2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 64-15

As members of the Far West Ski Association - an organization which was founded in
1930 as the California Ski Association - many
of us started skiing during the 1950s and
1960s. We were part of this movement and
have seen major changes since that time. For
most of us, skiing was a highly enjoyed recreational activity which complemented our professional lives. Many weekends and vacations
were spent on the slopes. For others, it became
a huge part of their lives, and shaped their destiny. One of those individuals was Larry
Nicholson. He directly participated in much
of this growth. Here is his story.

Reminiscence & Reflections
by Larry Nicholson
I wished for a pair of skis for Christmas
in 1954, which would have made me eight
years old. Skiing was encouraged by a friend
of my aunt who was a member of a local ski
club and offered lessons. We were living in a
suburb of Milwaukee which had a county
park called Curry Park near by. In the winter
months, they installed a rope tow lift on one
of the golf fairways. The slope was lighted at
night. It was definitely not Mt. Everest! I believe
the cost to ride the tow was 25 cents back in
those days.
My Christmas wish come true! Under the
Christmas Tree was a brand new pair of

wooden skis; and a pair of bamboo poles.
Santa forgot the ski boots, but I had some
what we called galoshes that sufficed. The
skis did not have metal edges. Bear trap bindings secured my feet to them. That was the
start of my addiction to the sport. The local
areas of Little Switzerland, Wilmot and Alpine
Valley offered night skiing with lighted slopes.
Young and old could enjoy skiing at night,
which I certainly took advantage of on a regular basis. For a more advanced slope, we
needed to drive to Wausau, Wisconsin, to ski
Granite Peak at Rib Mountain State Park.
In 1959, my grandmother and an aunt
took my brother and me to Aspen for Christmas. By then, we had graduated to better skis
with metal edges, leather ski boots, better bear
trap bindings with "long thong" leather straps
to stabilize the boot. Aspen ran a single chair
lift from the base, and you could protect yourself from the elements with a tan canvas tarp.
It was so much fun! The slopes were not
groomed, and there were big moguls carved
out from the long skis. This was one of the
reasons why the Arlberg system became outdated. The low crouch leaning in severe rotation of the Arlberg technique did not work
with large moguls.
Most of the other skiers appeared to be
wealthy as they wore expensive clothing and
told fascinating stories about the ski resorts in
Europe. I remember one evening, we had to
share a table at a pizza place with fashion designer, Oleg Cassini and his daughter. I only
became more addicted to the sport.
Aspen was a small town then. In those
days, few expected skiing to take off the way
it did. This new sport totally changed this old
mining town. The block in downtown Aspen
that is now a park used for rugby and soccer
was offered for sale to a friend of mine in the
early 1950's for $800. They passed and the
town bought it for a park.
The Aspen Skiing Company was started
by wealthy industrialist, Walter Paepcke in the
mid 1940s. With his cultural inclinations, he
also started the Aspen Music Festival and
School in 1949. Today, Aspen is well known
for its summer music and cultural events, as
well as great skiing during the winter and
spring.
Walter built the first ski lift in Aspen in
1947. This began the process of taking Aspen
from a dead silver mining town to a glamorous ski town. Up until this time in the western US, the only other areas that had major
lifts were Sun Valley in 1936 and Alta in 1939.
Winter Park Ski Area, an actual Denver City
Park, installed a J Bar lift around 1939. With
the old T Bar and J Bar lifts, a person hooked

the bar around their lower backside and it
would haul them up the slope with skis on the
ground. A-Basin had a couple single T Bars,
one from the base up the mountain, another
on the beginner slope. As I remember, sometimes the Bar from the base would jerk you a
couple feet in the air when the lift attendant
pulled the "go" lever. Better than a chiropractor? Or, one was needed afterwards! In Gunnison, Colorado, their ski club also fashioned
a primitive lift about the same time.
My brother, Ron, was also addicted to
snow skiing. During high school vacations, we
talked our parents into letting us take the train
to Glenwood Springs where we would catch
a bus to Aspen. We found a very inexpensive
place to stay called Ed's Beds which were
bunk rooms shared by several others. It definitely sufficed as no one was ever in the
rooms except to sleep. As I remember, the cost
was $2 per night.
The next obstacle was getting ski tickets.
The Aspen Skiing Company had trail crews
to stabilize the snow on steep slopes. This
preceded snow grooming equipment. Aspen
hired ambitious people like my brother and
me to join others to sidestep up, then down,
steep slopes. If you see old photos and wonder why you might see horizontal lines packing the new powder on slopes, this is how it
was done. If my memory serves me right, we
received two lift tickets for a half-day of packing. It was hard work, but we looked at it as
improving our thigh muscles - so important
for good skiing. One must remember that before there were rope tows or ski lifts, side stepping was how a person went up the slopes. It
took a long time to go up. Yet, it took only
minutes to ski down!
Although the evolution in quality of skis
went right along with the growing public's enthusiasm in the sport little changed until
Howard Head made his aluminum laminate
skis available to the masses in 1959. These
skis had a laminate wooden core with aluminum exterior and a plastic bottom with
inset metal edges. To this point, wood skis
were conventional with minimal improvement from all wood and edges that would
round down with wear to wood skis with interlocking metal edges held on by screws. The
bottom of the skis were wood. To make the
skis run decently on varying snow conditions
and temperatures there were two basic methods of waxing.
With one method you selected and purchased a wax for a given temperature, then
melted it in a pot and applied the wax with a
paintbrush. After a couple of coats a person

Far West Skier's Guide 2O17 - 2O18 / Digital Edition Insert

ttttt

Several other events and happenings also
put skiing on the fast track. NASTAR, an
acronym for NAtional STAndard Race, was
created in 1968. It was patterned after a similar French program started in the 1950s. Ski
instructors were rated by a percentage that
they lagged behind a top national team slalom
racer. The American program allowed everyone who desired to race through a handicap
system. Their times were compared to other
racers at several associated resorts. Today
there are over 100 ski resorts in North America where NASTAR courses can be utilized.
Many U.S. Ski Team members have gotten
their starts through the NASTAR program.
NSAA, the National Ski Areas Association, was formed in 1962. It was originally
headquartered in New York City. Its purpose
was to assist ski area owners and operators to
promote the growth of the industry and create
some standardization. It appears that they
were quite successful. as it is estimated that
over half of the world's 5,500 ski resorts in
existence today were actually opened in
the 1960s and the skiing public doubled every
5 - 6 years. In the US, alone, 98 new ski resorts opened their doors during the 1960s.

64 - 15



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of 2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide

2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - Intro
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - Cover1
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - Cover2
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 1
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 2
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 3
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 4
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 5
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 6
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 7
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 8
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 9
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 10
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 11
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 12
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 13
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 14
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 15
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 16
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 17
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 18
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 19
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 20
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 21
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 22
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 23
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 24
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 25
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 26
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 27
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 28
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 29
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 30
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 31
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 32
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 33
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 34
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2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 36
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 37
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 38
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 39
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 40
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 41
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 42
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 43
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 44
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 45
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 46
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 47
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 48
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 49
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 50
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 51
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 52
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 53
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 54
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 55
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 56
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 57
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 58
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 59
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 60
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 61
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 62
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 63
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 64
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 64-1
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 64-2
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 64-3
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 64-4
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 64-5
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 64-6
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 64-7
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 64-8
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 64-9
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 64-10
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 64-11
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 64-12
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 64-13
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 64-14
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 64-15
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 64-16
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 64-17
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 64-18
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 64-19
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 64-20
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 64-21
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 64-22
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 64-23
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 64-24
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 64-25
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 64-26
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 64-27
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 64-28
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 65
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 66
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 67
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 68
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 69
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 70
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 71
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2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - Cover3
2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - Cover4
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