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British Ski Year Book, 1950-59

British Ski Year Book, 1951, p. 301 - Freeman, Roger A., "Ski-ing in the Cascade Mountains"

Thanks to favorable topography, snowfall, and local enthusiasm for skiing, the Cascades seemed poised to become one of the outstanding ski areas in the United States when Ed Newell sang their praise in 1936-37 (bsyb-1936-p265). "But the promise went unredeemed," writes the author. "The shining mountains are today still 'sleeping beauties.'" Most of the sport is "ball-room skiing" on short rope tows operating in small forest clearings. There is one small chairlift at Snoqualmie Pass and one T-bar at Stevens Pass. There are a few club cabins but no real resort facilities, except for the small lodge that was once the annex to the old Mt Baker hotel, which burned down years ago. Few outside skiers visit the area, maps are inadequate, guide books are non-existent, information beyond the location of rope-tows is available only from oral tradition. Efforts at promoting ski mountaineering have failed. "The result of it all is that only a few people know that the Cascades offer the best and most exciting ski-touring in the United States. Even fewer, barely a few dozen, regularly climb and ski these beautiful mountains." Most skiers quit skiing in March or April, and climbing to ski has lost favor in the past ten to fifteen years. "It is amazing to discover that very few skiers know that there is such a thing as climbing uphill with ski on your feet."

The author describes the skiing potential of Mt Rainier, Mt St Helens, Mt Adams, Mt Baker, Glacier Peak, Snoqualmie Pass, Stevens Pass, Chinook Pass, Mt Hood, Mt Shasta, and Lassen Peak. About Mt Rainier he writes: "We 'lost' Paradise in 1949, when the Administration closed the road, but regained it in 1950 with the help of some political pressure." The best way to reach Mt Baker is from the town of Glacier "on a newly-opened forest road." Glacier Peak has been skied on only a few times. The road to Chinook Pass is kept open to about three miles from the summit, and a rope tow is in operation. Regarding other peaks that have been reached with the help of ski, the author writes: "Most of these expeditions, like Whitehorse Mountain, Eldorado Peak, and Old Snowy are strenuous and are the result of individual sporadic efforts that find little repetition. Systematic exploration and touring in these mountains is unlikely for many years to come." He concludes: "Ski touring in these mountains still has the pioneering flavour which our protagonists found in the Alps fifty years ago. But there are fewer settlements, facilities and organized help through guides and clubs than there were in the Alps half a century ago. Skiers who love adventure and can dispense with conveniences will find the Cascades a fascinating and worthwhile region for ski touring."

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