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Anton Larsen Pass Ski Area

1943 to Late 1990's

Name of Ski Area: Anton Larsen Pass Ski Area, Pyramid Mountain, Anton Larsen Ski Chalet, The Fort Greeley (Army) Ski Chalet
Location: On Kodiak Island, at the Anton Larsen Pass (also called Buskin Pass) on the Kodiak Island Highway that goes from Chiniak Bay, past Buskin Lake, to Anton Larsen Bay.
Type of Area: Ski Hill
Dates of Operation: 1943 to Late 1990's
Who Built It?: U.S. Army
Base/Top/ Vertical Drop:

Base: ~500' / Top: ~900' / Vert: ~400' (guesses - still researching)

Lifts: Rope tow.  Initial size unknown.  In 1951 the rope tow was expanded to 1200 feet.  Of which 900 feet was used as a toboggan tow.
Facilities: Large "Ski Chalet" lodge (11,900 square feet).  In 1951 there were 125 pairs of skis and poles for use by military corps.
Miscellaneous: The US Army built the original ski chalet and rope tow.  It was operated by the American Red Cross.  The ski chalet was officially opened in February of 1943, when a winter sports carnival was held.  After the Army left in 1944 the ski area was transferred to the US Navy.  While the Navy ran this ski area it was called Pyramid Mountain.  Later the ski area would be run by the US Coast Guard.
Sources of Information:

Joe Stevens' Kodiak Alaska Military History web site; Dick Coerse; Patrick Saltonstall; Bob Shaw; Don Clark; John Sikes; Bill Emerson; Willis LaRose; Eduardo Vitorino

Photos: Does anyone have pictures of skiing on the Anton Larsen Ski Area (or current pictures of the vicinity) that they would like to contribute to ALSAP ?

 

 Photos from Joe Stevens' Kodiak Alaska Military History web site

 

Robert Cook's Kodiak ~1941 "Ski Patrol" pictures

(Click on pictures to enlarge them)
[Photo Credits:  Robert Cook]

(1941)  At Anton Larsen Pass (also called Buskin Pass) the Army built a ski chalet.  This large 11,900 sq. foot lodge was started in 1941 and finished in 1943.  The beginning stages of construction can be seen in these three pictures from 1941 below.  The photographer of the pictures below, Gresham L. Pace, referred to the chalet as "Gen. Corlett's Baby" !!  

[Photo Credit:  Gresham L. Pace]

Pace_Chalet1.jpg (209317 bytes) Pace_Chalet2.jpg (185975 bytes) Pace_Chalet3.jpg (220684 bytes)
ski_chalet_ft_greely.jpg (127511 bytes) (1943 or later)  After the Anton Larsen ski chalet was completed, the American Red Cross ran the facility.  When the Army left Fort Greely in 1944, the ownership of the chalet was transferred to the US Navy.  Here are two shots of the lodge.  The one on the right was entitled: "Snowed-in".

[Photo Credit:  Alan C. Tompkins]

 

snowed_in_chalet.jpg (175628 bytes)

(Late 40's, early 50's)  In 1951 the ski chalet was remodeled, painted, and equipped with 125 pairs of skis and poles. A new ski tow of 1800) feet was completed of which 900 feet served as a tow for toboggans.  The color photo below is from the 1960's.

Stevens_antonlarsen1.jpg (18464 bytes) Stevens_antonlarsen2.jpg (36476 bytes) Stevens_antonlarsen3.jpg (27507 bytes)
Stevens_antonlarsen4.jpg (80787 bytes) Stevens_antonlarsen5.jpg (47295 bytes)
  [Photo Credits:  Joe Stevens Collection]  
 
1950's photo by Nick Nekeferoff (via Patrick Saltonstall) WWII US Army Ski Patch  
The Kodiak Military History web site has these images of the Ski Chalet Register from the mid 1940's

(click on images below to enlarge to readable size)

The register cover Title page Ski Chalet staff list Guests signed in by state, here is the Alabama guests list


 

1947 Scrapbook Pictures Courtesy of John Sikes

       

 

 Bill Emerson Photos from 1961

Bill Emerson: During 1959 through 62 I was working happy satellite tracking station on Kodiak Island. The reason I took this assignment was that when I asked where the site was they showed me a topographic map. On it I saw that there was a ski area located between the satellite tracking station and the town of Kodiak. Being an avid skier this clinched the deal for going to Alaska.

As one of the young engineers, I didn't have very much seniority when it came to borrowing one of the Air Force jeeps to go to town. Therefore I normally ended up with the jeep that had been rolled and had no windshield or top. I would put on a parka, been put on a second parka with the zipper in the back, put on a facemask and goggles and of course my gloves and drive the 40 or so miles from the site to the ski area. Needless to say I enjoyed the fire and the warmth of the chalet upon my arrival.

There were a number of children from town who were trying to learn to ski and I was one of the volunteer instructors who taught children to ski. It was a wonderful experience and taught me to ski backwards while leaning over and helping children master the art of the snowplow and the stem turn. 

A number of people from the satellite tracking station decided that they would learn to ski while in Alaska. This is a photograph showing people from the satellite tracking station on the slopes at Anton Larsen Pass Ski Area, in 1961. From left to right they are: Bill Emerson, Don Sikkema, unknown, Bob Greeley, Mrs. Monell, Dick Monell (who was the station manager at the satellite tracking station), Lyle Burnham.

Although there is an indication that there was a tobogganing hill, a group of us from the satellite tracking station were not able to find that toboggan…  This  photo shows how we would have looked if we had had a toboggan.  (PLEASE note that all of us are wearing lace-up ski boots!!)  L to R  Unknown, Don Sikama, Unknown, Bill Emerson

In this photo you can clearly see the Rope Tows in the near background, and if you look closely against the skyline you can see the big rope tow in the background.

What a beautiful site this warm red building was after driving about 40 miles from the satellite tracking station in the open jeep.

Where there's a ski jump, even a small one, someone has to try jumping off…  (with long thong bindings… no helmet and almost no brains)  Bill Emerson

 

 Dick Coerse's Navy Ski Parka Patches from 1962

The center picture shows the Pyramid Mountain Ski Patrol at Mt. Alyeska.  The ski patrol traveled to Girdwood to help out with the 1963 National Alpine Skiing Championships and Olympic Tryouts.  Note the patches on each jacket are the same as those shown above.  Dick Coerse is the center person in the above group shot.

[Left] Three sailors from the Kodiak Naval Air Station ski at Pyramid Mountain in December of 1962.

[Photo credit: Dick Coerse]

 

 

 Willis LaRose Site Photos From October 2015

 

 Eduardo Vitorino Site Photos From January 2017

~  MAP & AERIAL VIEWS  ~

This 1979 topo map shows where the Anton Larsen Pass Ski Area is located relative to the town of Kodiak on Kodiak Island.

(click on this map to expand it)

topo_antonlarsen.jpg (283819 bytes)

Zooming in on the topo map you can see where the ski chalet and ski area was located.

(click on map to expand it)

topo_zoom_antonlarsen.jpg (118065 bytes)

Research Correspondence 

[Tim Kelley, web search October 2004, Kodiak Alaska Military History, www.kadiak.org]

 

On the road from the Kodiak state airport to Anton Larsen Bay, up in the pass, there is today a ski chalet. This is a modern structure. The Fort Greely (Army) Ski Chalet on this site was officially opened in February, 1943. (There had been an earlier chalet at the present location of Communications Station building T1.) It was operated by the American Red Cross. Sometime after the Army left at the end of 1944, the Navy assumed operation of the chalet.

[Tim Kelley, web search October 2004, Kodiak Alaska Military History, www.kadiak.org, note: this formerly classified information seems to indicate that General Corlett must have been a popular commander !! ]

 

declassified by W. G. Lewis (D. Williams), NARS, August 23, 1982. 
WNRC RG-338, Box 386, Hist. of Ft. Greely, 1941-1944
Classified Secret 19 July 1944
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FORT GREELY, ALASKA
Historical Report

1 November 1942 General Corlett resumed command of Fort Greely. (General Order No. 30, Headquarters, Fort Greely, Alaska, dated November 1, 1942). 

A skeet range was opened 11 November. 

The Army Landing Field at Cape Chiniak, Alaska, was designated Marks Army Air Field, in General Order No. 32, headquarters, Fort Greely, dated November 12, 1942. (Authority: WD AGO letter, file AG 320.2 (10-21-42) OB-I-AF-M, October 22, 1942, Subject: "Designation of Army Air Forces Stations.") 

Company D, 374th Port Battalion, Transportation Corps, arrived this station 27 November 1942. (Strength: 4 officers, 236 enlisted men.) 

Next day, 28 November, 2nd Battalion, 37th Infantry, departed for APO 986. (ltr ADC File 370.5). 

The post radio entertainment station got approved call letters -- WVCQ -- from the FCC. 

Chapels at Fort Greely received new Hammond electric organs in December 1942, and a Red Cross canteen opened in the town of Kodiak for service men. 

Post strength as of 31 December 1942: 420 officers, 5779 enlisted men. 

Fire destroyed the headquarters building of the 691st Signal Aircraft Warning Reporting Company, Special Second Reporting Platoon, at Lazy Bay on 15 January 1943. 

On 19 January, the 18th Engineers, veterans of the then "Alcan" Highway project, arrived this station via USAT David W. Branch. 

Post strength, January 1943: 449 officers, 7130 enlisted men. 

A total eclipse of the sun was observed from Kodiak on 4 February 1943. 

The Fort Greely Ski Chalet, constructed in the pass overlooking Anton Larsen and Chiniak bays, 6 miles northwest of the main garrison, was officially opened in February, 1943, and a winter sports carnival was held. 

[Tim Kelley, web search October 2004, Kodiak Alaska Military History, www.kadiak.org]

 

U. S. NAVAL STATION
NAVY No. 127 %POSTMASTER
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON
IN REPLY REFER TO:
NS/KOD/A9-2
95:PH:jgh
Ser 335
FEB 20 1952

From: Commanding Officer, U. S. Naval Station, Kodiak, Alaska
To: Chief of Naval Operations (Aviation History and Research Section)

Subj: Historical Report (OpNav Report 575-1); submission of

Ref: (a) OpNav Instruction 5750.2

Encl: (1) Historical Report for period 1 July 1951 to 31 December 1951

1. In accordance with reference (a), subject historical report is herewith
submitted as enclosure (1).

R. C. BRIXNER
U. S. NAVAL STATION
KODIAK, ALASKA

HISTORICAL REPORT
(OpNav Report 575-1)

1 July - 31 December 1951

HISTORICAL OFFICER
LCDR PAUL HAAS, Jr., 116640/1310, U. S. Navy

7. The "Ski Chalet" was remodeled, painted, and equipped with one hundred
twenty-five (125) pairs of skis and poles. A new ski tow of eighteen
hundred (1800) feet was completed of which nine hundred (900) feet
served as a tow for toboggans.

[Tim Kelley, web search October 2004, Kodiak Alaska Military History, www.kadiak.org]


1965 Master Shore Station Development Plan

U. S. NAVAL STATION
KODIAK, ALASKA
GENERAL DEVELOPMENT MAP
INDEX OF STRUCTURES
EXISTING & PLANNED PRE - M DAY

BUDOCKS LTR SER. R-411.2/ET OF 21 FEB. 1962
DRAWING NO. 589373
REVISIONS 6/1/62, 1/25/63, 1/13/65

bldg# map page, coordinates, use, size
______________________
EXISTING STRUCTURES SHEET 24 (first page of this book)
...
1399 17 I-32 ski chalet lodge 11,900 sf

[Dick Coerse - 26 and 27 January 2008 emails ]

 

During the winter of 1962 and 1963 I was stationed at the U.S. Coast Guard Loran Station a Spruce Cape on Kodiak Island.  At that time I was a member of the National Ski Patrol at what was then known as Pyramid Mountain.  The Navy operated the facility and during the first week of April 1963, the members of the Pyramid Mt.. Ski Patrol (who by the way were also the instructors at the Pyramid Mt.. Ski School) flew to Elmendorf AF Base in Anchorage on a Navy aircraft where we rented a car and drove to Mt. Alyeska to help with the patrolling of the 1963 National Alpine Ski Championships and Olympic Tryouts.  These races were held on April 4, 5, and 6 of 1963 and used as a major qualification for the 1964 U.S. Olympic Team that competed in Innsbruck, Austria.

 

Yes, Pyramid Mt. Ski Area was the same area you are calling Anton Larsen Ski Area.  I have attached a couple of photos One of the Ski Area Patch and one of the Instructor's Patch, both of which came from my National Ski Patrol parka of 46 years ago. 

[Bob Shaw - 07 January 2011 emails excerpt ]
 

My name is Bob Shaw, I have been telling my wife about My early childhood in Kodiak, specifically about a place that my family referred to as "The Ski Chalet".  I never knew it had a name until I Googled it recently and found your site.  My dad was stationed at Kodiak Naval Base (where I was born in 1957) and when I was a couple of years old my Dad was assigned  the task of caretaker at the Anton Larson facility.  I remember living there at the lodge, my Dad, Mom, sister and I. It was a big place for a family of four and We played hard when there were no guests. I remember being snowed in in the winter, learning how to ski and toboggan when most kids were barely walking.  I also remember the Ski Patrol? patch with the skiing bear on it as I had one sewn on my parka when i was a child. Wish I still had that patch!  Anyway, my fathers name was Marion Shaw, he died about 16 years ago.  My Mom lives in Florida and has e-mailed me pictures of the ski chalet in the summer and in the winter.  I'm sure that someone out there will remember my family, and the little boy and little girl that lived at the lodge around 1960.  Thanks for the web pages you have up!  It was good to see that part of my family history and learn it had a name other than The Ski Chalet.
 
Bob Shaw

[Don Clark - 10 January 2011 email excerpt ]

The "snake ranch" was not in the ski chalet building.  It was down on the road, a few hundred yards towards Anton Larsen Bay.  I think 2 persons had it.  There were two rope tows at the ski site: one to the west and a shorter one closer to the road and almost  meeting it that went a short distance eastward towards Buskin Lake.

[Bill Emerson - 12 November 2015 email]

See text and pictures above (Bill Emerson Photos from 1961).


[Willis LaRose - 16 March 2016 email]

The Coast Guard took over the property in the 70's and continued managing it until an unfortunate accident in early 2000's.  It was closed down and the Kodiak Chief Petty Officer Association leased the property and to this day still maintains the building and property for members to use for morale.  Last year we had to remove and repair one entire wall due to rot.  We do fund raisers to save up money to complete repairs for the building. 

 

 

Do you have further information, stories or pictures that you would like to contribute about this ski area?