The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 17

FWSA TRAVEL PROGRAM
The Association, under the leadership of Sutter Kunkel (a Grindelwald Ski Club member), initiated a
Flight Program in 1958 to provide charter flights, initially to Switzerland for the Grindelwald Ski Club.
Tapping into a large demand, the Flight Program grew to ten flights per year to three European
nations in 1964, later expanded to South America for summer skiing and even domestic ski sites. The
flight program was an indicator of demand by experienced skiers not then satisfied by California's
ski areas, and it was a major impetus for membership increase. The flight program had its own
administrator, Martha Perez, in a Los Angeles office which was also available to Southern Council for
its development. The office in San Francisco focused on competition matters and was managed by
Mary Lou Bearden (Oakland Ski Club). The Flight Program produced two management innovations,
the first being the Far World Ski Club for travelers which grew to several hundred members. The Century
Club was a membership category given preference in seating; the cost was $100 and it included a
life-time membership in FWSA. The treasury was accounted for by the Travel Administrator for the
Association and amounted to roughly $5,000 by 1980. These funds went with FWSA when it merged
with USSA as USSA-Sports, as part of the now national organization's assets. (See destinations on pages
72 and 72.)
THE 1960 WINTER OLYMPICS
The greatest impact on the popularity of snowsport in the USA was the televised 1960 Winter
Olympics. The long-awaited Olympics had no shortage of Far West members who volunteered to help.
Colonel Fraser West found Marines to boot pack the slopes. The Patrol was all-volunteer and
included Jimmie Nunn* and his future wife Jerry, who later was inducted into the Ski Hall of Fame for
her work in avalanche control methods. Many prominent ski reporters from across the nation launched
their reputations reporting on the Olympics. J. Stanley Mullin was the FIS official at the Olympics and
it was here that he developed the case for the " cheating " by the Russians. These Olympics were the
inflection point in making skiing a recreation for all.
The Olympics' impact on FWSA was to increase the popularity of ski clubs which offered help
in learning to ski and advice on selection of equipment, as well as, a social life. There were big
demographic changes in California because of the demand for skilled engineers and technicians within
the aerospace and defense industries. Technologies initiated in the late 1950s provided a basis for high
tech industries and the recruiting necessary to exploit these technologies well into the 1970s. These
jobs paid well, and there was free time to engage in sports. Disposable consumer income was up and
climbing. Skiing and FWSA were on a roll. In 1972, dues-paying members totaled 33,100 and grew
to 48,000 by 1980. Skier days in California totaled several hundred thousand. The ski industry was
struggling to supply services to the explosively increasing number of skiers.
THE TURBULENT 1970s and Early 1980s
The 1970s were a time of turbulence for FWSA. Always a matter of budget, the split of general
funds between competition and recreation (everything else) led to competition's decisions to go its own
way. At the 1976 FWSA Convention in Oakland competition spun off to pursue racing under the
Far West Division of USSA (now Far West Skiing). FWSA continued to expand and augment programs
of Public Affairs (including Area Development), Domestic Travel with our contractor Marianna Georgantas,
intramural racing (later renamed Recreational Racing) for league races and council championships, the new
USSA Ski Weeks (1969), and the new Far West Ski Week (1973). The very popular Far West Ski Week
(both Domestic and International) are still annual events.
Operating without a Competition program but still a division of USSA, some directors now
questioned the benefit of shipping off $30,000 per year to USSA in dues. USSA had no programs
comparable to the full sports-travel-social menu of activities in FWSA. In fact, FWSA essentially
brought that menu to USSA, with its metro council representation for the USSA committee structure.
The merits of belonging to a national organization was being debated when Dick Goetzman proposed
in 1980 a merge of FWSA into a new USSA entity called USSA-Sports (the rest of USSA was USSACompetition).
So instead of withdrawing, FWSA was now leading a national organization. But, the
Amateur Athletic Act of 1978 - which few had even heard of - had to be satisfied. It required that
to send athletes to the Olympics, a national governing body had to be made up of athletes from
disciplines it trained for the Olympics. Far West was not a governing body for any discipline and was
offered a Committee in the 1984 USSA, now reorganizing. It rejected a proposal by the Far West Ski
Association to be the national recreation organization recognized by the USSA. Far West withdrew
from USSA, disappointed that " the showcase of recreational skiing " would be relegated to a committee
swimming among a host of National Governing Bodies.
Bicentennial flag displayed at Frozen Falls in Yellowstone
National Park, April 1976. FWSA, under the
leadership of Bill Berry, conducted in January 1976
the first Bicentennial event in the nation with Far
West skiers skiing the route of Snowshoe Thompson
from a small post office east of Placerville ( " Hangtown " )
where first day covers were prepared. Skiers
assembled at the Sierra Summit, skied through Hope
Valley and on to Genoa, Nevada (Snowshoe's grave).
Senator Warner, Chairman of the American
Revolution Bicentennial Administration, was there
to participate in the flag's arrival. The same flag was
carried to the Far West Spring Fest at Big Sky. Skiers
traveled by Snowcat to the Frozen Falls.
Chuck Morse, Owner of World Ski Events, was the
recipient of the FWSA Bill Mackey Award for his On
Campus Learn-To-Ski Program at the 1983 FWSA
Annual Convention in San Diego. The Award was
presented by Jane Wyckoff, FWSA President and
John Watson, FWSA Past President. The program
featured " Mogul Mike, America's Safe Ski Buddy " ,
created by Bob Settineri and Ron Roesch. Bob Autry
of the Mammoth Mountain Video Department,
developed the " Ski Sense and Safety Series " films.
The program was promoted in high schools, colleges
and throughout the FWSA to the clubs and councils.
It was the precursor to the Association's " First With
Safety Awareness " program.
FWSA 90th Anniversary Booklet / 1930 - 2020 17

The Far West Ski Association Turns 90

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

Index
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