1931: Mount Baker Club members ski below Table Mountain before the Mount Baker ski area was established. Photo: Mount Baker Club Records, Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225.
1931: Mount Baker Club members ski below Table Mountain before the Mount Baker ski area was established. Photo: Mount Baker Club Records, Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225.
  Written in the Snows  
  Across Time on Skis in the Pacific Northwest  
  By Lowell Skoog  
About the Book
     

 
 
W hen I started digging into Northwest skiing history in 2000, I didn’t know if I would be able to write a book about it. I wanted to focus on backcountry skiing instead of mechanized skiing, and I didn’t know if I could find enough information to fill a book. I resolved to learn what I could and to document what I learned for others to enjoy and build upon.

I began organizing and publishing my research notes on my website, alpenglow.org, in what I called the Alpenglow Ski Mountaineering History Project. Every writer needs to organize their notes, but I suspect that editing them for public consumption and posting them on a website makes the job at least twice as hard as it would otherwise be.

Before long I got distracted. Chasing down the historic movies of skier Dwight Watson led me to the Mountaineers History Committee. I joined the committee to help preserve Watson’s films, a project that has grown to encompass hundreds of other films and a decade of effort, still ongoing.

I also founded an on-line publication, the Northwest Mountaineering Journal (NWMJ), to fill the void left by the old Mountaineer Annual. I had come to appreciate the Annual through my research, and I felt that the on-line forums that emerged after 2000 weren’t a satisfying substitute.

These projects siphoned away energy from my original ski history efforts. I began to feel my dream of writing a book slipping away. In 2010, when the International Skiing History Association presented me with a Cyber Award for Alpenglow and the NWMJ, I was deeply honored. But I felt conflicted, because the goal that had animated these efforts remained unfulfilled.

So I decided to leverage these “distractions” to tackle the book in a new way. Publishing on paper has been an obstacle for me, so I will publish on line (at least initially), building on my experience with NWMJ. This will enable me to include more stories, more pictures, and more diverse media than a traditional book could do. It will also enable me to incorporate new information, make corrections, and publish something before I reach retirement age. The ability to release the book in stages has rekindled my enthusiasm for this project.

This on-line book remains a work in progress. Chapters may not be released in chronological order. But ultimately they will be assembled into what I hope will be a coherent narrative. Seeing all these threads finally coming together makes the long journey worthwhile.

Lowell Skoog
Seattle, Washington, 2010

Dedication
Skoog family Christmas card at Snoqualmie Pass, 1955. Left to right: Ingrid, Anita, Gordy, R. Philip, Dick, and Larry.  I was born in 1956 and my brother Carl in 1959.
Skoog family Christmas card at Snoqualmie Pass, 1955. Left to right: Ingrid, Anita, Gordy, R. Philip, Dick, and Larry. I was born in 1956 and my brother Carl in 1959.

This book is dedicated to my family:

To my parents, Dick and Ingrid Skoog, who passed on their love of skiing and the outdoors to all of us.

To my siblings, Larry, R. Philip, Anita, Gordy, and Carl, who shared in the journey, each in their own way.

And to my wife Steph and son Tom, whose love, patience and support have made the journey possible.

About the Title

Northwest skiing is a story written in the snows—destined, until now, to fade with the passing of seasons and of generations.