- To research and document the story of ski mountaineering in
- To celebrate the people, places and events
that have shaped the sport in this region.
Ski mountaineering is defined as backcountry skiing in country
that demands mountaineering skills and judgment. I began this
project with a focus on ski mountaineering, but have since
broadened my scope to include any pioneering backcountry skiing.
In the earliest days, all skiing in our Northwest mountains was
backcountry skiing. Backcountry skiers scouted and popularized
areas that have been developed into ski resorts, but once the
lifts were installed, the pioneering continued elsewhere.
Backcountry skiers have ventured to the highest and most remote
mountains in the Northwest, areas now protected as parks and
The story of skiing in Washington deserves to be told in a
narrative, fully illustrated book. After several years of
research, I'm finally turning my attention to writing. I hope to
tell a story that will be enjoyed by many readers, not just ski
mountaineers. The book will be much less detailed than this
website, more devoted to people and themes. For a synopsis of
I welcome comments and suggestions on my approach. After the
book is published, the project website will remain an important
resource for maintaining reference notes, recording new
developments, and correcting errors.
The practice of attaching boards to the feet in order to slide
over snow goes back thousands of years. The word that has come
down to us from the earliest times is ski. Recently
snowboards, split-boards, firn skis, and many other variants have
appeared, but they are all descended from the same ancestor. In
this project, no effort will be made to separate exploits using
one sort of gear from those using another. The word
glisse has been proposed by some as an inclusive term for
sliding on snow, but it won't be used here. In this project, the
word ski applies to all forms of sliding on snow, an
acknowledgment that this important word connects us through many
generations to the beginnings of the sport.
The project covers backcountry skiing in the Cascade and Olympic
mountains of Washington, from the Columbia River in the south to
the Fraser River (Canada) in the north. I have also done
research on Mt Hood in Oregon, but not to the depth that I've
The findings of this project will be documented openly on the
world-wide web. Using the web makes it easy to document
connections between the findings using links, disseminate findings,
and incorporate feedback from reviewers. Future researchers can
save time and effort, since the sources reviewed for this project
will be documented on-line. This approach is desirable because
written records of early Northwest skiing are scattered and many
of the key participants are still living.
The project will rely whenever possible on the first-hand
accounts of the participants or the second-hand accounts of
people who have communicated directly with the participants. It
will document the sources of all such accounts. When a
third-hand account with reference notes is found, the reference
will be followed if possible to the original first-hand or
second-hand account. Third-hand accounts without reference notes
will be relied upon only as a last resort.
This project has been inspired by the efforts of Fred Beckey and
Dee Molenaar in their classic books, Cascade Alpine Guide
and The Challenge of Rainier. When you follow in Fred's
and Dee's footsteps for a few months you begin to appreciate the
magnitude of their accomplishments.
to keep me going.
what others have said
about the project.
To offer comments or tips, contact
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Alpenglow Ski Mountaineering History Project home page
Copyright © 2002 Lowell Skoog. All Rights Reserved.
Fri Oct 16 13:15:05 PDT 2009