowmobiling." Four years ago there were about 25,000 snowmobiles
and just six manufacturers in the United States. Today, there
are over 300,000 snowmobiles and over fifty manufacturers. The
following advantages are noted:
"It requires none of the rigid training demanded by most outdoor
sports. Nor does one need to be in prime health, since strength
and physical fitness are not necessary in order to enjoy the
sport. [...] Big game hunting is no longer hard work via
A companion article reports that the Snoqualmie National Forest
has designated snowmobile trails throughout the area.
Snowmobiles appeared for the first time in the 10-11-68 issue in
a full-page ad from J.I. Edwins Co. of Issaquah, WA. They
offered "all popular makes": AMF Ski-Daddler, Arctic Cat Panther,
Evinrude Skeeter and Rupp Sno-Sport.
The 1963 North Cascades Study Team report noted that substantial
wilderness was preserved in the vicinity of the proposed North
Cascades National Park. It conditioned its recommendation to
establish a park upon development of adequate facilities and
means of entry to provide a large number of visitors access to
park attractions. "Means of access must not be limited by the
National Park Service to the traditional roads and trails. The
area calls for more imaginative and creative treatment utilizing
helicopters, trams, perhaps funiculars, and narrow-gauge
The 1968 legislation that established the North Cascades
National Park directed the secretaries of Interior and
Agriculture to make a two-year study to determine what areas in
the park should be classified as wilderness. The author fears
that the wilderness study directive will cause permanent ski
lifts and other resort facilities to be prohibited. He urges
skiers to put pressure on the public agencies involved. "If
you do nothing, your apathy will result in another 'wilderness'
park, with token access available to one or two scenic points
similar to the Olympic National Park."
The preliminary development plan for the North Cascades
National Park proposed three aerial trams, one to provide access
near the north face of Mt Shuksan, one to provide an overlook
into the Picket Range, and a third to provide an overlook into
the Eldorado Peak region. "None of these tram sites appears to
have any use for skiing nor any potential for transporting skiers
to ski terrain. Their only apparent value is to transport
summertime sightseers to viewpoints."
Commenting on the stalemate between the Sierra Club and Walt
Disney Enterprises over the future of the proposed Mineral King
ski area in the Sierra Nevada, the editor urges skiers to make
their views known and rightly observes that "what happens in this
California test case will undoubtedly set future recreational
precedents." On page 7 is a long article, "How Best to Use
Nature," describing the proposed Mineral King development
essentially from the Disney company viewpoint. In the 11-21-69
issue (p.4), the editor notes with surprise that the Mineral King
article prompted almost no response from readers. "Don't you
have an opinion on the area? Will you react the same way when
this happens in your area?" The 11-27-78 issue (p.4) reported
that the proposed Mineral King development was dead.
Blog #: 0252 – 12/30/60