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Perseverance Rope Tow

1932 to 1935

Name of Ski Area: Perseverance Rope Tow
Location: 3 miles northeast of Juneau, on Alexander "Sandy" Smith's mining claim above the junction of the Perseverance and Granite Creek Trails
Type of Area: Ski Hill
Dates of Operation: 1932 to 1925
Who Built It?: Alexander "Sandy" Smith
Base/Top/ Vertical Drop: Base: ~1000' / Top: ?? / Vertical: ?? (likely 250' - 300' ?)
Lifts: A portable rope tow with 1000 feet of rope.  A motor bolted to a toboggan operated a rope tow that pulled skiers to the top of the hill.
Facilities: 80 year old prospector Smith's nearby cabin.  Free coffee.
Miscellaneous: A 200 year grassy slope in Smith's front yard became the first real "ski hill" in Juneau.  Sandy Smith became the first president of the Juneau Ski Club when it formed in 1935.
Sources of Information:

Eaglecrest Ski Area web site , Juneau Empire/Mac Metcalfe - article, Bob Janes - Juneau Ski Club history information

Research Notes:

Excerpt from Eaglecrest Ski Area web site history page:

 

In the early 1930's rope tows were springing up all over the country, including Juneau . In 1932 a portable tow with 1,000 feet of quarter-inch rope was installed in the Upper Perseverance Trail area, on Alexander ( Sandy ) Smith's mining claim. There was a 200 yard grassy area in his front yard, which became the first real "ski hill" in Juneau . Skiers could be towed 500 feet up the slope for a great downhill run! Later, Sandy Smith was to become the first president of the Juneau Ski Club when it was formed in 1935.

 

Excerpt from a December 20, 2001 Juneau Empire article by Mac Metcalfe:

You would never guess by looking at it, but a muskeg- and tree-covered, windswept hill just above the junction of the Perseverance and Granite Creek trails is the birthplace of Eaglecrest, Juneau's recreational ski area. This hill was the site of Juneau's first mechanical ski operation in the early 1930s.

The "proprietor" of the ski site was an 80-year-old prospector named Alexander "Sandy" Smith. Smith lived in a cabin near the trail junction where skiers were invited in to warm up and sip coffee. Nearby, a motor bolted to a toboggan operated a rope tow that pulled skiers to the top of the hill.

Smith was working a mine near Granite Creek, said Tom Stewart, a retired Superior Court judge who has skied in Juneau since the early 1930s. After skiing down the hill, many skiers would continue down what was then Perseverance road, said Stewart, 82.

Photos: Does anyone have recent pictures of this site near the junction of the Perseverance and Granite Creek trails that they would like to contribute to ALSAP?

~  PHOTOS  ~

Here are two shots from the early 1900's that show the area around Perseverence Mine.  An aerial view of the mine is on the left.  A shot of the boarding houses for miners is on the right.

(click on these images to expand them)

[Photo credits: (left) Alaska State Library, (right) Alaska State Library]

ASL_Perseverence_1908_aerial.jpg (169299 bytes)

ASL_Perseverence_1920s_houses.jpg (147869 bytes)

~  MAPS  ~

The 1974 topo map to the right shows the general vicinity of where the Perseverance Rope Tow once existed (click on the map to expand it)

terra_perserverance.jpg (237241 bytes)

 

 

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