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Ski Bowl


Name of Ski Area: Ski Bowl, Fort Mears Ski Bowl
Location: On Unalaska Island, southeast of Dutch Harbor/ Unalaska at the end of the Ptarmigan Road.
Type of Area: Ski Hill
Dates of Operation: 1940's
Who Built It?: US Army
Base/Top/ Vertical Drop:

Base: ~????' / Top: ~????' / Vert: ~???' (still researching)

Lifts: Rope Tow
History: This rope tow was built during Word War II for ski troop training.  The U.S. Army had a base at Dutch Harbor called Fort Mears.  The soldiers from Fort Mears were the ones that built and first used this ski area.
Sources of Information:

Jim Dickson; Al Tavis

Photos: Does anyone have old pictures of skiing at the Ski Bowl (or current pictures of the vicinity) that they would like to contribute to ALSAP ?

~  PHOTOS  ~

AMHA_FortMears_1942_bombing.jpg (256702 bytes)

Left: The Fort Mears Ski Bowl was likely not the most relaxing place to ski in Alaska.  While skiing you might be scanning the sky for Japanese bombers.  Like the ones that hit Fort Mears in 1942.

Right: And the living conditions here could be quite stark.

(click on these photos to expand them)

[Photo Credits: Left - Anchorage Museum of History and Art, Right - Alaska State Library]


ASL_FortMears_1942_quonset.jpg (131760 bytes)

But the bombs, weather and living conditions couldn't stop those that needed to ski.  Here is a 1940's picture of Marion "Tiny" Thornton at Dutch Harbor.

(click on this photo to expand it)

[Photo Credit: Alaska State Library]

ASL_FortMears_1940s_Thornton.jpg (128243 bytes)  



The following two pictures were taken by Jim Dickson.  Jim is a skier that lives in Dutch Harbor/ Unalaska.  And Jim is also an excellent photographer who has a web page of amazing shots of the wild and beautiful skiing that can be found on the mountainous Unalaska Island.  Click here to see Jim's "Ski Unalaska" pictures.

skibowl.jpg (30742 bytes)

The top photo is looking up at the Ski Bowl area from the end of the Ptarmigan Road (2/27/04).

The picture to the right is of Jim on top of the Ski Bowl ridge on a perfect day in February (2/16/04).  Behind Jim you can see Pyramid Peak (left), ships anchored in Captains Bay and Makushin Volcano (right, in the far distance).

(click on either picture to expand them)


jim04.jpg (15050 bytes)

~  MAPS  ~

This map shows the location of Dutch Harbor / Unalaska on Unalaska Island (an island which is one of the Fox Islands and part of the Aleutian Islands.

(click on this map to expand it)

topo_unalaska_island.jpg (203480 bytes)

This topo map will be updated with the location of the Ski Bowl.  The exact location of the Ski Bowl is still being researched.

(click on this map to expand it)

topo_unalaska.jpg (196474 bytes)

This topo map will be updated with the location of the Ski Bowl.  The exact location of the Ski Bowl is still being researched.

(click on this map to expand it)

topo_zoom_skibowlunalaska.jpg (204107 bytes)


Link to Dutch Harbor / Unalaska's Other Lost Ski Area:

Pan Alasksa Ski Hill


Research Correspondence 

[Jim Dickson - November 04, 2004 email excerpt] 

Ski Bowl was a rope tow built during the WWII by the Army for ski troop training.  Our local museum may have some old military photos of the area in use in the 1940's.

[Al Tavis - 12 December 2007 letter and pictures sent to Tim Kelley] 

Unalaska January-February 1942     (picture age 11)


We arrived there in June of 1941, junior skis and boots arrived before winter to replace a bicycle I left behind.  I recall being the only one with conventional ski equipment, and practiced by myself in town and later on small hills near the cemetery northeast of town.

When the snow was deep enough I tried Haystack Hill behind town and joined by Aleut schoolmates on their homemade skis.  They were 6 inches wide, ski shaped, the bottoms were covered with fur seal skin, the fur streamlined downhill and dug in waling uphill almost like snowshoes.  They controlled downhill by leaning back on a stick.



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