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Ted Mueller - Northwest Ski Trails

Foreword by Harvey Manning

p. 5a: "The purpose of this book is to introduce touring to skiers who may have wondered about the snow country over the ridge from the chairlift, in the quiet valley beyond, but haven't known how to get there." In this respect the book is 20 to 30 years ahead of its time, since the popularity of backcountry skiing among lift skiers didn't really start to grow until the 1990s.

p. 5b: In "The Future of Northwest Skiing," Manning expresses doubts about projections of continued explosive growth and concerns about ski area proposals directed toward public lands in National Forests and Parks.

p. 7a: In "Who's the Villain?" Manning outlines the criteria used by The Mountaineers to judge ski area proposals. He writes that the club consistently opposed plans to develop Paradise Valley into an Alpine scale resort while supporting development of Crystal Mountain. The club did not oppose Alpental, but opposes plans to expand the ski area throughout Source Creek and over Cave Ridge into Commonwealth Basin.

p. 7b: This book was published soon after the North Cascades National Park was created. Manning describes aspects of the park struggle that were relevant to skiers:

  1. In Summer 1968, Congressmen received thousands of signed postcards bearing the printed message: "I am a skier and I oppose the North Cascades National Park." According to Manning, it was later proven that the postcards emanated from the mining industry (see nccc-1968-apr-p22).
  2. Late in the park struggle, loggers, sheepherders, cattlemen, and miners (subsidized by a major timber company) lobbied against the park on behalf of downhill skiers (see nccc-1966-oct-p3 and nccc-1967-oct-p12).
  3. In an attempt to block the park, the U.S. Forest Service scattered proposals for ski areas throughout the remote inner reaches of the range (see ncst-1965-p80, and usfs-1970).

Introduction by Ted Mueller

p. 9a: A good, brief overview of Northwest skiing and changes in the sport over the previous thirty years.

p. 9b: "By combining a guide to ski areas with a guide to ski touring we hope not only to serve a small group of current tourers, but also to introduce the area skier to another aspect of his sport, and make more slopes available to him."

Ski Touring

p. 15a: The author briefly defines ski touring and contrasts the sport with cross-country skiing on specialized equipment.

p. 15b: The author describes equipment--skis, poles, boots, clothing, packs, climbing gear, and other essentials. Most interesting is the information on climbers and bindings. Canvas socks, Army surplus mohair climbers, Trima and Vinersa systems are all described and illustrated. Bindings include bear-traps, Marker Touring Attachments, Kandahar wings, and the Ramy Securus release binding.

p. 22: The author describes special touring techniques such as climbing, kick turns, dealing with icy slopes, rests, difficult snow and stopping falls. He mentions the requirements of navigation and the hazards of weather, avalanches, cornices and crevasses. He also describes winter camping using a tent or snow cave.

Northwest Ski Trails

Sixty destinations are described. What makes this book unique is that developed ski areas are described alongside backcountry tours. Usually the developed area in a given region is described first, then tours nearby (and not so nearby) are described afterward. The following table summarizes the content:

Developed Ski Areas Backcountry Tours
Whistler Mountain Garibaldi Lake, Diamond Head
Grouse Mountain, Mt Seymour -
Mt Baker Mt Ann, Artist Point, Coleman Pinnacle, Herman Saddle, Mt Baker via Coleman Glacier, Mt Shuksan via Sulphide Glacier
- Boston Basin and Cascade Pass, Green Mountain, Meadow Mountain
Mt Pilchuck -
Stevens Pass Heather Ridge, Jim Hill
Mission Ridge -
Alpental, Snoqualmie Summit Guye Peak and Snoqualmie Mountain
Ski Acres, Hyak Silver Peak, Mt Margaret, Jolly Mountain
Crystal Mountain Corral Pass, Norse Peak, Campbell and Silver Basins, Threeway Peak Loop, Crystal to Cayuse Traverse, Crystal Lake Basin,
- Summerland, Steamboat Prow, Naches Peak, Carbon Glacier, Mowich Lake and Faye Peak
Paradise Van Trump Park, Castle-Pinnacle Basin, Nisqually Glacier, Wilson Glacier, Panorama Point to Mazama Ridge, Camp Muir, Paradise to White River Traverse
White Pass Hogback Mountain
- Goat Rocks, Mt St Helens, Mt Adams
Mt Hood Meadows, Multipor Ski Bowl, Timberline Yocum Ridge
Mt Bachelor -
Hurricane Ridge Mt Townsend


Perhaps the best part of this book is the collection of black and white photos by Bob and Ira Spring. There are many historic pictures of ski areas in the 1960s, some of which (like Pilchuck) no longer exist. The backcountry tours are illustrated with fine photos. (Also, the relief maps drawn by Marge Mueller provide a better feel for each tour than the topo maps typically used in guidebooks today.) From a ski mountaineering standpoint, the photos of glacier skiing are especially interesting:

p. 17: Photo of skier among seracs on Wilson Glacier, Mt Rainier.
p. 21: Photo of two roped skiers among crevasses on Coleman Glacier, Mt Baker.
p. 30: Photo of two roped skiers exploring a crevasse below Boston Peak.
p. 72: Photo of three skiers climbing Coleman Glacier, enroute to summit of Mt Baker.
p. 77: Photo of skiers descending a glacier, perhaps taken from an airplane.
p. 79: Photo of skiing high in Boston Basin with Triplets and Cascade Peak in the distance.
p. 169: Photo of camp on Wilson Glacier, Mt Rainier, near seracs.
p. 173: Photo of skier next to the shelter at Camp Muir.
p. 174: Photo of two roped skiers navigating among crevasses on the Emmons Glacier below Little Tahoma.
p. 211: Photo of two skiers descending past a bergschrund with wet snow sluffs.

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Last Updated: Tue Dec 7 19:17:10 PST 2004