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Stuckagain Heights Rope Tow

Early 1970's

Name of Ski Area: Stuckagain Heights Rope Tow, Basher Rope Tow
Location: Anchorage, at the end of Basher Road near the former Stuckagain Heights restaurant
Type of Area: Ski Hill
Dates of Operation: Early 1970's  (still researching)
Who Built It?: Don Conrad leased land from the Stuckagain Heights Restaurant, built this ski hill and operated it for one year.  For a few years afterwards it was operated by the neighbors of Basher.
Elevation:

~1000' / Vertical: ~200'

Lifts: 1 rope tow
Facilities: Stuckagain Heights restaurant (with its pool) was nearby.  At the top of the rope tow there was a small warm-up hut.  Later there was a large octagonal black metal kiosk / firepit and seating arrangement where skiers could warm-up.  After the first year of commercial operation, this became a free, neighborhood run ski hill.  The hill was lighted for night skiing.  Tubing was also popular here.
History:

Don Conrad built the Stuckagain Heights Rope Tow in the early 1970ís.  Don had come up from Utah and ran this little ski area for one year before he became the mountain manager at Alyeska.  In Utah Don had built and operated a couple of rope tows for the Timphaven Ski Area.  The Timphaven Ski Area was bought up by Robert Redford and became the Sundance Ski Area.  The year that Redford bought this ski area, and land surrounding it from a number of sheepherders, is the year that Don moved to Alaska.

Don leased a small strip of land from the Stuckagain Heights restaurant folks.  The ski hill was partially cleared, but he used the restaurantís cat to clear the rest.  Don welded the rope tow poles with car wheel rope guides.  The lift was powered by and old Lincoln car.  Two lights on lift poles allowed night skiing here.  A small warm-up hut was built at the top of the ski hill.  Don said that he had no recollection of the octagonal metal fire-pit, so that apparently came later when the neighborhood took over running the rope tow.

Don remembered that a number of Catholic nuns were regulars at the ski hill.  They would come up to ski, but they really liked to lie down on inner tubes and bomb the hill.

George "Joe" Hanson, a former Denali Ski Patrol senior, said that he used to ski patrol at the Stuckagain Heights rope tow when Don Conrad was running it.

Basher refers to a community on the eastern mountain outskirts of Anchorage.  During the early years of people living in this area, access was by a long tough dirt road, Basher Drive, and the neighbors that lived there were a very tight-knit group.  They had to be because of the remoteness of their enclave.  In recent decades Basher Road has been improved significantly (no doubt to the dismay of some of the old time residents).  As a result this neighborhood has grown considerably over the years and now is referred to as Stuckagain Heights.

The Stuckagain Heights restaurant, which used to have a bus with moose horns mounted on front to transport customers up from town, burned in the late 80's.  It was never rebuilt and eventually the land was sold for home development.  Nothing remains of this old ski hill and rope tow.

Sources of Information:

Jim MaHaffey, Rick Liotta, Bruce Talbot; Don Conrad; George "Joe" Hanson; Tim Kelley

Photos: Does anyone have pictures of skiing at the Stuckagain Heights Rope Tow that they would like to contribute to ALSAP ?

~  PHOTOS  ~
 
Remains of the ski area warm-up kiosk
2007 Photos by Tim Kelley
The metal roof of the kiosk is lies discarded above the Stuckagain Heights neighborhood. View of the kiosk "ceiling" Rooftop and chimney Kiosk chimney

~  MAPS and AERIAL VIEWS  ~

This 2002 aerial view of Anchorage shows where the Stuckagain Heights neighborhood is located.

(click on view to expand it)

 

terra_stuckagain.jpg (89173 bytes)

In the "old days", seen on this topo map of 1963, the end of Basher Drive was a very quiet place. The dwellings at the end of the road would have been Roger Cremo's homestead.

(click on map to expand it)

 

topo_1963_stuckagain.jpg (118816 bytes)

This 2002 aerial view shows how much the end of Basher Drive has developed in about the last 40 years.  The rope tow was located in the northeast corner of this neighborhood.

(click on this view to expand it)

terra_2002_growth_stuckagain.jpg (147214 bytes)

This aerial photo from 1996 shows the approximate location of the Stuckagain Heights rope tow.

(click on this view to expand it)

terra_1996_zoom_stuckagain.jpg (109400 bytes)

A zoomed in 2002 aerial photo shows the recent development in the area of Basher Drive.  Much has changed around the area of the old neighborhood rope tow. 

(click on this view to expand it)

terra_2002_zoom_stuckagain.jpg (119440 bytes)

 

 

Research Correspondence 

[Don Conrad & George "Joe" Hanson - 10 September 2006 phone conversations] 

Don Conrad built the Stuckagain Heights Rope Tow in the early 1970ís.  Don had come up from Utah and ran this little ski area for one year before he became the mountain manager at Alyeska.  In Utah Don had built and operated a couple of rope tows for the Timphaven Ski Area.  This ski area was bought up by Robert Redford and became the Sundance Ski Area.  The year that Redford bought this ski area, and land surrounding it from a number of sheepherders, is the year that Don moved to Alaska.

Don leased a small strip of land from the Stuckagain Heights restaurant folks.  The ski hill was partially cleared, but he used the restaurantís cat to clear the rest.  Don welded the rope tow poles with car wheel rope guides.  The lift was powered by and old Lincoln car.  Two lights on lift poles allowed night skiing here.  A small warm-up hut was built at the top of the ski hill.  Don said that he had no recollection of the octagonal metal fire-pit, so that apparently came later when the neighborhood took over running the rope tow.

Don remembered that a number of Catholic nuns were regulars at the ski hill.  They would come up to ski, but they really liked to lie down on inner tubes and bomb the hill.

Don mentioned that he went to Stuckagain Heights a few years ago and couldn't discern where the ski hill used to be as there had been massive changes in the area due to new development.

George "Joe" Hanson, a former Denali Ski Patrol senior, said that he used to ski patrol at the Stuckagain Heights rope tow when Don Conrad was running it.

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