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Sports Northwest Magazine, 1980-89

Sports Northwest Magazine, 1987

May 1987, p. 12, Kirkland, N.L., "Climbing Mt. St. Helens"

On May 4, 1987, Mt St Helens reopened to climbers, ending an era of outlaw climbing that had existed since the 1980 eruption. Not long after the eruption, climbers began telling stories of a summit register, hidden in a stone cairn on the crater rim, that contained first names only. In 1981, an outlaw group from Olympia, the Gonzo Climbers, decided to join the elite few who had signed the register. They dressed in white women's clothing from Goodwill to blend in with the summit snows. Finding the snow darkened by volcanic ash, they rolled in the ash to better camouflage themselves, then dashed to the summit. Outlaw climbers who were caught paid fines as high as $500. One who told his story in print was hauled into court where his article was used as evidence against him. The author describes an authorized climb to the summit with three geologists on March 29, 1987, during which several outlaw skiers and climbers were seen. The article includes photos of the corniced summit ridge and the lava dome.

Oct 1987, p. 4, Erben, John, "Fifty Years of Skiing"

"Back in the old days... things were a lot less confusing. There weren't downhill skiers and nordic skiers, there were just skiers. And there were a lot fewer of them." This article is an excellent summary of Washington skiing from 1937-1987, with an emphasis on ski area development. The author's sources included Mel Borgersen, Chester Marler, cohen-1985, and prater-1981. Describing the early days, the author mentions the Cle Elum ski club, The Mountaineers, Otto Lang, the Silver Skis races, Alf Nydin and SKI magazine, the installation of rope tows at several areas in 1937, the Milwaukee Ski Bowl and ski trains, and the 87th Mountain Infantry at Paradise during World-War II. During the late 1940s, the author mentions developments at Blewett Pass, Leavenworth, American River, Cayuse Pass, Entiat Valley, Badger Mountain, Echo Valley, Squilchuck, Satus Pass, Chewelah Ski Bowl, Hurricane Ridge, Ski Acres, and Mt Spokane. Since the 1950s, the author discusses developments at Mt Baker, White Pass, Hyak, Crystal Mountain, Mission Ridge, Alpental, 49 Degrees North, Mt Pilchuck, Yodelin, Bluewood, and Early Winters. "While lifts and equipment changes greatly increased skiing's popularity, they also have tended to polarize skiers into separate downhill and nordic cross-country factions. But in the last few years growing numbers of skiers are enjoying both forms. And the telemark turn has returned (practiced by skiers using suspiciously alpine-like equipment), further blurring the boundaries. Perhaps we are moving to a day when once again we will all be just skiers."

Nov 1987, p. 16, Erben, John, "Hardcore - Mt Baker Snowboarders Take on the World"

The Mt Baker Hardcore got started in the summer of 1980 when Jeff Fulton, Bob Barci, Eric Galleson and Pat Quirke tried sliding down sand dunes along Highway 101 in Oregon on Galleson's homemade snowboard with bungie cord bindings. The following winter they hiked into the backcountry to try boarding on snow. There were perhaps ten boarders in Washington state at the time and the only place to get snowboards was Barci's shop, The BikeFactory. Soon, Duncan Howatt, Mt Baker area manager, let snowboarders ride the ski area lifts, making Mt Baker one of the first resorts anywhere to fully embrace the sport. Later that season, Fulton introduced BMX racer Craig Kelly, Dan Donnelly, and local skier Eric Swanson to snowboarding. A couple years later, Mt Baker lift operators Eric Janko and Carter Turk got boards. These snowboarders were dubbed the Mt Baker Hardcore by Jeff Fulton.

For a few years, this small group had the country's best snowboarding area to themselves. In 1984, Barsi, Fulton and Galleson organized the first Mt Baker Halfpipe contest. National competitor Tom Sims won the event, with Kelly taking fourth and Swanson sixth. Mt Baker ski area suddenly found itself on the world snowboarding map. Within a few years, Craig Kelly became the sport's world champion.

Sports Northwest Magazine, 1988

Oct 1988, p. 8, Skoog, Lowell, "The Ptarmigan Traverse: 50 Years and Still Climbing"

This article describes a one-day ski crossing of the Ptarmigan Traverse in June 1988, basically the same account as in rock-ice-1989-mar-p34 but with more information about the first three traverse parties in 1938, 1953, and 1957 (see subject index). Despite the publicity and popularity of the Ptarmigan Traverse today, opportunities for adventure still exist. "Modern climbers only need to apply some of the same energy and imagination that the original Ptarmigans displayed to experience these mountains in a fresh light. [...] As long as climbers approach the Ptarmigan with a fresh attitude, and as long as they tread lightly upon it, this route will continue to yield wilderness sights and sounds and adventures for the next fifty years just as it has for the last." The article includes photos of Carl Skoog lacing up his mountain boots at two a.m. at the start of the trip, traversing above South Cascade Lake, and descending into Bachelor Creek near the end of the trip.

Nov 1988, p. 30, Erben, John, "Sports News - Skiing"

The November 1987 issue ("The 10 Best Skiers," p. 4) profiled Craig Wilbour, 41, D.O.T. avalanche control supervisor at Snoqualmie and Chinook passes. Wilbour was on the Alpental ski patrol from 1968 to 1975, where he pioneered several extreme ski routes, including Shot 8, the chute overhanging the lodge. In this issue, John Willet of Mazama recalls a story about Wilbour skiing the backcountry at Alpental when one of his ski edges sliced into his neck during a fall. "Realizing that one of his arteries had been severed, Wilbour had the presence of mind to jam one of his fingers into the artery, then ski back to the base area. He kept his finger in place all the way to the hospital as a friend drove him down from the Pass."

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