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The Latest Updates on ALSAP - 2005

ALSAP Update Log 2005 (entries by Tim Kelley)

 

December 28, 2005

Ralph Omholt just completed a "mini-book" of his memories of life as a kid in Curry, Alaska.  A link to his 'Curry, Alaska, 1955-1958 - A Strange Moment in Time' memoirs is on the Curry web page.  Our you can access the web pages of his story directly by clicking here.  Thanks again Ralph, may the memories of Curry endure !!!

December 20, 2005

When John Estle came to Fairbanks in 1982 to be the ski coach at UAF, one of his job duties was to hire a rope tow operator for the UAF Ski Hill.  John thinks that season 82/83 was the last season the rope tow ran.  Thanks for helping date this ski tow John !

December 19, 2005

Ralph Omholt documented his childhood memories of living at Curry from 1955 to 1958.  His parents moved to Curry from Whittier and ran the Curry Hotel up until the fire that razed the hotel in 1957.  A link to his 'Remembering Curry, Alaska' memoirs is on the Curry web page.  Our you can access the web page of his story by clicking here.  Thank you very much Ralph for sharing this great story of life and skiing at Curry !!!

December 18, 2005

This last week Dave Brann and I met with Harvey Turner, a downhill, jump and cross country skier since the late 1940's.  And a great guy.  Harvey let us duplicate many of his historical Alaskan skiing pictures.  You can see Harvey's pictures now on the Chena Ridge Jump, Cleary Summit, Arctic Valley and UAF Ski Hill web pages.  We sure appreciate you sharing these pictures with us Harvey, and it was great to meet you !!

December 17, 2005

Bevinne McCann Morse, the daughter of Cleary Summit's developer and operator Bob McCann, contacted us with lots of great recollections, details and pictures of this lost ski area to the northeast of Fairbanks.  Also added some comments and pictures of Bevinne's to the Ullrhaven and Douglas Ski Bowl web pages.  An immense thanks to Bevinne for contacting us !!!

December 15, 2005

The floodgates of information were opened today for the Manitoba Ski Area.  Seth DePasqual, an archaeologist with the Chugach National Forest, interviewed Seward skiing pioneer Oscar Watsjold about this ski area.  At the same time I talked to Theresa Zimmerman who graciously allowed me to post the only known pictures of the Glacier Ski Lodge.  Theresa also gave me the name of Oliver Amend to contact in Hawaii.  Seth interviewed Oliver and now all of this good stuff is on the Manitoba web page.  Thanks Theresa, Oscar and Oliver !!  And thanks to Seth - you CNF Forest Service archaeologists are a LOT of fun to work with !!!!

December 14, 2005

Kate Wattum, of the Wattum/ Hanks family that once ran the Independence Mine Ski Resort, remembers many trips up the hairy road to the mine with her family to ready it for weekend skiers.  Kate recounts how on Christmas Eve 1971 her family's van skidded off the road and rolled down into a streambed.  A must read!  Thanks a lot Kate for sharing this with us !!

December 11, 2005

Made many updates and added a large amount of new information to the Divide Ski Area web page.  Again, this new information is courtesy of old (1939) CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) documents that were archived by the Chugach National Forest Heritage Department.  And again ... thanks a whole lot to CNF archaeologists Linda Yarborough and Lesli Schick for giving me access to this information !!!

December 10, 2005

Made extensive additions and refinements to the Peters Creek Ski Area web page.  A lot of information was found in old (1939) CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) documents that were archived by the Chugach National Forest Heritage Department.  Thanks a whole lot to CNF archaeologists Linda Yarborough and Lesli Schick for connecting me to this information !!!

 

Also, got a great submission about skiing at Eielson AFB back in the 1950's by a pioneer and influential skier from that base.  Thanks a lot to Bill McBeth!

December 09, 2005

Today Mike Kelly emailed us.  He remembers skiing a lot on the Fire Island ski hill back in 1961 when he was stationed there.  In 1961 they would hike back up the hill because the lift had not been made yet.  Thanks Mike !

December 08, 2005

Ralph Omholt contacted us.  Ralph lived in Curry from 1955 to 1958.  His father was leasing the Curry Hotel from the Alaska Railroad during those years.  The tragic fire that razed the hotel occurred while Ralph was in Curry (1957).  Ralph remembers skiing the Curry Ski Hill before the hotel fire, when he was 8 years old.  He said that the rope tow was not operating at the time (and had not been operation for some years prior), and that most of the hill was grown over with brush.  Ralph's father had plans to reopen the ski hill.  But the fire and loss of the hotel made these plans mute.  Thanks for the old Curry ski stories Ralph !

 

Also, added a web page for a unique lost ski facility in Fairbanks ... the Chena River Ski Slide.  Thanks to Dave Brann for unearthing this info !

December 04, 2005

Added a web page for the Birch Hill Ski Jump in Fairbanks.  There is documentation, and a short movie, of ski jumping at Birch Hill in the 1930's.  There is a link from this new web page to a VILDA web page where this short (52 second) movie from the 30's can be accessed and played if you have Quicktime on your PC (you likely already have this program if you are using a Mac).  Thanks to Dave Brann for help on this lost jump site's history!

 

Also - added comments about trail history from John McCleary of the Municipality of Anchorage, Parks and Recreation Department to the Centennial Park and Muldoon Park web pages.  Thanks John !!

November 23, 2005

Larry Freeman of Fairbanks sent an email to say that he remembers the UAF Ski Hill rope tow being in place, and likely used, during the 1982/83 season.  This corrects our original late 1970's end date for this lost skiing site.  Thanks for the info Larry !!

November 22, 2005

Seth DePasqual, an archaeologist with the Chugach National Forest, contacted us with some new information about the Manitoba Rope Tow on the Kenai Peninsula.  In the CNF archives Seth found a Special Use Permit card once issued to a Gentry W. Shuster for a "ski hut and tow" 50 miles north of Seward.  The SUP card showed this area was continually in use from 1942 to 1959.  Thanks for this great info Seth !!

 

Doug Braddock of Fairbanks contacted us today to say that he has fond memories of skiing at Ski Boot Hill.  Doug said that he skied there in 1984 - that's a later date for this ski area than we had on ALSAP.  So thanks Doug for helping us get the history right for this neat little lost ski area in Fairbanks !!

November 20, 2005

Added a web page for the often proposed Hatcher Pass ski area at Government Peak.  Also, removed the proposed Byers Lake ski area from the list.  It seems that there is no validation that this ski area was once proposed.  Perhaps someone was confusing Byers Lake with the relatively nearby Tokositna proposed ski area.

November 19, 2005

An ALSAP mystery was recently solved.  We had a hunch that the Air Force provided skis for servicemen to use at the Kotzebue AFS, but we had no proof that folks once skied there.  Tim Peters contacted us saying that he was stationed there in 1971-72 and used military skis to venture out onto the tundra.  He said it wasn't the most fun skiing, because of frigid temps, darkness and rough skiing surfaces.  But we say - thanks a lot Tim for contacting us, and solving a lost Alaskan skiing mystery !!

November 18, 2005

This was surprising.  A new Alaskan lost ski area recently showed up ... in the middle of Anchorage, the state's biggest city!  The 80 acre Muldoon Park in East Anchorage once had a 4 kilometer ski trail in the mid-1970's.  Though bits of this trail are used for other purposes today, no ski trail loop with groomed ski tracks exists here today.

November 16, 2005

Today I learned from a Cold War veteran of Alaskan Nike missile sites that the booster section of Nike missiles reached 45,000 feet before they plummeted back to earth.  I added this fact to the  Arctic Valley Ski Bowl  web page.  I've got to say ... if I were skiing at Arctic Valley back in 1960 and got hit on the head by a 1000 pound piece of missile fragment that had just fallen 45,000 feet ... I would definitely ask for a refund on my lift ticket !!

November 15, 2005

In the early 1960's there were scheduled closings of  the Arctic Valley Ski Bowl because of test firings from the nearby Site Summit Nike Hercules missile battery.  After you take a look at the pictures I recently took and posted of first stage booster segments of missiles, that fell many thousands of feet and crashed to earth near the ski area, you will understand why the Army didn't want anyone skiing while they were shooting off these rockets !!

November 13, 2005

Added site photos of the remains of the Arctic Valley Ski Jump.  Also, added a 1975 trail map to the Centennial Park web page and a couple of recent photos to the Moose Run Golf Course web page.

November 12, 2005

Today I removed 2 ski areas from the ALSAP list.  The first was the Grandview Rope Tow.  No concrete evidence that his ski area every actually existed has been found.  There was a proposed ski area at this site (1980's) which could have caused some confusion.  There is also the fact that the Alaska Railroad has two ski trains - one to Curry and one to Grandview.  Curry once had a rope tow, so that could also be a source of confusion with Grandview.  So for now - we are saying this ski area never existed.  But we would love to be proved wrong.

 

The 2nd area taken off the list was not counted in the ALSAP lost ski area totals because it was supposedly a proposed ski area - at Thompson Pass.  There was a rope tow at Thompson Pass, so maybe this is where this rumor started?  Anyway, this proposed site is off the list.  No problem putting it back on the list - if someone is in the know about this ski area that may have once been proposed.

 

Also - added a few recent site photos to the Russian Jack Springs web page.

November 10, 2005

Added vintage archive photos to Attu, Arctic Valley and Fort Richardson Biathlon web pages.

November 09, 2005

Today Ronn Randall of the Municipality of Anchorage let me into the Rope Tow Room at the Russian Jack Springs Chalet to  photo-document the now unused rope tow power plant (and ski area signs).  Thanks a lot for this opportunity Ron !!

November 08, 2005

Corrected the map location of the Thompson Pass Rope Tow site.  Thanks again to Pete Bellezza !

November 06, 2005

More updates to Ketchikan's Ski Corner Rope Tow and the Harriet Hunt Ski Area.  Thanks again to Gil Aegerter !!

November 05, 2005

Chalk up another lost Alaskan ski area - courtesy of Gilbert Aegerter of Seattle.  Gil grew up in Ketchikan and learned to ski at the Ski Corner Rope Tow in the 1970's.  This small ski hill preceded the Harriet Hunt Ski Area.  Thanks a lot Gil for this great piece of Alaskan ski history !!

November 1, 2005

Added a web page for the Thompson Pass Rope Tow, a lost ski area near Valdez from the 70's and early 80's.  Thanks again to Pete Bellezza and Chris Mishmash for information about this site !!

 

Also - Jim Renkert informed ALSAP that there was once a ski jump at Arctic Valley.   Jim let us know where it was located and that the inrun and outrun can be seen, even though this area is overgrown.  Thanks a lot for this info Jim !!

October 29, 2005

On my way back from cross country skiing at Independence Mine area today I stopped at the site of the Little Susitna Roadhouse Ski Hill.  I found remains of the old rope tow and took a bunch of pictures that are now on this web page.

October 28, 2005

Unbelievable!  Another lost ski area showed up today.  Pete Bellezza remembers skiing at the Thompson Pass Rope Tow in 1982.  We didn't know that this site once existed, and I will be making a web page for this site soon.  This rope tow was later moved to the Salmonberry Ski Hill near Valdez.  Thank you very much Pete for sharing this great piece of Alaskan skiing history !!!

October 25, 2005

If you need a lift ticket or season pass for the Independence Mine Ski Resort - you will find them on the web page for this lost ski area.  Daryl Haggstrom sent in digital scans of a lift ticket and a season pass - from 1970.  Thanks a lot Daryl !!

October 19, 2005

A brief phone conversation with Erik Christianson of Ketchikan dug up a bit more information about the Harriet Hunt Ski Area.  Thanks Erik !

October 18, 2005

Added a web page for the proposed Tokositna Ski Area.  In 1979 development of this large ski area in Denali State Park at the base of the Alaska Range was studied.  Thanks to Bruce Talbot of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources for providing this information !

October 17, 2005

Placed more pictures from Don Carson on the Cleary Summit web page.  Thanks again Don !!

 

Added a new map to the Fort Richardson Biathlon Training Center web page.

October 15, 2005

Jim and Dan Rogers used to live next to the Paradise Valley Rope Tow and they skied there when they were kids.  Jim and Dan sent some corrections about this lost ski area's web page.  And I added a recent site picture.  Thanks for your help Jim and Dan !!

 

Also - added two great pictures that Don Carson sent of him skiing in the mid-1950's at Cleary Summit.  Thanks a lot Don !!

October 14, 2005

More Fairbanks areas updates based on the 1982 Alaska Department of Natural Resources "Analysis of Ski Potential in the Fairbanks Area" study.  Added a new web page for once proposed Fairbanks area ski sites: Wickersham Dome and Chena Sunny Site.  Updated: Cleary Summit, Ullrhaven, Murphy Dome AFS and Chena Hot Springs web pages.

October 13, 2005

Updated the Ski Boot Hill web page with some content from the 1982 study "Analysis of Ski Potential in the Fairbanks Area" by the State of Alaska, Department of Natural Resources.  More information from this study of proposed Fairbanks area ski areas will be posted on ALSAP soon.

October 10, 2005

In 1982 and 1986 studies by the Chugach National Forest identified 10 locations, mostly on the Kenai Peninsula, as potential downhill ski area sites.  Thanks again to Bruce Talbot of the Alaska DNR for preserving and sharing this interesting bit of Alaskan skiing history with us !

 

ALSAP turns one year old today !!  Thanks to the many people that have shared Alaskan skiing history information with us.  Because of you this web project has far exceeded all expectations.  A huge amount of Alaska skiing history is now unearthed, available to all, and will be appreciated by many throughout the world for years to come.  Here's to a great year's journey !  And may the years to come for ALSAP be as good !

October 9, 2005

Added recent site photos of the Summit Lake Rope Tow.  While at the site I found remains of the rope tow return apparatus at the base of the ski hill (deep in the bushes).

October 1, 2005

In 1987 a study by the Alaska Department of Natural Resources identified 10 locations in the Chugach State Park as potential downhill ski area sites.  Thanks a lot to Bruce Talbot of the Alaska DNR for bringing this very interesting bit of Alaskan skiing history to us !

September 23, 2005

I got our first vintage picture of Romig Hill posted on ALSAP today - a nice shot from 1963.  Thanks to Jim Renkert for the tip on this picture's existence.  And thanks to Kathleen Hertel, the Director of the Museum Library and Archives at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art, for allowing us to use this image !

 

Thanks also to Kathleen for locating a good 1954 shot from Homer of the Kachemak Ski Club's first rope tow.

 

And finally, by using the Fairbanks North Star Borough GIS web site I was able to locate where the Lincoln Creek Subdivision is.  I put a web page up for this lost cross country skiing site that was used briefly during the early 1980's.

September 13, 2005

It looks like we will soon be losing a lost ski area!  The Fort Richardson Biathlon Refurbishment Project is underway ... and before long the biathlon range and trails at this site will be resurrected and in use again.  There are a couple of new pictures on this lost ski area's web page ... more to come.

September 4, 2005

Leonard Fancher contacted ALSAP to say that he is pretty sure where the CCC 'Ski Road' Ski Area was once located in Chugiak.  That's good news, because I don't know exactly where the old ski area was.  Hopefully I can coordinate a site visit with Leonard soon.  Thanks for your help Leonard !!

 

Also - put some recent site pictures that I took ... on the Arctic Valley web page.

August 29, 2005

A bit of the Mosquito Lake Ski Hill mystery has been solved.  We now know where this old ski area near Haines was situated and what the likely origins of the ski area were.  Thanks to Tom Lawson for this information !!

August 23, 2005

Johnie Morris, a cat skinner (bulldozer operator) at the Tatalina AFS in 1966-1967, remembers clearing brush from the Tatalina Ski Hill with his dozer.  He also remembers "grooming" the ski slopes by back-dragging the snow with a bulldozer blade.  Johnie sent a bunch of great Tatalina stories and pictures.  Thanks a lot Johnie !!

August 21, 2005

Put a new version of the ALSAP Interactive Map on the website.  This version has some new features that make navigation a bit easier.

August 12, 2005

Today I added a major feature to ALSAP.org.  This site now has an Interactive Map that shows the locations of all Alaskan lost ski areas.  From the main ALSAP page you can get to the map by clicking the Interactive Map icon in the upper left corner.  By clicking the ski site markers on the map you can get more information on the site and pull up the web page for a particular site.  If a number of sites are clustered together, the map will first zoom in so the sites will scatter enough so you can select them individually.

 

I developed this map application using Google's new mapping API.  Merging ALSAP data with Google's map database is what is called a "mash-up" in techie jargon.  This ALSAP interactive map is still a work in progress - I will continue to adjust the data points and tweak the code behind the map.

August 3, 2005

An email from Bob Rich in Connecticut provided a link to his blog on Adak, now on the Adak Ski Hill web page.  Bob was stationed there in 1973-1974 as a telephone line repairman for the U.S. Navy.  His blog, a collection of memories and pictures from Adak, has some great, and wild, stories about life on Adak back then.  Bob remembers the quonset hut ski cabin - the site of some very wild parties!  Thanks for sharing your stories with us Bob!

August 2, 2005

We now know a lot more about the Old Hilltop Ski Area in Anchorage thanks to Doug Ruppert.  Doug spent a lot of time skiing at this neighborhood ski hill as a kid (and burned up a lot of gloves on the rope tow in the process).  Doug showed, on an aerial photo, where the lift and jump were located.  And he gave us a good deal of history on this lost ski area.  Thanks a lot Doug !!

August 1, 2005

Michael Forrester contacted us to say that he was stationed at Fire Island from 1962 to 1967 and remembers the ski area there.  Michael has recently written and had published a book entitled: Tsuchino: My Japanese War Bride.  In his book Michael has a chapter about life in Alaska and at Fire Island.  A web site about the book can be found at: www.tsuchino.com.  Thanks for contacting us Michael!

July 21, 2005

Today we got some sad news - Anchorage historian John Bagoy died yesterday at the age of 83.  John was a driven local historian and Anchorage benefited greatly from his work at preserving history from the early years of this city.  I was lucky to talk to John last year, he gave me first-hand information about the Kjosen Hill Ski Jump.  Together with Evard Kjosen and his Norwegian pals, John helped build this jump and flew with the Norwegians off of it.  Anchorage will miss you John.  Who nows ... maybe in the years to come, while skiing the Chester Creek Trail near I Street, skiers will be startled by the sound of a loud "Thwump"!  The unmistakable sound of hickory landing on packed snow.  And we will know that you, Edvard and fellow old-time Anchorage "Yumpers" are back together again.

July 17, 2005

Apparently while the Soldota Ski Hill  was in operation, cross country ski races would be held on the neighboring Kenai National Wildlife Refuge headquarters ski trails.  These trails are still used, but racing in the area is now done at the Skyview High School ski trails.  Gloria Thiele remembered racing for UAA in 1971 on these trails.  Thanks for the info Gloria!

July 16, 2005

On the Cape Newnham AFS web page I put an article sent in by Morris Carter that shows what conditions could be like at this radar station.  The article recounts when violent, hurricane force winds battered Cape Newnham on September 11, 1955, when Morris was there.  This wind storm killed two men and left 10 others injured.  Thanks for sending us the article Morris !

July 13, 2005

Don Chaffin provided a great story about mixing "skiing" and mosquitoes at the Indian Mountain AFS in June of 1982.  Thanks for sharing this wild Alaskan story Don!

July 12, 2005

The Cape Newenham MSN Group let ALSAP show the 1956 Indoctrination Pamphlet on our Cape Newnham AFS web page.  This document indicates that skiing was a recreation option to troops stationed there.  Thanks again to the nice folks of the Cape Newenham MSN Group - check out their great pictures and history of this Cold War AC&W site at: http://www.msnusers.com/capenewenham

July 8, 2005

Chock up another lost ski area in Alaska ... found!  Thanks to the coordinating efforts of Dale Williams - a couple of his fellow Cape Newnham AFS veterans provided details of skiing at this very remote Cold War radar site.  Morris Carter let ALSAP use his photos of skiing there in 1954.  And Scott Turney provided a harrowing story of a close call with an avalanche while skiing at Cape Newenham.  Dale, Morris and Scott ... thank you VERY MUCH for your help in preserving this unique bit of Alaskan skiing history!!

July 7, 2005

Dick Estep let us know that dogs were often recruited to ride down in the lap of kamikaze sledders at Sparrevohn AFS.  Dick - thanks for the info, and a belated thanks from the radar site dogs of days gone by for the extra excitement you guys provided them!

July 6, 2005

Tony Hartt contacted ALSAP to say that he remembers skiing at Fire Island AFS in 1957.  Back then, before the ski area was built in 1965, they skied on the "POL Line", a 300 yard "Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants" fuel line clearing from the main complex to the motor pool.  This information predates the earliest account of skiing at Fire Island by 8 years!  Thanks a lot for this information Tony !

July 5, 2005

Ron Nigg, was also stationed at the Tatalina Air Force Station in 1963-64.  He remembers that sledding there involved guns - because the sledding route went past the dumpsters that bears frequented!  Thanks again for sharing these stories Ron !

 

Don Bidwell sent an email that confirming that cross country skiing was once done at the Campion AFS radar station when it was in operation.  Thanks Don  !

July 4, 2005

Ron Nigg, who was stationed at the Indian Mountain AFS top camp in 1972-1973, sent some good stories about life at this remote radar station.  Though these stories are not about skiing, they give the reader an idea about how brutal the weather could quickly turn against the men in the outdoors at these sites.  Thanks for sharing these stories Ron !

July 3, 2005

Recently I was perusing the Alaska Virtual Library and Digital Archives site (vilda.alaska.edu) and noticed a 1913 picture of Fort Liscum near Valdez that showed SKI TRACKS in the snow.  This is further evidence that skiing was a way of life for the turn of the century soldiers at pioneer forts in the Territory of Alaska.  You can see the picture, with a link to its VILDA origin, on the Fort Liscum web page.

June 30, 2005

Virginia Kirk of the Chugiak / Eagle River Historical Society contacted ALSAP with information about the Eagle River Rope Tow that was once behind Tips Bar.  Virginia recently talked to a Tom Take who said he skied at this small ski hill in 1953 or 1954.  Thanks to Virginia and Tom for filling in some of the missing information on this old ski area !!

June 24, 2005

Added a 1955 picture of Grace and Bob Thompson to the Arctic Valley web page.  This summer is the 50th anniversary of Bob's untimely death at Arctic Valley, the ski area of which he was one of the founders.  Thanks to Jim Renkert of the Anchorage Ski Club for this picture.

June 20, 2005

Added more great pictures (1944-1946) and content to the Attu Ski Hill web page.  Thanks again to Dick Goldberg !!

June 19, 2005

Added a GREAT picture from 1944 of soldiers splicing the tow rope at Massacre Bay on Attu Island in the remote Aleutian Islands of Alaska.  An immense thanks goes out to Dick Goldberg for sending ALSAP this very rare and unique picture ! !

June 11, 2005

Added 3 site pictures taken at the Gunsight Mountain lost ski area.  Thanks to Dave Brann for the pictures ! !

 

The Gunsight Mountain ski area is high on the list of the ALSAP Mysteries.  Basically, we know nothing about this ski area.  Who built it?  When was it in operation?  Any stories about it?  Hopefully we will find answers to these questions, and the history of this old ski area won't be lost forever.

June 02, 2005

Added 4 more Summit Lake Lodge Rope Tow pictures.  Thanks again to Dave Brann ! 

May 31, 2005

Added some great photos that Dave Brann recently took of the remains of the Summit Lake Lodge Rope Tow.  Besides pictures of the tow remains, Dave was able to take a picture of the old ski area poster in Marty Amoldy's office at the Summit Lake Lodge.  The poster advertises $40.00 season passes.  Amazing - that's the cost (or even a bit less) than one DAY of skiing these days.   Thanks to Dave for making the trip to Summit Lake and getting these great pictures !

May 21, 2005

This week Jim Renkert, Tammy Thiele and I (Tim Kelley) visited Bob Reeves, Director of the Atwood Foundation, at his office at the Atwood Estate.  Bob gave us a bunch of information, and great stories, that helped fill in gaps of missing history for the Forest Park Rope Tow.  We also took a walk around the Atwood Estate to try and figure out where the rope tow once existed.  With Bob's info I rewrote much of the Forest Park Rope Tow web page.  Thanks to Bob Reeves for taking the time to visit with us, we all enjoyed talking to you!  And thanks to Jim, Tammy ... and to Jeff Clarke of the Rasmuson Foundation.

May 20, 2005

In 1955 a tragic fuel-truck accident on the slopes of Arctic Valley took the life of one of this ski area's founders - Robert Thompson.  Recently Jim Renkert, Stuart Grenier and myself (Tim Kelley) located the remains of this truck and photographed it for record on this site.

May 19, 2005

Phillip Ruminski sent us an email about skiing the lower slope and trail served by the old poma lift at Arctic Valley back in the late 60's/ early70's.  Phillip said the name of the slope was "B-29" and it was steep (we agree)!  Thanks for the info Phillip!

May 18, 2005

Added a 1950 picture of skiers at the top of the  Douglas Ski Bowl near Juneau.  Thanks to Liz and Merritt Mitchell for the picture, and to Bob Janes for providing detailed information about it !

May 13, 2005

Added more Mitchell shots of ski jumping in 1950 to the City Ski Bowl web page.  Some of the pictures show that there was actually a second, smaller jump at this site.  Thanks again to Liz and Meritt Mitchell for sharing these pictures with ALSAP!!

 

Also - added pictures from a trip to the Arctic Valley ski area where we searched for remains of the (almost) forgotten poma lift that once served the slopes BELOW the site of the military ski lodge.  Thanks to Jim Renkert and Stuart Grenier for spearheading this successful research trip !!

Apr 24, 2005

Added several shots from a last 40's/ early 50's ski outing to Ester Dome, where the Ullrhaven ski area was then located.  Also - added some good shots from the same era to the Cleary Summit web page.  Thanks to Liz and Meritt Mitchell for sharing these pictures with ALSAP!!

Apr 23, 2005

Added stills from a 1935 16mm Juneau Ski Club archive film by the late Trevor Davis.  This film covered a downhill ski race on the Dan Moller Ski Trail and a ski jumping competition at the West Juneau Jump Hill site.  A big thanks for all the effort undertaken by Bob Janes to coordinate the creation of these ski film stills !!  Your efforts will be appreciated by many!

Apr 20, 2005

Added new information to the Ptarmigan Valley Ski Area web page, thanks to an email from a guy that had a lot of fun skiing there when he was a kid.  Thank you Mike Jonrowe !

Apr 11, 2005

Added two new lost ski sites today.  Martin Buser contacted ALSAP to say that his family ski tow north of Big Lake is not getting any use these days.  So that makes the Martin Buser Family Rope Tow the most recently lost ski area in Alaska.  Thanks for the information Martin !

 

The community of Paxson is who Martin purchased the rope tow from.  Thanks to former Paxson resident Amy Rhodes for information on the history of the Paxson Rope Tow - this was a project of her sisters'.

Apr 09, 2005

Added recent on-site photos, taken by me (Tim Kelley), to the Mount McKinley Army Recreation Camp and  Curry Ski Hill web pages.

 

Added several 1950s vintage alpine skiing pictures to the UAF Ski Hill/Skarland Jump web page, thanks to Liz and Merritt Mitchell.

Mar 23, 2005

Further communication with Jane Bryant clarified the fact that there were 3 ski hills at the Mount McKinley Army Recreation Camp, but only two rope tows.  In the spring, when snow had melted around the hotel and the McKinley Park Road was opened to the 6 mile point, the small hill rope tow would be moved from the hotel area out to 6 Mile - for higher elevation spring skiing operations.  Thanks for this information Jane !

Mar 19, 2005

Jane Bryant, the Cultural Anthropologist at the Denali National Park and Preserve, researched the Park archives and provided ALSAP with digitized images of old photos from the 3 ski hills at the Mount McKinley Army Recreation Camp.  This is an amazing collection of historical shots from these lost ski areas.   Jane, we at ALSAP, and the readers of this web site, owe you big time for this!  Thank you very, very much !!

Mar 18, 2005

Norm Odsather sent ALSAP a great account of life on Fire Island as a kid.  His father kept him off the main ski and sledding hill in the name of safety!  Norm also sent a bunch of 1970 pictures from a place and time that must have been a wonderful adventure for a youngster.  Thanks for sharing this Norm !!

Mar 16, 2005

John Borg, who was stationed at the Murphy Dome AFS from May 1966 to May 1967, sent some pictures of Air Force airmen being "air" men on skis.  Thanks for the great pictures John !!

Mar 15, 2005

Added a tale from Scott Banks about how blood shed from a machete wound was involved in the building of the Girdwood 1969 Jr. National X-C Ski Trail.  Thanks a lot for the story Scott !!

 

Added a Merritt and Liz Mitchell picture that Dave Brann digitized.  This is the best shot so far on ALSAP that shows the massive spiked-log construction that went into the City Ski Bowl jump in run and raised out-run.  Thanks again to Merritt, Liz and Dave !!

 

Added what may be the oldest known picture of skiing (Russell Dow's ski tracks actually) at Independence Mine (note: it's the last picture near the bottom of this web page).  This 1939 picture that Russell took was recently digitized by the UAA Archives and Manuscripts Department.

Mar 14, 2005

Added four Russell Dow pictures from 1939, that are now on ViLDA - Alaska's Virtual Library and Digital Archives site, of the rope tow and inn at Fishhook near Hatcher Pass.  See the Fishhook Creek Ski Hill web page.

Mar 09, 2005

Updated the Wendler Jr. High / Alaska Community College Ski Trail web page with a detailed trail map, a history document and news articles about this lost ski trail.  All of this new information is courtesy of Edmund Schuster.  Thank you very much Edmund !!

Mar 08, 2005

Added more to the ALSAP Mysteries web page.  Hopefully someday these pieces of Alaska's skiing history puzzle will be found.

Mar 07, 2005

Added an ALSAP Mysteries web page to this site.  On this web page I will list pieces of lost Alaska ski site information that we are missing.  All are invited and encouraged to research and sleuth this missing Alaskan ski history.  And become ALSAP heros!

Mar 06, 2005

Added a web page for the Hoonah Rope Tow in Southeast Alaska.  Bob Janes is still researching this site, but he was able to supply some information.  Thanks Bob !

Mar 05, 2005

Added three new 1950 jumping pictures to the City Ski Bowl web page.  Thanks again to Merritt and Liz Mitchell !!

 

Also - added a web page for a lost ski trail on Douglas Island - the Juneau Lions Club Cropley Lake Trail.  This lost ski area brought to you, once again, by Mr. Bob Janes ... thank you Bob !!

Mar 04, 2005

Added web pages for the Juneau Evergreen Bowl ski area and the Douglas Gastineau Meadows Ski Trails.  Also, updated the Douglas Ski Bowl web page with information about the cross country ski trails that were once cut and groomed there.  All of this information is courtesy of Bob Janes.  Thanks again Bob  !!

Mar 03, 2005

Made updates to the West Juneau Jump Hill web page based in information received from Bob Janes.  Now we know where the jump was located!

Mar 02, 2005

Began updating Juneau / Douglas Island lost ski areas with edits and new information from Bob Janes.  Modified the following web pages: Dan Moller Trail, 1st and 2nd Meadows , Douglas Ski Bowl and Kaw-wah-ee Ski Area.  Much more Juneau area changes are on the way thanks to all the input and help from Bob.

 

Added recent pictures of the north ridge ski route on Mount Susitna.

Feb 24, 2005

More updates were made to the Fort Greely web page.  Information on the old Fort Greely ski sites was added thanks to an enjoyable phone conversion with Hank Dube.  And Judy Ferguson scanned a number of Hank's photos which he and she allowed to be used on ALSAP.  Thanks a whole lot to Hank and Judy !!

Feb 23, 2005

Dave Brann got permission from the University of Washington today to use a very special ski history picture on ALSAP.  It is a picture of the start of the FIRST cross country ski race to be held in Anchorage, Alaska.  Date: March 4, 1917.  Start and finish location: A bowling alley on 4th Avenue.  Thanks Dave !!

Feb 18, 2005

Added Phil Tackett's great photos and memories, from 1983, of the ski and sledding hill at the remote Tatalina Air Force Station.  Thanks a lot Phil !!

Feb 13, 2005

Added updates to the Fort Greely web page from information gleaned from a great article in the Anchorage Daily News by Judy Ferguson of Fairbanks about Henry "Hank" Dube, entitled: "Military Mountaineer".

Feb 11, 2005

Added a number of 1950s ski jumping pictures, courtesy of Merritt and Liz Mitchell, to the Chena Ridge Ski Jump, UAF Ski Hill/Skarland Jump and City Ski Bowl web pages.  Thanks Merritt !!

Feb 06, 2005

Added pictures to the Nome Dry Creek and Unalaska / Dutch harbor Fort Mears Ski Bowl web pages.

 

Added a web page for Fort Egbert in Eagle, a lost skiing site by "circumstantial evidence".

 

Bob Janes of Juneau informed us today that he just learned of a portable rope tow that once ran in Hoonah.  We look forward to more information on this site.  This is a particularly interesting site because Hoonah is mostly a Tlingit populated town.  Thanks Bob !!

 

And finally, added a web page for the Aurora Lodge in Salcha.  Merritt Mitchell remembers skiing there in 1948.  And added a web page for the Chena Ridge Ski Jump in Fairbanks based on information from Merritt.  (Pictures to come soon)  Thanks a lot Merritt!

Feb 05, 2005

Added a web page for yet another pioneer, turn of the century military post where skiing was big - Fort Gibbon in Tanana.

 

Also, added a web page for the Ravenwood Ski Area.  This is a ski area that was lost for 7 years, but it restarted in 2004 and is now called Iceman Falls.

Feb 04, 2005

Added a web page for Fort Davis near Nome.  U.S. Army troops kept the peace with unruly gold miners here at the turn of the century.  And they also skied here.  Across Norton Sound U.S. troops also skied at Fort St. Michael.

 

Added a 1916 panoramic picture of downtown Anchorage to the 4th Avenue Race Ski Trails web page.

 

Added a new group photo with skis to the Nome Dry Creek web page.

Feb 03, 2005

Added research correspondence to the Alaska Methodist University Ski Hill and Jump web page.  According to Paul Wunnicke, he and others were jumping off the AMU jump (in 74/ 75) in the years after it was officially closed.  He said it was scary because the boards were starting to rot away !!  Thanks for the info Paul !!

 

Also, updated the Wendler Jr. High / Alaska Community College Ski Trail web page.  From talks with Edmund Schuster, the first ski coach at UAA (in 1970), we learned that the Wendler Trails came first, but then a connecting 3.85 kilometer loop between UAA and ACC was made by Edmund and UAA volunteers.  This trail was used for training and racing for two years until it was overrun by the UAA sports center.

 

Added pictures to the Fort Greely web page, mostly from the 1960's, of 9th Infantry "Manchus" skiing in Alaska.

 

Added an aerial photo to the Girdwood 1969 Jr. National X-C Ski Trail web page, with the course outlined on it.

 

And finally, added a web page for the Alyeska Ski Jump.  Built in 1969 for the Jr. Nationals, but only used for a short time afterwards.

Feb 02, 2005

Added a web page for the pioneer outpost Fort Liscum on the south shore of Port Valdez.  A picture proves that 9th Infantry Regiment "Manchus" were there to "Keep up the Fire" on skis 100 years ago.

Feb 01, 2005

Added research correspondence received from Andy Sterns about Ullrhaven and from Jane Bryant about the Mount McKinley Army Recreation Camp.  Thanks to Andy and Jane !

Jan 24, 2005

The ALSAP total was upped today.  An email from Mark Moderow relayed that Denali NPS Anthropologist Jane Bryant talked to long-time Denali Park ranger Bill Nancarrow who said there were 3 ski hills at the Mount McKinley Army Recreation Camp.  We had the major ski hill identified, but there was also a "bunny hill" with rope tow near the hotel.  And at a later date this small-hill rope tow was moved to "6 Mile".  Thanks to Bill, and once again to Jane and Mark !!

 

I also realized that the Dan Moller Trail was not being counted in the lost sites count.  So this trail and the two new ones above upped the count by 3 today.

Jan 22, 2005

Added a web page for Fort Greely south of Delta Junction.  According to Major Jeffrey G. Fishack, NWTC (Northern Warfare Training Center) Commander there once was a rope tow and biathlon ski trail system on Fort Greely.  Fort Greely is no longer an active U.S. Army base and not much is known about these lost ski sites.

Jan 21, 2005

Added a web page for the 1969 Jr. National X-C Ski Trail - once a cross country ski racing venue near the Alyeska Ski Resort in Girdwood.

Jan 19, 2005

Updated the City Ski Bowl web page.  Based on the information found for the 4th Avenue Race Ski Trails, it was mentioned that ski jumping was done at this site near the Anchorage watertank in 1917.  This predates our original estimate of the start of skiing at the City Ski Bowl site by 20 years.

Jan 18, 2005

Added a web page for the location of Anchorage's first ski race - 4th Avenue.  In 1916 ski races began occurring regularly on a 5 mile loop that started and finished on 4th Avenue.  Fur Rendezvous had cross country ski races that finished on 4th Avenue up until at least 1950.

Jan 14, 2005

Today was the day ... ALSAP turned 100 !  Actually, it was a bit anti-climactic - because we hit the 100 lost ski areas mark and then there was no looking back as the counter ran up to 104.  This was due to the skiing sage of Juneau - Bob Janes.  Bob's research gave us these lost sites in the Juneau/Douglas area: The Evergreen Bowl Rope Tow, the Evergreen Cemetary Ski Trails, the Gastineau Meadows Ski Trails and the Douglas Bowl Ski Trails.  Also, Dave Brann tossed in another pioneer fort, with photo evidence.  Soldiers skied at Fort Saint Michael in the west coast town of Saint Michael in the very early 20th century.  Thanks to Bob and Dave !!!  Wow - I better get to work making web pages for all the new sites that have shown up in the past two weeks.

 

Also - added old photos to: Little Susitna Roadhouse Ski Hill, Fishhook Creek Ski Hill, Independence Mine Ski Area and Perseverance Rope Tow web pages.

Jan 13, 2005

Dave Brann and I were looking at a Jim Oyler photo of skiers from the 1910 to 1915 timeframe on vilda.alaska.edu.  Dave's research ID'ed the location as Fort Liscum in Valdez.  We'll get this picture on this site eventually. Like at many of the pioneer forts in the early 1900's, skiing was big.  Thanks Dave ... that brings us to 99 lost ski areas !!  One more and we hit the Alaskan lost ski area stratosphere ... one zero zero !!!

Jan 12, 2005

Merritt Mitchell talked to Dave Brann recently to say that he has film footage of skiing at the Aurora Lodge in Salcha in the late 40's / early 50's.  The Aurora Lodge is a new lost ski site for our list.  Merritt was also the one that told us of the Chena Ridge Ski Jump in Fairbanks.  More information on these sites should be forthcoming.  Thanks a lot Merritt !!

Jan 9, 2005

A huge piece of the Fire Island AFS Ski Area history puzzle showed up yesterday.  An email explaining when the ski area was built and who built it !  This is something we didn't know exactly.  This key mail and a great 1965 picture came from Dave Gross of Maine, who was stationed at Fire Island in '65-'66.  Thanks a lot for helping preserve Alaskan skiing history Dave !!

Jan 7, 2005

Added pictures to the Murphy Dome AFS Rope Tow web page of the rope tow remains and the site location.  Thanks to Hank Brand !!

 

Updated the Mount McKinley Army Recreation Camp web page with a great 1954 shot from the ski slopes of a skier looking back at the grand hotel.  Thanks again to Jane Bryant !!

Jan 6, 2005

Updated the Mount McKinley Army Recreation Camp web page with great information sent by Jane Bryant, the Cultural Anthropologist for the Denali National Park & Preserve.  Thanks Jane !!

Jan 5, 2005

Yesterday it rained cats and dogs.  Today it rained lost ski areas !!  It's unbelievable, just when you think you are nearing the end of the list ... a new batch of lost sites show up.  Today I added 5 new ski sites to the list !  And Bob Janes, Juneau's sage of skiing past, has forewarned me of more ski sites to come after he finishes some research.  Wow!

 

The 5 lost ski sites I added to the list today were:

1 - 4th Avenue / Downtown Anchorage race trails - there were professional cross country ski races here in 1917.  And races were held here until at least 1950.

2 - Major Jeffrey Fishack, Commander of the Northern Warfare Training Center, informed me that his program still uses the Gunnysack Hill Ski Area, but there is a lost rope tow at Fort Greely and

3 - the old Fort Greely Biathlon Trails are no longer used.

4 - Going through Dave Brann's history article collection, I can see that we need to add Fort Davis in Nome and

5 - Fort Gibbon in Tanana.  In the old days skiing was a key part of life at these pioneer military outposts, that no longer exist.

Jan 4, 2005

Added a web page for the Eagle Valley Resort.  This is not a lost ski area.  This ski area was planned in the 1980s for the Eagle River Valley but never built.  The Austrian company that was behind this resort, Rogner Touristik, eventually pulled the plug on the project.  This proposed ski area was used to bolster Anchorage's 1994 Olympic bid.  A few pages from the Anchorage 1994 Olympic bid packet can be seen on this web page.

 

Also - added info from Dave Brann.  He recently talked to a lady, Inger Jensen Ricci, that was born and skied as a kid at the Kennecott Mine.  Her mother was a cook at one of the upper camps and would ski down the mountain to get groceries.  And then she would ride back up in an ore car.

Jan 3, 2005

Added a web page for the Eagle River Rope Tow.  Not much is known about this old skiing site.  More research is needed.

Also, added a web page for the Sparrevohn AFS.  Made an update to the UAF Ski Hill page thanks to Roger Evans.

Jan 2, 2005

Added a web page for the Murphy Dome AFS Rope Tow.

Jan 1, 2005

What Alaska lost ski area was featured on the COVER of LIFE Magazine?  Thanks to a recent purchase of a January 1944 issue on ebay by Mark Moderow, we know that the Mount McKinley Army Recreation Camp at the McKinley Park Hotel was the Alaskan "ski area of the day" back then.  Thanks a lot Mark !!

 

I put scans of the old Kachemak Ski Club patch on the following web pages: Homer's First Rope Tow, Homer's Second Rope Tow and the Ohlson Mountain AFS.

 

Also - I was notified by veterans of Cold War Alaskan AC&W (Aircraft Control and Warning) radar sites that there was skiing in the 60's at the Sparrevohn AFS and a rope tow at the Murphy Dome AFS.  So adding these two sites to the list brings the Alaskan lost ski area count up to 92 !!

 

And finally, a breakthrough in pinpointing the location of the Seldovia Ski Tow was made, thanks to research by Dave Brann.

2004 ALSAP Log