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Jack Grauer - Mount Hood: A Complete History

p. 49: The Summit Ski Area is the oldest on the south side of the mountain. Development began in 1927-28. Simultaneously, a ski jump was built on the east side of Multorpor Mountain with the outrun at Swim. Everett Darr bought the Summit Ski Area business during World War II and ran it for many years (p. 53). Development on the NW end of Multorpor Mountain (now the site of Multorpor-Ski Bowl) began in the fall of 1928, one year after Swim (p. 54). Ski Bowl began with development of a warming hut by the Forest Service in 1937. A rope tow was installed that year and Boyd French was the operator. Multorpor and Ski Bowl blended into a single area in the mid-1960s.

p. 52: The Mt Hood Ski Club was organized in 1927 and held its first annual tournament at Swim on February 5, 1928. Hans Otto Giese of the Black Forest Ski Club of Germany flew in from Seattle and was a special guest at the competition. On January 6, 1929 the newly formed Cascade Ski Club opened the Multorpor ski jump with a tournament. This was probably the first competition entered by Hjalmar Hvam in the United States.

p. 62: The Forest Service built a cabin at timberline on the south side in 1916. It was used as a refuge from bad weather by climbers for many years. In the 1920s skiers began to climb to timberline during the winter and use the building as a place to bunk. The Wy'east Climbers built their own cabin in 1934.

p. 63: The author discusses the creation of Timberline Lodge, which was dedicated September 28, 1937. He expresses his political view of the Depression: "Rather than try to repair the sick economy, so that once again it could flourish, Roosevelt took drastic steps that eventually replaced the free enterprise economy with the socialist welfare-state economy and society under which we live today." Arnold Lunn, editor of the British Ski Yearbook, visited the lodge on November 21, 1937 for the opening ski race of the year.

p. 77: A portable rope tow was installed at Timberline in 1938-39. In 1939, work began on the old Magic Mile, the longest chair lift in America at the time. The Ski-way aerial tram from Government Camp to Timberline opened on January 3, 1951. It used modified city busses as passenger cars, but was not commercially successful. It operated for only two years.

p. 83: The first road to timberline on the north side of the mountain was finished in the summer of 1885. The first tent "hotel" was in the gully near Tilly Jane Camp. Cloud Cap Inn opened as a modern hotel on August 6, 1889 (p. 86). During the following winter (February 1890), Will and Doug Langille visited the inn on homemade skis to check on the structure. A month later a photographer, A.B. McAlpin, hiked to the inn to take winter scenes. His photos helped popularize the idea of winter travel to this remote area (p. 86). Sarah Langille took over the inn in 1891. Her sons, Will and Doug, both mountain guides, helped run the operation. As of 1974, the Hood River Crag Rats had restored the historic building and were maintaining it.

p. 100: A letter from Mrs. A.M. Yocum, manager of the Mountain View House at Old Government Camp, dated February 18, 1911, says: "We have had quite a lot of company at several times this winter. It is quite the fad to come up here for the ski riding."

p. 117: J. Wesley Ladd, Rodney Glisan, Dr. Herbert Nichols, and several other prominent Portland business men came to the north side of the mountain for winter snowshoeing and skiing trips. They organized the Snowshoe Club in 1904. Most of the members graduated to the use of skis eventually, but the name Snowshoe stuck. In 1910 they built a lodge on the ridge just north of Cloud Cap Inn. Mark Weygandt became caretaker and supervised the club's annual winter outings every year until 1926. When the Hood River Ski Club ran their first race, probably the first ever staged on Mt Hood, Weygandt finished first over the run from Cloud Cap Inn to Kirby Camp. (More information about the Snowshoe Club is on p. 146.)

p. 119: Photo of skiers standing outside the Mt Hood Lodge, in the upper Hood River Valley, in 1916.

p. 125a: Hjalmar Hvam was born in Kongsberg, Norway on November 16, 1902. At age 21, he moved to Saskastchewan with his brother, Ingvald. He moved to Portland in 1927, where he worked for the Multnomah Lumber and Box Company. The author tells the story of Hvam's first skiing at Mt Hood, on the Multorpor jumping hill during the Christmas-New Year weekend of 1928-29. He immediately impressed the spectators and was invited to jump in the tournament the following week. In 1936, he won the Silver Skis race on Mt Rainier and swept the field at Mt Baker, winning every event in the four-way championship there.

After breaking his leg in 1937, Hvam developed a safety binding which was patented in 1939. He sold over 15,000 safety bindings before leaving the business. Hvam's binding had an automatic detenting system which increased the holding power as the user edged the skis, so the ski would not fall off while the skier was rounding a turn. In 1936, he opened a ski rental shop at Government Camp. In 1946, he opened a new ski shop in Portland which he operated until 1960.

p. 125b: Photo of Hjalmar Hvam and his wife, Vera, in 1936 (fine).

p. 152: The Hood River Ski Club was founded in 1925. They staged a race from Cloud Cap to Kirby Camp in 1925, generally believed to be the first competitive skiing event on the mountain. Mountain guide Mark Weygandt won. The following year the club held its first annual ski carnival in the Cloud Cap Inn area. The author provides a good description of the club's early ski equipment, beginning with 8-foot pine skis, a single pole, and toe strap bindings.

p. 160: The exclusive Wy'east Climbers club was formed in December 1930. On April 29, 1934, James Mount and Ralph Calkin of this club made the first recorded ski encirclement of Mt Hood. They left Cloud Cap Inn at 8:30 am and returned at 6 pm, completing the trip in storm and fog and encountering small avalanches on the Reid Glacier. On May 2, 1937, Joe Leuthold and Everett Darr repeated the ski circuit to join the very select group of "Side Hill Gougers" (p. 162). Another circuit was made by Ray Conkling and Bill Oberteuffer in March 1951, taking three days (p. 267).

p. 180: On November 23, 1930, representatives of six Washington and Oregon ski clubs met in Portland to form the Pacific Northwest Ski Association (PNSA). Representatives included Fred McNeil, Fred Stadter and two others of the Cascade Ski Club, J.C. Beeson and J.S. Bresko of Cle Elum, Percy Bucklin and two others of Hood River Ski Club, Paul Hosmer of Bend Skyliners, C.S. Anderson and R. Flakstad of Seattle, and Walter E. Anderson and D.L. Motteler of Leavenworth. Fred McNeil was elected as the first association president.

p. 182: The Cascade Ski Club was formed in 1928. It was the most influential organization in PNSA in the early days. In January 1934, downhill and slalom races were held on Mt Hood for the first time, sponsored by the Mazamas (p. 183).

p. 215: Photo of Andre Roch, Arne Stene and Hjalmar Hvam, with Harald Lee, standing next to an automobile loaded with skis following the first ski ascent of Mt Hood (fine).

p. 216: On April 26, 1931, Hjalmar Hvam and Arne Stene of the Cascade Ski Club, with Andre Roch, set a round-trip speed record from Portland to the summit of Mt Hood, using skis. They left 82nd and SE Division at 6:03 am and returned at 2:52 pm, for a total of 8 hours, 49 minutes. They put on skis halfway from Government Camp to timberline and made a complete ascent and descent on skis, probably the first in history, according to the author.

p. 265a: In his chapter on the development of skiing on Mt Hood, the author writes that the first skiing on the mountain was done on homemade boards by pioneers who used them in lieu of snowshoes, men such as Vickers, Coalman, the Langilles, Mecklem, O.C. Yocum, and Dick Maupin, forest ranger at Summit Meadows.

p. 265b: On February 11, 1903, Col. L.L. Hawkins, Martin Gorman and T. Brook White of the Mazamas made a well publicized ski expedition to the south side of the mountain, planning to ascend as high on the mountain as possible. O.C. Yocum put them up at Government Camp. Hawkins had made the skis, ten feet long, with a nine-foot balance pole for each man. The author doesn't say how high they got. White prophesized that "the time would come when more people would visit Mount Hood in the winter than in the summer." (This expedition is also mentioned on p. 99. An Oregonian story from Feb 22, 1903 can be found online here.) The Mazamas organized ski trips to Government Camp in 1913 and Cloud Cap Inn in 1914. In 1915, a YMCA group spent a week skiing at Cloud Cap.

p. 267a: In 1930 the Hood River Crag Rats held a race in which competitors skied across Eliot Glacier up to the start of the Sunshine Route, then back down to the starting point. The race was held again in 1931. At one point, they decided to stretch a rope along a crevasse that lay below the course a short distance. During the race Arne Stene fell on a turn and could not stop himself on the ice. As he shot down toward the crevasse, he grabbed the rope, which saved his life. The race presaged today's randonnee racing.

p. 267b: "In 1931 Swiss skier Fritz Bierly appeared on the slopes at Government Camp and astounded local skiers with the first Christiania turns they had ever seen."

p. 268: On March 1, 1971, Sylvain Saudan skied the Newton Clark Headwall. According to this acount, Saudan began his descent in the Wy'east snow chute, then "veered south" to the headwall. He had waited at Mt Hood Meadows for two weeks for the right conditions and was helicoptered to the summit. Anselme Baud, "ski instructor at Timberline Lodge and old alpine friend from Marzine, France," accompanied Saudan to the summit and glissaded the Wy'east route after Saudan's descent. On May 1, 1974, Brian Raasch, 18, of Hood River, repeated the descent.

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