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Harry M. Majors - Clippings, Monte Cristo
Harry Majors graciously sent me newspaper clippings related to the winter use of snowshoes and skis in the Silverton and Monte Cristo mining districts in the 1890s and beyond.


Snowshoe References

The following clippings refer to the use of snowshoes but not skis:

Seattle P-I, May 5, 1893, p. 4 - "The Greatest Year For Snow"

Henry Pennycock, who has been in charge of a camp seven miles below Monte Cristo, reports that 36-1/2 feet of snow fell during the winter. Seven feet of snow remains on the ground at the camp and 3-1/2 feet at Silverton (in late April!). "They are hauling goods to Silverton on sleighs, and have been packing on ponies to the Hoodoo mine, three and one-half miles above Silverton, all winter. Traveling is all done on snowshoes or on Norwegian ski."

Everett Times, Jan 15, 1896, p. 1, col. 2 - "Monte Cristo Items"

This article from the Mountaineer (Monte Cristo?) says that prospectors always observe the first of the year to stake claims on mining ground subject to relocation on account of non-performance of assessment work. "All day on Tuesday, Dec. 31st, men could be seen, well provided with snow shoes, ski, provision, flat bottles, alpen stocks and hatchets, taking their devious way up the hillsides south, north and east, nearly all of whom remained out over night, in order to place their stakes on coveted ground exactly at midnight."

Another paragraph notes that a small slide at the O. & B. mine caught one of the miners, "but he clung lustily to a life line and the slide swept over and past him without doing any particular harm." During Christmas week at least five unoccupied buildings were crushed by the "vast accumulations of snow." The previous Thursday, the sun came out for the first time in over a month "after a snow storm which piled 'the beautiful' about eight feet deep on the level."


Everett Daily Herald, Jan 5, 1917 - "Norwegian Forester Here Investigating American Forests"

Mr. A. Smitt, a Norwegian forester who has been in this country for six or seven months, will be joined by District Forester George Sawyer, stationed at Waldheim near Silverton, to examine the varieties of trees which may be best adapted to his country. The two men will travel from Everett to Granite Falls, then take a gas car to Robe. From Robe they will travel on snowshoes to Waldheim, where they will spend the night and get their skis. "Both are expert snowshoers, but Sawyer said Smitt, who is an expert on skiis in his native land, had him beat at that method of locomotion." From Waldheim they will continue to Monte Cristo (28 miles from Robe) and spend the night there. Then they will "walk over the hills" [via Poodle Dog Pass] and down the North Fork of the Skykomish to Index, "about 20 miles further." [It's not clear which parts of the trip they planned to ski. Given the long distances, and the fact that Smitt planned to return to Seattle about January 9, it seems likely that a good portion of the trip would be on skis.]

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