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Pacific Northwest Quarterly, 1953

Pacific Northwest Quarterly, Jan 1953, p. 7 - Hazard, Joseph T., "Winter Sports in the Western Mountains"

The author describes three principal mountain systems in the Northwest--the Cascades, the Coast Range (including the Olympic Mountains), and the interior ranges. Of the coast mountains he writes, "Only at the top altitudes of the highlands of the Olympic Peninsula do they invite the winter ski... The area is but little frequented by skiers."

From 1890 to 1910, tens of thousands of Scandinavians "followed the woods" from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest. "They had abandoned their skis in those mountainless states, nor did the forested lowlands of the Northwest seem to remind them. There they were, in the Northwest's potential ski paradise; yet they ignored it," according to the author.

Skis appeared at the Tacoma Mountaineers outing to Mt Rainier on December 28, 1912. "Miss Olive Rand struggled along on two lanky slabs of wood, with turned-up ends and a pair of simple loops for harness which quite failed to keep the runners straight or, for that matter, to keep them on her feet at all. She explained that the slabs were skis and that she had, in a misguided moment, borrowed them." The party published a campfire-program newspaper under the title The Daily Slush edited for the most part by Milnor Roberts and Joseph Daniels of the U.W. College of Mines.

There were no more references to skis in Mountaineer winter outings until 1915-16, when Thor Bisgaard took up the role of ski instructor, teaching Norman W. Engle. The next year (1916-17?) Wallace H. Burr joined the group and in 1918 Lars Lovseth, another expert, came in. "These newcomers all boosted and taught ski techniques with great enthusiasm." The author writes that there were probably fewer than a score of active skiers in the whole Pacific Northwest before World War I. After the war, Harold L. Wold, who had been a teacher of military ski corps, introduced many to skiing.

Rudolph Amsler, who joined the Mountaineers in 1925, introduced the technique of skiing under control. According to the author, it was around this time that "The old Scandinavian experts now came alive, realizing that the Mountaineers were taking up their own old sport. Clubs were formed, and ski jumping was born for an amazed Northwest." It seems that the author was unaware of the old Northwest Ski Club, of which Thor Bisgaard had been a founder.

The author provides background on skiing at Mt Hood, Mt Baker, Sun Valley, Snoqualmie Pass, Stevens Pass, White Pass and Mt Spokane, but offers little of note. He also mentions the Silver Skis races on Mt Rainier, including his experience watching Hannes Schroll ski over Panorama Point during the 1935 race.

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