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Northwest Skier, 1970-79
* Articles marked with an asterisk have been copied into my Northwest Skier notebook.

Northwest Skier, 1970

Jan 16, 1970, p. 29: "Mansfield, Tom, "Yodelin Opens" *

Yodelin ski area opened on December 27, 1969, with a 1,800-foot double chairlift, a rope tow, and a three-story Tyrolian-styled lodge. Nason Properties, owned by W.C. "Wendy" Carlson and his wife, operates the ski area and lodge and handles the sale and development of the Yodelin village. A total of 184 homesite lots are available and several all-season recreational homes have been constructed. Future plans call for a condominium ("Lichtenberg Haus"), a cable car on nearly Lichtenberg Mountain, and four chairlifts on Barrier Ridge. The 3-1-70 issue (p.1) includes more information about Yodelin, plus three pictures.

Oct 16, 1970, p. 11: "New Lange boot accessory" *

The Spoiler, made of flexible epoxy and cushioned with foam, can be attached to the rear of the Lange competition model, extending the height of the boot by about one-third. "Mastery of the modern 'sit back' technique is made easier by the Spoiler while fatigue is reduced and control increased." A drawing of the Spoiler is included.

The 11-27-70 issue (p.11) reports on the popularity of Jet Stix, introduced by former U.S. Olympian Jack Nagel. "Jet Stix are simple to use--they fit around the boot top and require no modification of the boot. They're held in place by a single strap and fastened by a boot-type buckle. With Jet Stix, ski boots become like the new high-backed models."

The 10-22-71 issue (p.14) has the first display ad I noticed for a factory-produced high-back boot, the Dolomite Super-Comp. The 11-5-71 issue (p.3) has a display ad for Cheetah sticks.

Oct 30, 1970, p. 3: "Mt. Pilchuck ski area sold"

Mt Pilchuck ski area has been sold to two avid Bellingham skiers, Dick Mahlberg, a 10th Mountain Division veteran, and Franz X. Gable, former Austrian Olympic silver medalist. The 2-19-71 issue (p.9) describes Mt Pilchuck operation under their management.

Oct 30, 1970, p. 4: "Cannon, Bonnie, "Washington may have its own Sun Valley soon" *

The Lake Chelan Skiers Association headed by Dr. Tom Milliette hired Wenatchee's Munson Nash and Associates to study the feasibility of a ski area on Stormy Mountain, west of Manson between Lake Chelan and the Entiat River. The 7198-foot mountain offers three large basins and potential for about 3,000 vertical feet of skiing. The feasibility study was issued in September 1969 and in August 1970 the Forest Service issued a notice of their intention to prepare a prospectus for potential developers. The mountain offers over ten square miles of potential skiing terrain that could require as many as twenty-five chairlifts to service.

Oct 30, 1970, p. 9: "Cross-Country Skiing" *

"Nordic skiing is gaining popularity because it is initially less expensive, safer and easier to master than Alpine skiing to a point where it can be enjoyed. [...] Alpine skiing is designed for downhill use only. The weight of the skis, the stiff, reinforced boots and the rigid bindings make uphill lifts a necessity." The authors, from Scandia Ski Shop in Vancouver, B.C., describe the equipment used for cross-country touring, places where touring can be done, the popularity of the sport in Scandinavia, and how to get started. In the 11-13-70 issue (p.11) the authors discuss the importance of proper waxing. In the 1-8-71 issue (p.11) writer John A. Herbert describes his first cross-country ski lesson at Mt Baker. In the 12-15-72 issue (p.10) Dave Newton describes how to move from cross-country touring into racing.

Nov 27, 1970, p. 11: "Chinook Pass areas hang 'no vacancy' signs for snowmobiles"

Two areas just east of Chinook Pass have been listed by the Forest Service as off-limits to snowmobiles. According to Forest supervisor Donald Campbell, these areas are used by hunters, snow players and ski school clinics and there is not enough parking space for snowmobile rigs. Two areas farther east remain open, which the article notes "should be some consolation to motorized skiers."

Northwest Skier, 1971

Jan 8, 1971, p. 1: Hinz, Bob, "Revived Oregon cross-country race involved more than a tough course" *

Although slightly outside the geographical scope of this project, this article is noteworthy. It describes the revival of the John Craig Memorial Race over Oregon's McKenzie Pass. In 1877, John Templeton Craig lost his life in a blizzard while attempting to deliver the mail on skis across this pass, just north of the Three Sisters. In the early 1930s, Oregon historians and skiers created a memorial ski race over the same terrain. During the next twenty years, downhill skiing became so popular that the race was abandoned in 1953. With the renewed interest in cross-country skiing, the Oregon Nordic Club revived the race in April, 1970. Thirty-six skiers started the race, which was completed in blinding snow and sub-zero wind chill. Gunnar Unneland of Seattle's Kongsberger Ski Club edged out the favorite, Jay Bowerman of the Oregon Nordic Club. Each competitor carried a small mail pouch reminiscent of Craig's and filled with genuine mail to be delivered.

Feb 19, 1971, p. 6: "Unsung heroes of Stevens Pass tragedy" *

While saying little about the tragedy, which was covered extensively in the mainstream press, this article recognizes Stevens Pass people who came to the rescue after the Yodelin avalanche on January 24. They included Jim Sullivan, Stevens Pass outdoor manager, Bob Barr, ski school director, Bob Larson, ski patrol leader, Bruce Kehr, area operator, and John Petri, ski patrol member, according to Virginia Kehr of Stevens Pass.

Apr 1971, p. 11: "Swiss Conquers Unclimbed Mt Hood Route on Skis" *

After a delay of two weeks due to illness and bad weather, 35 year-old Swiss mountaineer and ski instructor Sylvain Saudan completed a ski descent of the Newton Clark Headwall of Mt Hood on March 1, 1971. (The article calls Saudan's descent the Wy'east Face, but a photo of the route makes it clear that it was the Newton Clark Headwall.) The descent followed a four-day blizzard that dumped up to five-feet of snow on the mountain. Unable to see the summit, Saudan laid plans for the first descent of its kind in North America by studying topographic maps.

March 1 dawned clear and Saudan was whisked to the 11,235-foot summit in sub-zero temperatures by helicopter. After investigating conditions near the top, he concluded that the snow was stable enough to support a skier. He began his descent at 4 pm. He encountered exposed ice high on the route and had to negotiate several turns on it before finding better snow. The 4000-foot descent took 50 minutes and Saudan was met by spectators and friends below.

Saudan's previous descents include: Rothorn, Zermatt; Piz Corvatsch, St Moritz; Couloir Spencer, Mont Blanc; Couloir Gervasutti, Mont Blanc; Aiguille de Boinassay, Chamonix; Couloir Marinelli, Monte Rosa; and the northwest face of the Eiger, 60 degrees and 6000 vertical feet, which he skied in March 1970. Saudan says, "Skiing these steep areas has taught me a great deal about myself and human limits on skis. Providing a skier can cope with the problem psychologically, technically he should be able to conquer 50, even 60 degree slopes." The article includes a closeup photo of Sylvain Saudan and another photo of the descent route, both taken by Mel Olmstead.

Oct 8, 1971, p. 6: Brown, Ian F., "People and Places"

"Mt Cashmere's snow-covered ski bowls are being promoted as a potential Washington State ski mecca by two Puget Sound engineers. Helicopter familiarization tours have been led by Bill Stark and Dwight Baker. The formal name for their project is Hochalpen Verein, Inc. Archie Marlin from Leavenworth, Washington is president."

Northwest Skier, 1972

Apr 7, 1972, p. 18: "Yodelin Has 2nd Chair"

Describing Yodelin as a "struggling ski area," the article notes that the area's second lift was completed behind schedule because of bad weather in January and February. The 1,600-foot long lift serves intermediate terrain and has a run extending to Highway 2 two miles east of the Yodelin day lodge. The 2-9-73 issue (p.18) reports that Yodelin is "alive and well."

Nov 24, 1972, p. 1: Hinz, Robert B., "Sylvain Saudan, The Mountain Conqueror" *

On June 9, 1972, Sylvain Saudan made the first ski descent of the southwest face of Mt McKinley in Alaska. According to the author, his descent route had never been climbed before. Saudan switched from climbing boots to ski boots near the summit. He recalls, "The changing from climbing gear to ski gear was absolutely bone-chilling. My ski boots were frozen. They might as well have been blocks of ice." He descended in four hours to 14,320 feet, rested a few hours, then continued in another three hours to 7,200 feet. Just prior to this climb he skied the Grandes Jorasses in Switzerland. McKinley is described as his ninth conquest on skis. (The other descents are listed.)

In summer, Saudan works as a mountain guide in Chamonix, France. In winter, he is a ski instructor at Arosa, Switzerland. He makes his steep descents on 210 cm. metal skis with Salomon 505 step-in bindings. The article examines Saudan's thoughts about skiing, his career, and his age, currently 36.

Dec 15, 1972, p. 1: Boothe, Ferris F., "Should snowmobiles be declared a public nuisance?" *

This article by the USSA Vice-President for Public Affairs considers whether USSA should become active in curbing the environmental damage caused by snowmobiles. The author observes that snowmobiling has a negative impact on cross-country skiing, has contributed to criminal activity, harms wildlife, causes hearing loss to riders, and is aesthetically inappropriate in the quiet winter environment. He notes that legislation to control "this growing menace" has been inhibited by the powerful snowmobile manufacturing lobby.

Northwest Skier, 1973

Mar 9, 1973, p. 14: Advertisement: 1st Annual Mission Peak Citizens Classic

Further evidence of the growth of cross-country skiing is this announcement of a 21-mile race from Mission Ridge to the Blewett Pass Highway "(mostly for fun)" open to all ages and abilities on March 4, 1973. "Mass shotgun style Western start." The 3-8-74 issue (p.4) reported on the first annual Gold Creek Rush citizens race on February 10, near Hyak. Seven of the top ten finishers were members of the Kongsberger Ski Club. There is a photo of the start. The 10-4-74 issue (p.6) included an interview with Liv Vagners about cross-country ski instruction. Around 1971, the Pacific Northwest Ski Instructors Association held one of the first cross-country ski instructor certification exams in the country.

April 1973, p. 5: "Ski Ramblings"

Karl Hinderman announced his retirement as ski school director at the Big Mountain. He was among the first certified ski instructors in the country "as well as being the U.S. Army's first instructor," pioneering instruction for the 41st Division at Fort Lewis before the 10th Mountain Division was formed. [The article says this was in 1939, but I think it was 1940-41. I also think other instructors such as John Woodward worked with army troops around the same time.] During Hinderman's career at the Big Mountain, he ran the technical gamut from Arlberg, French, Austrian, modified American to GLM. He operates two Montana ski shops.

Dec 14, 1973, p. 1: "How to Keep Skiing Through the Energy Crisis" *

After bemoaning the fact that there are too many Americans and that our cars guzzle too much gas, and after mentioning "the President's decision that there will be no gasoline sales between 9 p.m. Saturday and 12:01 a.m. Monday," the article offers some practical suggestions for coping with the gas shortage. Share a ride. Join a ski group that takes buses. Switch to mid-week or night skiing. Dick Gentry, a tour organizer from Bellevue, has been working with Amtrak to try to revive the Snoqualmie Pass ski trains on the Milwaukee Road. Rainier Beer has shown an interest, hoping to call the train the Mountain Fresh Express.

Dec 28, 1973, p. 1: "Ski Industry Recoils From Proposed Energy Laws" *

Responding to the gasoline crisis, bills before Congress would classify the ski industry as non-essential with regard to fuel allocation. This article has comments from leaders of the National Ski Areas Association, the Ski Industries of America, the American Ski Federation and the U.S. Ski Association expressing their concerns. They argue that recreation should not be considered non-essential in our urban society and that individual citizens should be permitted discretion in their use of the limited supply of gasoline. They argue against any methods of fuel allocation that would discriminate against ski areas.

Northwest Skier, 1974

Jan 25, 1974, p. 13: "Ski Ramblings"

"Nelson Bennett, manager of White Pass, is voicing considerable distress over the closure of Cayuse Pass this winter. Officials of the Washington Highway Dept. say the highway was getting low usage, so the closure was ordered. Says Bennett, 'People tend to drive highways they are sure of. The policy has been one of discouraging motorists, regarding the passes. It takes access to create a viable mountain recreation business.'" The 3-6-64 issue (p.2) editorialized against the closure of Cayuse Pass. Prior to the opening of Crystal Mountain, the expense of keeping the pass open was justified to provide access from Enumclaw to White Pass.

August, 1974, p. 1: "Major resort complex still a possibility in Eastern Washington" *

This article describes the proposed Early Winters ski area on Sandy Butte above the Methow Valley in Washington. Plans call for two stages of development, the first being a gondola to the summit, and the second being access lifts to various sites on the mountain. The Aspen Skiing Corp. is backing the development with support from the Methow Valley Winter Sports Council. Members of the MVWSC include Gordon Butterfield, Sun Valley; L.M. Cooley, Twisp; Robert Cram, Seattle; Michael Ewing, California; Dr. William Henry, Twisp; Leonard Miller, Olympia; John Miller, Seattle; Jack Nagel, Enumclaw; Donald Nitsche, Mercer Island; Jack Wilson, Mazama; and Doug Devin, Seattle.

The 9-20-74 issue (p.1) reports that the search for a ski resort site in north central Washington began in 1966 and two years later focused on Early Winters. Local people were brought together to form the Methow Valley Winter Sports Council. Aspen Skiing Corp. became interested and the Council endorsed Aspen's involvement. The article includes a ten-point summary of the advantages of the Early Winters site. It describes the future of the Early Winters resort as "hanging in the balance" and urges readers to express their support in letters to the Okanogan National Forest.

Northwest Skier, 1977

Feb 21, 1977, p. 5: "Snow and Avalanche Phone in Operation"

"A taped phone report of snow and avalanche conditions outside developed ski areas at Snoqualmie Pass is being offered in Seattle again this winter for ski touring and snowshoeing enthusiasts." Last winter more than 20,000 calls were made to 442-SNOW, operated by the U.S. Forest Service, during a three-month period. "The popularity of cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling has been booming, and this is bringing large numbers of people into areas with avalanche potential. The Snoqualmie Pass vicinity is one of the more popular destinations for this type of winter recreation, and it is hoped that the taped message will help avert tragedies."

Mar 21, 1977, p. 2: "Kehrs Sell Stevens - Retire" *

Bruce Kehr and his friend Don Adams skied at Mt Rainier before there were rope tows. When they heard about a tow in the eastern U.S. made from an endless rope, they fashioned one of their own without having seen one. Adams cleared the way with the Forest Service and Kehr came up with the tow and they went into business at Stevens Pass in 1937. They charged a dollar for all-day use or eight rides for a quarter. Total gross sales for their first season were about $80, which did not compare well against the $600 that Kehr had invested in the venture. Before the highway was open from the west in winter, Seattle skiers learned that they could drive to Scenic and pay 12 cents to ride the train through the tunnel to Berne. A local restaurant owner bought a small school bus to transport train passengers up to the pass from the east. The article includes more information about the development of lodges and lifts at Stevens Pass.

June, 1977, p. 2: "Early Winter Ski Area Plans Dead"

Aspen Skiing Corporation decided to defer further action on developing a major resort at Early Winters and closed its office in Winthrop. The company cited administrative delays, legal costs and uncertainty due to proposed additional regulations. The company continues to hold options for the purchase of land in the area.

The 9-5-78 issue (p.2) reported that Aspen Corporation switched its attention to developing a new resort adjacent to Whistler Mountain, B.C. [i.e. Blackcomb]. Meanwhile a local group incorporated as Methow Recreation, Inc., plans to continue pursuing the development of an Early Winters ski area. The directors are Scott Detro, Riverside; Walt Hampton, East Wenatchee; Claude Miller, Winthrop; and Douglas Devin, Mazama.

Northwest Skier, 1978

Jan 9, 1978, p. 1: Robinson, Linton, "Cross Country PLUS" *

This article introduces alpine touring, ski mountaineering and nordic downhill skiing as ways to venture beyond nordic ski trails into high mountains and deep wilderness. Climbing skins and Silvretta touring bindings are mentioned and the author notes that Steve Barnett, whose book Nordic Downhill is forthcoming, is offering nordic downhill lessons at the Hyak cross-country center. Jim McCarthy of the Swallow's Nest in Seattle describes a trip with Joe Firey near Whistler Mountain, B.C. The article includes photos by Dave Knudson of skiers on B.C.'s Manatee Glacier and of Joe Firey touring on Ragged Ridge in the North Cascades.

Northwest Skier, 1979

Jan 5, 1979, p. 2: "The Dilemma at Mt. Pilchuck"

When operators of the Mt Pilchuck ski area applied for an extension of their lease, the Forest Service rejected their expansion plans. Ski area spokesman Gary Barrett said that in order to be economically viable, the area needs to expand. "If our ten-year operating plans allow for expansion, then we won't get a lease renewal. On the other hand, if we can't expand, we can't operate. It's a double bind." The area did not operate in 1977-78 and does not expect to operate in 1978-79, due to uncertainty about its lease.

In the 2-20-79 issue (p.2) Joe Nadolski of the Forest Service offered the agency's view of the problem. "It's not that we don't want to see skiing up there. It's just that we haven't seen much skiing there since the area opened. That's the major reason for rejecting the lease renewal and expansion proposal. It's a low altitude area and it's often that there's no snow. We weren't responsible for Pilchuck's closure the past two seasons; the weather did them in." The area opened in the 1950s when a private ski club from Everett leased the land. By 1956, the operators received a special lease permit good for thirty years. Pilchuck applied for an extension of the lease to run for another twenty years and the Forest Service rejected it, maintaining that the area is inherently poor for skiing.

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