The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 10

Gorden Stangland and Vic West
developed The Nebelhorn, later Echo
Summit Ski Area, in 1947. The area
opened in 1948.
By the end of 1949, skiing had fully recovered
from the effects of World War II. The United States
Forest Service reported that California led all other
regions in 1948-49 with 580,000 skier visits to ski
areas located in national forests. This growth continued
throughout the 1950s and at the end of the
decade the Forest Service estimated that skiing experienced
300% growth from 1950 to 1960. Some
of California's most popular and enduring areas
were developed during this time.
In 1952, Tommi Tyndall began work on Snow
Summit with the installation of a double chair. In
1955, Chris Kuraisa and his three partners - George
Cannon, Curly Musso and Rudy Guerick - would
transform his small area, Bijou Park Ski-Way, into
Heavenly Valley.
George Cannon, Curly Musso, Rudy Guersick and Chris Kuraisa were
instrumental in the development of Heavenly Valley in South Lake Tahoe,
the world famous ski resort flanking the California/Nevada border. Kuraisa
began operating Bijou Park Ski-Way in 1954, but the hills towering above his
small rope tow area led him to develop Heavenly Valley.
Major ski area development peaked in the
1960s and 1970s. Ski area owners invested millions
of dollars in an effort to keep pace with soaring
skier numbers. Ten ski areas opened during this
time: Alpine Meadows, Tahoe Ski Bowl, Homewood,
Boreal, Bear Valley, Silver Basin, TahoeDonner,
Kirkwood, Northstar, and Ski Sundown.
Eight of those areas are still in business today.
Over the 80 years of lift served skiing in California,
the state cemented its standing as a skier's
mecca. Ski area owners and operators were tasked
with overcoming countless obstacles: lack of winter
road access, war restrictions, Forest Service and environmental
regulations, and drought, as well as the
recent major health pandemic.
California currently is home to 29 ski areas.
Mother Nature has challenged the resorts over
the years, and the lack of capital to expand or to
supplement natural snow with snowmaking often
led to their demise. Many of California's pioneer ski
areas were founded by skiers to provide a place for
people as passionate about the sport as they were.
Very few family owned ski areas remain in California
today, most having long ago been taken over by
corporations and conglomerates. The small, rustic
vibe of those old ski areas is a thing of the past, but
the skiers and snowboarders who frequent today's
areas still approach the sport with the same enthusiasm
and joy that skiers who rode their first rope
tow did more than 80 years ago. n
About the Author:
Ingrid P. Wicken is the leading
authority on the history of skiing in
Southern California and has written four
books: Pray for Snow: The History of Skiing
in Southern California (2002) and Skiing in
Southern California (2007), Lost Ski Areas of
Southern California (2012), and 50 Years of
Flight: Ski Jumping in California 1900-1950
(2017).
In 2004, she founded the California
u u
u u
One of the finest Ski Libraries in the United States!
Available by Appointment
u Wanted: Rare and Historical Memorabilia u
Ingrid P. Wicken u P.O. Box 273 u Norco, CA 92860 u 951-207-9218
ingrid@skilibrary.com
www.skilibrary.com
10 FWSA 90th Anniversary Booklet / 1930 - 2020
Ski Library, one of the finest collections
of books, historic photographs,
magazines, annuals, brochures, catalogs,
programs, newsletters, and other
ephemera in the United States. She has
won multiple awards for her work
preserving and documenting skiing
history. She was awarded the Far West
Ski Association's Western Ski Heritage
Award in 2002, 2005, 2013, and 2018
and the Western Snowsports Builder
Award in 2018 for the founding of the
Ski Library. The International Ski History
Association has also recognized her
published work, awarding her the Skade
Award in 2003, 2008, 2015, and 2018.
She is a professor emerita of
Kinesiology at Moreno Valley College.
http://www.skilibrary.com

The Far West Ski Association Turns 90

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Far West Ski Association Turns 90

Index
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - Cover1
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - Cover2
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 1
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 2
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 3
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - Index
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