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Jean Arthur - Timberline and a Century of Skiing on Mount Hood
This book deals mainly with Mt Hood as a developed ski area after 1955, when Richard L. Kohnstamm took over management of Timberline Lodge. Kohnstamm was a key source of information for the author. For earlier history, the author relies on books by Fred McNeil (mcneil-1937), Jack Grauer (grauer-1975), and Stan Cohen (cohen-1985).

Chapter 1 - Early Skiers

p. 4: The cover of Harper's Weekly on March 4, 1899, featured "Skee-running on the Snow-covered Hills of Oregon." (A photo of the cover is shown.) The author includes information about early skiing on the north and south sides of Mt Hood, mostly from the books mentioned above, but with some additional details.

p. 6: Hank Lewis of Portland recalled the late 1920s and early 1930s: "To show you how good we were at skiing in those days, it took us longer to ski down from timberline than to walk up. Nobody knew how to ski."

p. 7: Timberline Lodge was dedicated on September 28, 1937, and opened for business on February 5, 1938. The Magic Mile chairlift began operation on November 17, 1939. A sidebar on p. 8 describes the establishment of Timberline Lodge. Another sidebar on p. 10 describes the Magic Mile.

p. 9: Hjalmar Hvam broke his leg while jumping a cornice in 1937. He developed his releasable ski binding in 1939. Years later he said, "To live and not ski is a sad life. To ski and be afraid is still worth it. But to ski and have no fear--this is to be alive!" A photo on p. 7 depicts Hvam, John Elvrum, and four other ski jumpers in the 1930s at Ski Bowl.

p. 13: Timberline reopened after World War II in late 1945. Under manager Charles Slaney, the lodge fell into disrepair and was closed on February 17, 1955. In July 1, 1955, Richard L. Kohnstamm arrived and began the process of restoring and upgrading the lodge.

Chapter 2 - Transportation

p. 16: Until 1948, skiers had to park in Government Camp and either walk or shuttle to Timberline. A new road to Timberline opened in the summer of 1949. The Skiway, an aerial tram consisting of a city bus suspended from cables, began operation in January 1951. The Skiway was slow, noisy, expensive and unreliable and went out of business after a few years.

p. 18: By 1955, fifty-five chairlifts existed in the U.S.

p. 20: In 1956, Richard Kohnstamm opened the first summer racing camp on Mt Hood, inspired by summer skiing in the Alps of Europe. On p. 39, the author writes that Warren Miller filmed an instructional movie on Mt Hood during the summer of 1955. "He told us how great the skiing was," recalled Kohnstamm. "Warren put a bug in my hat to begin summer skiing."

p. 27: A photo depicts the Snow Kitty, the "first over-the-snow vehicle created for ski area use," built at Timberline in 1936.

Chapter 3 - Competition

p. 32: U.S. Highway 26 to Government Camp was paved in 1922 and plowed in winter starting in 1926. Organized skiing and competition developed on the south side of Mt Hood after the road was plowed year-round.

p. 36: The Golden Rose, inaugurated in 1936, is one of the longest continuously running races in North American history. It was won by Boyd French, Jr. and Hjalmar Hvam the first two years. Gretchen Fraser won the first women's race in 1938. A photo on p. 40, captioned as the Golden Rose Race, shows several skiers approaching a finish line at once, suggesting that the race may at one time have employed a simultaneous start.

p. 37: In April 1939, Mt Hood hosted the U.S. National Downhill and Slalom Ski Championships, which doubled as tryouts for the 1940 U.S. Olympic Team. The downhill ran from Illumination Rock at 10,000 feet to 5490 feet. Dick Durrance, who won four of the 12 trophies, recalls the downhill and slalom events.

Chapter 4 - Ski Patrols

p. 48: In November 1937, the Wy'east Climbers and the Nile River Yacht Club asked the U.S. Forest Service to support a patrol on skis. Hank Lewis of the Wy'east club was charged with forming the patrol. On March 2, 1938, 50 patrol members elected Lewis as patrol chief and Barney MacNab as president of the Mt Hood Ski Patrol (MHSP). The author describes MHSP as the nation's first organized volunteer ski patrol. A photo on p. 50 depicts ten members of the patrol (several carrying packs and ice axes) beginning a search for a lost skier/climber in January 1938.

p. 52a: Willis Caldwell recalled: "It was late 1938 that [Roger] Langley and [Charles Minot] Dole came to Mt Hood to look over our organization. They liked what they saw and designed the National Ski Patrol (NSP) after the Mt Hood Patrol"

p. 52b: In the late 1930s, USFS District Ranger Ralph Wiese observed that first and second-year skiers accounted for 98 percent of all skiing accidents. Hank Lewis and the ski patrol concluded that the way to reduce accidents was to have a ski school. The patrol began a free ski school at the Summit ski area, later taken over by the Portland Jaycees.

p. 54: The akja toboggan is described as the "Finnish snowboat." On p. 57, the author writes that the akja was used to move equipment during the Russian-Finnish war. Other toboggan designs are described on pp. 58-59.

Chapter 5 - Ski Schools

p. 64: Otto Lang opened the first professional ski school on Mt Hood in 1938. After a year, Lang was lured away to Sun Valley, Idaho. Ariel Edmiston ran the ski school at Timberline when Lang was away at his other schools at Mt Rainier and Mt Baker. Olaf Rodegaard taught skiing at Timberline until he was drafted in June 1941. He joined the 10th Mountain Division ski troops. Martin Fopp, winner of the 1938 Parsenn Derby in Switzerland, managed the ski school in the early 1940s, until World War II closed skiing at Timberline (p. 66).

p. 76: Klindt Vielbig organized the first Nordic ski school on Mt Hood in 1967. Vielbig's Cloud Cap Chalet was the first retail store in Oregon to sell cross-country ski equipment. Vielbig later wrote a guidebook, Cross-Country Ski Routes - Oregon.

Chapter 6 - Employees

This chapter has anecdotes from people who worked on Mt Hood.

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Copyright © 2005 Lowell Skoog. All Rights Reserved.
Last Updated: Mon May 22 09:24:31 PDT 2006