The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 9

Les Salm, Lake Arrowhead Fire Chief, built the first
two rope tows in Southern California - one at Fish
Camp (now Snow Valley) in 1932, the other at Green
Valley Lake in 1937. Dennis Jones built a sled tow
on Beacon Hill in 1936. John " Jack " Northrop of
aeronautical fame, outfitted Fish Camp and McGee
Mountain near Mammoth with two uniquely-designed
sling lifts. Johnny Ellis installed his Lake Mary
tow in 1938; and that same year, the Sierra Club
built the Signal Hill ski tow at Clair Tappaan Lodge.
By the end of the 1940-41 season, it was estimated
that there were more ski lifts along Highway
40 than any other winter sports area in the United
States. And by 1941, the Eastern Sierra had twelve
lifts operating, stretching from Lone Pine in the
shadow of Mt. Whitney and continuing for 200
miles north to Conway Summit. Hans Georg and
Dave McCoy pioneered ski tows and ski instruction
in the McGee Creek and Mammoth area, with
McCoy building Mammoth Mountain's first chairlift
in 1955.
California's first ski boom took place in the
1930s, led by dazzling winter carnivals and fan-favorite
ski jumping meets. By the end of 1937, the
State Chamber of Commerce reported that many
new ski areas were being developed throughout the
state. Between 1938 and 1942 more than 40 ski tows
and lifts were constructed. A number of California's
iconic ski areas were developed at this time. Sugar
Bowl led the way with the construction of California's
first chairlift in 1939. Lynn Newcomb built
California's second chairlift at Mount Waterman in
1942. John Elvrum purchased Snow Valley in 1941,
but development of his historic area would have to
wait until after his service in the 10th Mountain Division.
The
establishment of ski areas was progressing
rapidly, but came to standstill at the advent of World
War II. Any chairlifts or other ski area improvements
were put off because steel and other resources
were needed for the war effort. But once the war
was over and life began to return to normal, skiing
resumed in earnest and eventually surpassed its prewar
popularity. Skiers returned and so did the
growth of the sport. A number of factors played into
this growth: automobile travel (no gas rationing,
better roads, more car ownership), the Forest Service
cooperating with private developers on forest lands,
winter roads kept open and free of snow, and the
advent of the ski lift. Ski tows and lifts were a relatively
new phenomenon in the 1930s, but were no
longer a novelty after the war. During the 1946-47
season, there were at least 67 tows and lifts operating
in California. Many of the ski area owners who returned
from the war picked up where they left off.
And others returned to start new areas. The founding
of alpine ski areas flourished. More than 15 ski
areas went into business between 1945 and 1950.
In Northern California, Donner Ski Ranch
and Sierra Ski Ranch were both developed during
the 1946-47 season. When Vic West and Gordon
Stangland returned from the war, they brought instructor
Lutz Aynedter with them. They began
clearing slopes in 1947 and The Nebelhorn opened
on Hwy 50 at Echo Summit in 1948. (See page 10)
Wayne Poulsen and Alex Cushing opened Squaw
Valley in 1949-50, installing a massive 8,000-footlong
double chair.
In Southern California, Blue Ridge installed
California's third chairlift in 1947. John Elvrum resumed
his ownership of Snow Valley and installed
a single chair in 1949. Sepp Benedikter and John
Steinmann built a chairlift and opened Holiday Hill
in 1950. Kratka Ridge was developed by the San
Gorgonio Ski Club in 1950 and would endure for
more than 50 years until it succumbed to dry
winters and lack of snowmaking.
Sugar Bowl Resort holds the honor of
having constructed the first chairlift in
California which opened in December
of 1939. It was several weeks later
before there was enough snow to use it.
1946-47 Ice Lakes Chalet* - Highway 50
1946-47 Peddler Hill* - Highway 88
1947
1947
1947
Glacier Lodge* - Big Pine
Granlibakken - Tahoe City
Mill Creek Ski Bowl* - Big Bear Lake
1947-48 The Nebelhorn-Echo Summit* - Highway 50
1948
1948
Blue Jay* - San Bernardino Mountains
Strawberry Lodge* - Highway 50
1948-49 Flagpole Mountain* - Highway 50
1948-49 Bijou Park Ski-Way* - South Lake Tahoe
1949
Lynn Lift* - Big Bear Lake
1949-50 Squaw Valley - Highway 89
1949
1950
Forty Niner Ski Tow* - Highway 49
Holiday Hill-Mountain High East - Wrightwood
1950-51 Dodge Ridge - Highway 108
1952
1952-53 Papoose* - Squaw Valley
1953
1954
Snow Summit - Big Bear Lake
Mammoth Mountain - Mammoth Lakes
Kratka Ridge* - Angeles Crest Highway
1955
1955
1955
Heavenly Valley - South Lake Tahoe
Rebel Ridge* - Big Bear Lake
Cisco Tunnel Mountain* - Highway 40/80
1956-57 Pla-Vada* - Highway 40/80
1957
1957-58 China Peak - Highway 168
1958
Powder Bowl-Deer Park* - Highway 89
Shasta Ski Bowl* - McCloud
1961-62 Alpine Meadows - Highway 89
1962-63 Tahoe Ski Bowl - Lake Tahoe West Shore
1964-65 Homewood - Lake Tahoe West Shore
1965
Boreal - Highway 80
1967-68 Mt. Reba-Bear Valley - Highway 4
1970-71 Silver Basin** - Highway 88
1971-72 Tahoe-Donner - Truckee
1972-73 Kirkwood - Highway 88
1972-73 Northstar - Highway 267
1977-78 Ski Sundown** - Highway 88
1983
Iron Mountain** - Highway 88
* Indicates lost ski area ** These three areas were in the same location
FWSA 90th Anniversary Booklet / 1930 - 2020 9

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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The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 6
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