The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 6

How California Became
A World Class Skier's Paradise
The discovery of gold in California in 1849
ushered in thousands of fortune seekers to the
mountains and foothills of the Sierra Nevada. For
the miners who resided there year-round, skis became
a necessity for travel and survival, and for
Johnsville, LaPorte and other nearby communities,
sport. The famous longboard races made front page
news in frontier newspapers. Some racers became
known for their ski making capabilities, but even
more fame came to those whose " dope " (ski wax)
were on the skis of the winning racers. When gold
fever cooled, the longboard races declined.
Skiing continued in California, but primarily
only for those who wintered in the mountains and
used skis for travel, hunting, and other activities vital
for living in mountains in winter. One exception was
Truckee. Once the Southern Pacific was completed
over Donner Pass, Truckee became California's first
winter sports center. Residents of the Bay Area,
Sacramento, and Reno now had access to Truckee
in the dead of winter and Truckee businesses were
more than willing to accommodate this additional
source of income. They held the first winter carnival
in the west in 1896; and those carnivals continued
intermittently until 1950.
by Ingrid P. Wicken
California Ski Library, Director
After the Sierra Club was founded in 1892,
there was widespread interest to explore and mark
first ascents in California's mountains. Eventually
they wanted to venture into the mountains in winter
as well, but most California mountain areas were
isolated and inaccessible once winter snows began
to fall. By the 1920s, a handful of Sierra Club
members began to explore alpine areas on skis and
by 1933 the Sierra Crest had already been crossed
a number of times in winter. Harold Bradley skied
over Echo Summit, down to Lake Tahoe, along the
Truckee River to Truckee during winter 1920-21.
He traced much of Snowshoe Thompson's historic
mail route. Dr. Otto Barkan's group skied about 33
miles from Donner Summit, over the Mt. Lincoln
Saddle, to Lake Tahoe in 1927. In 1928-29, Orland
Bartholomew spent 14 weeks skiing from Cottonwood
Pass to Yosemite Valley. He crossed 13 passes
and spent 41 nights above 10,000 feet. On November
30, 1931, Auburn Ski Club member Otto
Lirsch and Walter Durfee skied from the Donner
Monument to Emigrant Gap, covering about 27
miles in 10½ hours. They followed the historic
route taken by the Donner Party. In March 1932,
Dennis Jones and Milana Jank skied over Tioga Pass
to Yosemite Valley. They covered 130 miles on this
trek.
After years of publicity to lure Easterners to
the warmth and sunshine of California, Californians
were now tasked with overcoming the decades-long
hype of the California State Chamber of
Commerce. Changing the widespread and longtime
perception of California as the land of perpetual
sunshine was no easy feat. But by the mid-1920s,
residents throughout the state were discovering that,
in addition to plentiful sunshine, the high mountains
from the San Bernardinos to Mt. Shasta were ideal
for winter sports. Much of this realization came
about with the arrival of Europeans and Scandinavians
who had learned to ski in their homelands and
were eager to teach the sport to anyone willing to
learn.
LEFT: Once the
Southern Pacific Railroad
was completed, the residents of
Northern California had access to
Truckee and the Lake Tahoe area.
RIGHT: Winter Carnivals were held to
bring winter enthusiasts to the Tahoe
area. This was a program for the 1932
National Ski Tournament. The National
Ski Association ski jumping event was
sponsored by the Lake Tahoe Ski Club.
By 1928, the chamber had a new attitude toward
winter sports. They began to realize the windfall
that winter sports could bring to businesses,
especially those looking to increase revenue during
the winter months. They, and the Sierra Club,
formed the state's first winter sport committees in
1929. At the same time, the chamber began an aggressive
campaign to formally organize, promote,
and support skiing in California.
After the 1932 Summer Olympics were
6 FWSA 90th Anniversary Booklet / 1930 - 2020
awarded to Los Angeles, many felt California should
also host that year's Winter Games. Big Pines felt
they would be a fitting host because of their proximity
to Los Angeles and their world class ski jump
that had been completed in 1929. In the end, Lake
Tahoe and Yosemite were the only California locations
that vied for the honor, but decades of publicity
touting California's Mediterranean climate
proved too difficult to overcome. And, more importantly
in the eyes of the International Olympic
Committee, California had no experience hosting
major ski meets and no formal ski associations or organizations,
other than a few ski clubs with the capability
to organize ski competitions.
The decision by the International Olympic
Committee awarding the games to Lake Placid on
April 10, 1929 mobilized California skiers to become
organized. At its meeting on February 20,
1930, the California State Chamber of Commerce
focused their attention on forming a state ski association
so that California skiers would officially be recognized
competitors in state and national ski meets.
Their mission was now to promote California as
" The Land of the Ski " . These efforts led to the
formation of the California Ski Association on October
7, 1930. Shortly thereafter, two major ski tournaments
were scheduled on Lake Tahoe's Olympic
Hill. In 1929, the Lake Tahoe Ski Club and the
Tahoe Tavern brought champion ski jumper Lars
Haugen to Tahoe to build the jump. Eventually
named Olympic Hill, it was located where Granlibakken
is today. Now that California had a ski association,
ski authorities were anxious to begin proving
that they had the snow and know-how to host major
ski events. Their efforts were recognized by Olympic
organizers and the National Ski Association of
America. California was awarded the California division
tryouts for the 1932 Winter Olympics that
were held on February 21- 22, 1931. Then, in February
1932, Olympic Hill hosted the National Ski
Championships.
After the formation of the Sierra Club Snow
Sports Committee in 1929, Sierra Club skiers pioneered
California ski mountaineering. Members
grew proficient in skiing and eventually built a series
of ski huts in Northern and Southern California.
Clair Tappaan Lodge was built in 1934, followed by
the Mount San Antonio ski hut on Mt. Baldy in
1936, and the Keller Peak ski hut near Snow Valley
in 1938. These buildings provided essential lodging
for these trailblazing ski mountaineers.
Sierra Club skiers and others began to make

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
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 5
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 6
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 7
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 8
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 9
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 10
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 11
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 12
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 13
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 14
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 15
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 16
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 17
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 18
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 19
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 20
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 21
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 22
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 23
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 24
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 25
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 26
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 27
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 28
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 29
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 30
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 31
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 32
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 33
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 34
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 35
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 36
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 37
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 38
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 39
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 40
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 41
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 42
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 43
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 44
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 45
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 46
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 47
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 48
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 49
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 50
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 51
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 52
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 53
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 54
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 55
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 56
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 57
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 58
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 59
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 60
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 61
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 62
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 63
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 64
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 65
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 66
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 67
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 68
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 69
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 70
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 71
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 72
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 73
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 74
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 75
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 76
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - Cover3
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com