The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 70

Timeline: Utah Ski History
1870s- Miners used skiing for transportation
1912 - Wasatch Mountain Club (recreation) formed
1915 - Norwegian Young Folks Society stages ski
jumping events at Dry Creek Hill and Becker Hill
1930s - World class ski jumping tournaments on
Ecker Hill draw many thousands of spectators
1936 - Rope tow at Brighton starts operation
1939 - Utah's first chairlift starts operating at
Alta. It was the second such skier conveyance in
the country with Sun Valley, which opened the
season before, having the first
1941 - Snowbasin opens in Ogden Canyon
1941 - The U.S. Forest Service names Sverre
Engen, ski jumper, coach, film-maker, resort manager
and avalanche control pioneer as the nation's
first snow ranger
1942 - 10th
Mountain Division paratroopers train
in winter warfare at Alta
1944 - Timp Haven (Sundance) opens in
Provo Canyon
1946 - Snow Park (later Deer Valley) opens
1946 - Little Mountain (Emigration Canyon,
night skiing, tubing) opens
1949 - Beaver Mountain opens in Logan Canyon
1954 - Gorgoza opens below Parleys Canyon
summit with short single-chair lift, tubing
1957 - Solitude opens in Big Cottonwood Canyon
1960 - Utah's iconic " Greatest Snow on Earth "
winter sports promotional slogan first appears
as a headline over a ski story written by my older
brother, Tom Korologos, for The Salt Lake Tribune
on Dec. 4
1961 - Brian Head (southern Utah) opens
1963 - Treasure Mountain Resort
(now Park City Mountain) opens
1966 - Salt Lake City makes its first of five
Olympic Winter Games bids in Rome, Italy
1968 - Robert Redford and a group of investors
buy Timp Haven in Provo Canyon, change its
name to Sundance
From Silver Mines
to Olympic Gold
by Mike Korologos
Veteran writer on matters of skiing in Utah
The International Olympic Committee has decided
to award the organization of the Olympic Winter Games of 2002
to the city of Salt Lake City!
- Juan Antonio Samaranch,
President, International Olympic Committee, June 16, 1995, Budapest, Hungary.
That announcement ignited a spark that burst into an Olympic flame seven years later when Salt
Lake City staged the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games of 2002, by any measure the marquee event
in the annals of winter sports in Utah, if not in the history of the state.
That extravaganza between February 8 and 24 was so well executed (ie. 50,000 volunteers and a
profit/legacy fund of $78 million) that Salt Lake City is the choice of the U.S. Olympic Committee to compete
internationally to host the Winter Olympic/Paralympics Games in 2030 or 2034.
What's more, those standard-setting games put a high gloss on Utah's image as a world-class wintertime
tourist destination, a games afterglow that continues to shine today.
But wait. We're getting ahead of the story.
Depending on what metric one uses, Utah's long and colorful winter sports history features many
other highlights and heroes in addition to the Olympic Games. One can argue the silver miners in the
gloves-off mining towns of Alta and Park City in the 1870s-80s were the originators of winter sports in
the area.
They rode in rusty ore buckets affixed to rickety tram systems that carried them to their mountainside
mine jobs and at the end of the shift would scoot down the snow-covered hills straddling wide-mouth
shovels or riding, arms a-flaying, atop barrel staves. On payday, those antics often lead to rowdy competitions
among mining camps.
Also in the late 1880s and early 1900s, away from the raucous mining camps - way away - the
straight-laced early-day Mormons would escape the summer heat of Salt Lake City by heading up Big
Cottonwood Canyon, 25 miles southeast of the capital, where many had built cabins (site of today's Brighton
Ski Area). To access their cabins in the winter, the hearty city folk strode atop the snows on long boards or
snowshoes.
Then there was the Wasatch Mountain Club. It was the first to have organized backcountry ski outings
in Utah. And it's still at it today.
With some 1,000 members, this backcountry skiing and winter-summer outdoor recreation and conservation
group traces its recorded start to 1920, but it had a less formal structure as early as 1912. To
commemorate their club's centennial milestone, members observed the anniversary with a series of special
events and ceremonies throughout 2020.
The ski jumping frenzy of the Scandinavian and Norwegian countries (home for numerous Mormon immigrants)
was replicated in Utah by the Norwegian Young Folks Society, which staged jumping events in
the foothills east of Salt Lake City and east of Ogden in 1913.
Those competitions became the warm-up acts for the ski jumping extravaganzas of the late 1920s
and 1930s when barnstorming " yumpers " , many from Europe, chased world jump records and attracted
several thousands of spectators to Rasmussen Ranch, later known as Ecker Hill, near the summit of Parleys
Canyon. Creole Hill in Park City, Dry Canyon Hill in northeast Salt Lake City and Becker Hill in Ogden
Canyon were other popular jumping sites of the period.
But there's more than that hodge-podge of events that buttress Utah's world-renowned skiing and
riding emporiums of today (read the cushy mega lodges, the six-pack chairlifts, high-tech snow-making and the ultragroomed
cruisers).
Today's purveyors of powder can hitch their existence to several visionaries, luminaries, fortunes
and flops sprinkled throughout the history of Utah's snow sports industry.
One of the most prominent and influential visionaries was S. J. " Joe " Quinney, a wealthy Salt Lake
City lawyer and state legislator who was committed to public causes. In the late 1930s, he rallied 10 business
entities to form the Salt Lake Winter Sports Association. Initiation fee: $10,000 each. The group included
the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, Walker Bank and Trust Co., the Rio Grande Railroad and New
York publisher James Laughlin.
In the rear-view mirror of today, what the association accomplished was monumental. It bankrolled
construction of the first chairlift ever operated in Utah. It was the Collins chair at Alta, at the head of
Little Cottonwood Canyon, 25 miles southeast of Salt Lake City and site in the 1870s of a freewheeling
silver mining town that housed 3,000 inhabitants who quenched their collective thirst at 25 saloons and
five breweries.
With minimal fanfare, on January 15, 1939, Quinney and Alf Engen, a Norwegian native, expert
70 FWSA 90th Anniversary Booklet / 1930 - 2020

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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