The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 65

killed in Italy fighting as a member of the 10th
Mountain Division. In his short, remarkable career,
Tokle had broken 24 jumping records and won 42
of the 48 tournaments in which he competed.
Skiing After WWII
Skiing resumed after WWII, and Washington
ski areas were expanded and upgraded. Snoqualmie
Summit Ski Area tripled its ski terrain, new
rope tows and lights for night skiing were installed.
Small ski areas, often with a single rope tow, opened
around the state, most of which later closed.
In February, 1945, the Associated Students of
the University of Washington bought the Martin
Ski Hut from Northern Pacific. The Husky Winter
Sports Club improved the lodge, installed rope tows,
and offered ski lessons to students. From 1945 to
1949, when the lodge burned down, Martin was
used by the U.W. ski team for training and races,
and by student skiers.
The National Park Service hardened its policies
regarding winter activities within National Parks after
the war. It would not allow Mt. Rainier to be used
for sanctioned ski meets, permanent ski tows, or ski
carnivals or events that would attract large crowds of
people. Portable tows could operate if they were removed
in the spring. This meant the end of Mount
Rainier as one of the state's major ski areas.
The Mount Baker Ski Area planned to spend
$500,000 to build a 100 room lodge and two chair
lifts, and four rope tows would be in operation the
winter of 1946.
For the 1947 ski season, the Milwaukee Road
resumed operations of its Ski Bowl. The first highcapacity
ski lift on Snoqualmie Pass was installed,
the SkiBoggan. It was a surface lift, a " massive sled
that carries 32 snow riders a time up " , capable of carrying
1,440 skiers per hour.
In 1947, six jumpers were selected at the Milwaukee
Ski Bowl for the U.S. jumping team for
the1948 Olympic Games at St. Moritz, coached by
Alf Engen. Gustav Raaum, who won Norway's junior
Holmenkollen, stayed to attend the University
of Washington, and lead its jumping team, becoming
a mainstay of Northwest ski jumping. He was
the first of many Norwegians to study at local
schools and jump for their college ski teams.
Raaum listed 56 Norwegian students who competed
for Northwest schools, 41 in Washington.
The big skiing story of 1948 was the winter
Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland, the first held
since 1936, and the first to feature a full array of Alpine
events. Three Washington skiers were on the
U.S. Olympic team - Gretchen Fraser, Don Amick
and David Fairies. Tacoma native Gretchen Kunigk
Fraser was the " unexpected heroine " , winning a
gold medal in the slalom and a silver in the Alpine
Combined, narrowly losing to Trude Beiser of Austria
by 37/100 of a point in the combined. She was
the country's first athlete to win an Olympic medal
in a skiing event.
In 1949, Sverre Kongsgaard, a Norwegian
exchange student at the University of Idaho, set a
North American distance record at the Ski Bowl,
beating Torger Tokle's hill record set in 1941, and
his 1942 record at Iron Mountain, Michigan. Ski
Acres opened one mile east of the Snoqualmie
Summit, with the first chair lift on the Pass. The
Spokane Ski Club built a ski jump on Mt. Spokane
A major blow to Northwest skiing came in
December 1949, when a $180,000 fire destroyed
the lodge and train depot at the Milwaukee Ski
Bowl, and the Milwaukee Road decided not to rebuild
the area in the fall of 1950. The Seattle Times
cancelled its ski school that operated since 1938,
teaching more than 20,000 students the fundamentals
of controlled skiing. This set back Alpine skiing
in Washington for a decade, and the loss of the Ski
Bowl's Olympic caliber jumps was a major blow to
Northwest ski jumping.
The Leavenworth Winter Sports Club continued
to host ski jumping tournaments until 1978,
including national championship tournaments in
1959, 1967, 1974, and 1978. Between 1965 and
1970, three North American distance records were
set there, and the club hosted several try-outs for the
U.S. teams for the Olympic Games. In the early
1960s, Leavenworth native Jim Brennan won the
national jumping championships, equaled the national
distance record, and competed internationally.
In 1972, Leavenworth's Ron Steele was
on the U.S. Olympic team, and competed in
Saporro, Japan.
Three Washington skiers were on the 1952
Olympic team that competed in Olso, Norway- Jack
Nagel, Janette Burr (later Johnson), and Dorothy Surgenor
(who was also on the 1956 Olympic team). In
1952, a poma lift was installed at Snoqualmie Summit
Ski Area, and in 1955, the first double chairlift
on Snoqualmie Pass was installed there, the Thunderbird,
along with the Thunderbird Lodge on the
top of the area's highest hill.
In 1954, " a hardy group of Norwegian ski jumpers " ,
led by Olav Ulland, Gustav Raaum and others,
formed the Kongsberger Ski Club after the Seattle
Ski Club lost interest in ski jumping. The club built
a ski jump at Cabin Creek east of Snoqualmie Pass,
held competitions, gave jumping instructions, and
assisted with jumping competitions at Olympic
Games and international competitions. Ragnar Ulland,
Olav's 17 year old nephew, was on the 1956
U.S. Olympic Jumping Team coached by Olav, but
was hurt and did not compete.
In 1958, Olav
coached the U.S. team at the World Championships
in Finland, and Gustav Raaum was team manager.
In 1960, the Kongsbergers ran the jumping events
at the Squaw Valley Olympics. At the 1980 Lake
Placid Olympics, Raaum was Chief of Competition
and Olav Ulland and Magnus Bakke were
measurers.
In 1959, the Hyak Ski Area opened. In 1967,
Alpental opened as the fourth ski area on Snoqualmie
Pass.
Alpine skiing grew as Washington ski
areas expanded or were started in the 1950s and
1960s. Major investments were made at Stevens
Pass, Mount Baker, Hurricane Ridge (opened in
1957), Mission Ridge (opened in 1962), Crystal
Mountain (opened in 1962), White Pass, Mount Spokane,
40 Degrees North, Badger Mountain, Bluewood
and elsewhere, as skiing became more
popular. In 1965, Crystal hosted the National Alpine
Championships that attracted the world's top
skiers, including Jean Claude Killy, Jimmie Heuga,
and Billy Kidd.
Interest in ski jumping diminished in the
1960s, dropped further in the 1970s, and funding
for the sport dried up. The last Leavenworth tournament
took place in 1978, (a National Championship).
In 1982, the New York Times said ski jumping's popularity
had nosedived and the sport was struggling.
Washington ski resorts have changed ownership
over the years. Ski Lifts, Inc., owned by the
Webb Moffett family, purchased the three other
Snoqualmie Pass ski areas, bringing all four under
single management (1980, Ski Acres; 1983, Alpental;
and 1992, Hyak). In 1997, Ski Lifts, Inc. was sold to
Booth Creek Holdings and the ski areas were renamed.
In 2007, CNL Investment Properties
bought the properties, and Boyne USA managed
the four areas until 2018, when Boyne Mountain
Resorts purchased them. Mission Ridge was purchased
in 2003, by Washington's Larry Schrivanich.
Crystal Mountain was sold to Boyne Mountain Resorts
in 1997, then sold in 2018, to Altera Mountain
Company. Vail Resorts bought Stevens Pass Ski
Area in 2018, for $67 million. The Mt. Spokane
Ski Area is operated by a non-profit, Mt. Spokane
Ski & Snowboard Park.
The ski industry has long been an important
part of Washington's economy. By 1938, skiing was
a $3 million industry bringing 20,000 skiers to the
mountains every weekend. According to the Pacific
Northwest Ski Areas Association, from 2011 to
2014, there was an average of 2,102,488 annual
visits to Washington ski resorts. According to a 2015
report prepared for the Washington State Department
of Recreation and Conservation Office, in
2013, expenditures for Alpine skiing in Washington
were $840,706,347, and $110,327,122 for crosscountry
skiing, for a total of $951,033,346, spent by
1,956,469 participants.
Washington's ski industry is thriving today.
There are nine Alpine ski areas, six Community ski
areas, 24 Nordic Ski Centers, and one helicopter
and snowboarding center. Information about these
and Washington's 18 " Lost Ski Areas " , as well as, the
state's 39 Olympians (15 medalists), can be found at
the Washington State Ski and Snowboard Museum
on Snoqualmie Pass (WSSM).
See www.wssm.org. n
FWSA 90th Anniversary Booklet / 1930 - 2020 65
http://www.wssm.org

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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