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Martin's Mini Mountain

Early 1970's

Name of Ski Area: Martin's Mini Mountain; Ski Corner Rope Tow
Location: Ketchikan, near the last turnoff before the final road into Harriet Hunt Lake.  About 16 air miles north of Ketchikan, about 7 miles northeast of Ward Cove.
Type of Area: Ski Hill
Dates of Operation: Early 1970's (likely 1971-1973)
Who Built It?: James Martin of Ketchikan
Base/Vertical Drop:

Base: ~350' / Vertical: ~50-60'

Lifts: Rope Tow
Facilities: Unknown
History: During the early 1970's this small ski hill was very popular.  At times it could be crowded with a hundred skiers or more.
Sources of Information:

Gilbert Aegerter; Van Browne; James Martin


Does anyone have pictures of skiing at the Martin's Mini Mountain (or current pictures of the vicinity) that they would like to contribute to ALSAP ?

~  MAPS  ~

This large scale topo map shows the location of the Ski Corner Rope Tow relative to the City of Ketchikan.

(click on this map to expand it)

This zoomed in topo map shows the estimated location of the Ski Corner Rope Tow.

(click on this map to expand it)

Research Correspondence 

[Gilbert Aegerter - 04 November 2005 email excerpt] 

I grew up in Ketchikan and learned to ski there -- but not at the Harriet Hunt site.

The first skiing was done way, WAY back when on Deer Mountain above town.  When she was a girl my mom and her friends would go up there. There was a log cabin set on a shoulder of the mountain overlooking the town, and folks would go up there, ski and spend the night. Eventually the cabin burned down -- not sure exactly when, but it was well before the 60s. You can still see traces of the foundation, though, just off the Deer Mountain trail.

When I was in high school in the 70s, a group of dads led by a guy whose name I'll have to dredge up later, put together a rope tow at what became known as Ski Corner, which was at the last turnoff before the final road into Harriet Hunt Lake. I can't believe there was more than 50-60 feet of vertical, but man we thought we were in the big time! On a good weekend, there would be a couple hundred people there! so it was extremely crowded.  People would be sledding on the road -- there was a long hill just before Ski Corner -- and snowmobilers would tow skiers back into Harriet Hunt Lake on long tow ropes. You didn't want to fall off halfway in deep snow!

The best year at Ski Corner was probably 72-73 -- just perfect snow and weather that year. Unfortunately, I broke my leg that February there going off a jump.

After that there was considerable pressure to provide a little safer area. The Ketchikan Ski Club moved the tow engine all the way out to Harriet Hunt and tried to set up a tow rope out there. I never skied in Ketchikan again -- college intervened. I think the area operated extremely fitfully in the late 70s, and I'm not sure which year it finally went kaput.

You might get more info from the Tongass Historical Museum in Ketchikan.

[Gilbert Aegerter - 06 November 2005 email excerpt] 

Here are some names for you.

Jim Martin: He was an Alaska Airlines mechanic who was instrumental in setting up the Ski Corner rope tow. I'm not sure if he got any money from the Ketchikan Ski Club to help with that, but he was the brains and much of the brawn for it.

Ed Browne, Mac Doiron: They were log scalers who had a hand in setting up the rope tow in the Harriet Hunt Lake ski area. I'm not sure if they were primary people, but they were involved.

Tim, you have the Ski Corner location nailed. Partway up the road to Harriet Hunt Lake you'll see a couple of ponds on the right. When the weather was right -- hard freeze without snow to cover the ponds -- we would skate up there. Also, when Harriet Hunt Lake itself was frozen over, the snowmobilers would pull us on skis across that huge expanse of ice. Those were the days.

[James Martin - 01 February 2014 email] 

Hi, Just happened to run across this article about Harriet Hunt ski area.

Don't know if there is still interest in this but would like to make a few corrections to the bit about the area known as Four Corners but most properly named by me the builder and sole operator as  Martin's Mini Mountain.

First of all the names mentioned Had absolutely no part in this. It was my sole effort with some periodic assistance in labor from some friends and co workers.

Fighting the Forest Service all the way , I personally cleared the slope , built the tow powered by a twelve HP  Briggs  motor from Sears.

The tow used a 600 foot line which produced a lift of 300 ft. A 17-1 reduction gear box was donated by a fellow employee of Ellis airlines.

In addition to running the rope tow almost daily all winter I worked nights for the airline and sometimes on weekends  took skiiers on  helicopter trips to 

Blue Lake back of Deer mountain. Ken Eichner of Temsco gave me a special rate for helicopter time.  Judge Keene became a special friend and supporter and learned to ski at my little ski area.  As did several Drs. and dentists.

When I left  Ketchikan in 1973 I gave the lift and all the equipment to the ski club.  Malcom Doiron was a supportive friend.  Ed Browne and Norma  Jones from the ski club were always trying to take credit- Norma Jones even giving a ski report on the radio. They had absolutely no part in the building or operation.

Would be happy to provide any additional info- just to set the record straight.

Jim Martin    Formerly of Ketchikan and Anchorage and now residing in Lexington Ky.

[James Martin - 02 February 2014 email] 

Tim, I'm bad on dates, I was so busy at that time that I really can't say even how many years with any certainty.  I think  71 and 72  were the most fulltime years. Left Ketchikan to  move to Anchorage when the airport opened on Gravina.

I did all the ski thing during the day and worked nights at Ellis Airlines, where I was Lead mechanic.  I had a great deal of opposition from the Forest Service
 and the so called ski club members - Norma Green and  Ed Brown. I mustered enough public support to keep operating.  Forest Service sent a guy out every day to sit in his pickup and watch while the tow was running.
That whole period I hardly ever had time to eat and so it's hard for me to have someone else get credit.  There was never a fee charge for use, although I did take small contributions and for ski classes I taught.

When I left I gave the tow and equipment to Dr.Stevens to use for the ski club at Harriet Hunt where they had started a building.  I personally  scouted the original area of open muskegs by coming over the ridge from the highway before the Harriet Hunt road was open.

But anyway- if there ever was a one man operation- this was it. I had lots of support but little help. And also- BTW - because of parking a hundred  people skiing in one day was probably a max number. There were lots of newspaper stories of that whole period.

I also, with a few friends formed SEAMA   - the mountain climbing club  during that same period.  Also, George and Roy Tanino were great supporters along with Malcolm and his wife. Also Judge Keene.

Thanks for the reply- was surprised after all this time to run across your website.

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