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The Latest Updates on ALSAP - 2007

ALSAP Update Log 2007 (entries by Tim Kelley)


December 31, 2007
George Ferree sent a nice picture of an old Cleary Summit Ski Club sign.  This Fairbanks ski club was established in 1954.  Thanks again George!

Yesterday I made a trip to the Fort Richardson Biathlon Training Center site.  The 2005 federal refurbishment project has built a new biathlon center complete with new shooting range, lodge, timing building, parking lot, outhouses and additional trails.  But there is no sign that this infrastructure is being used.  And it was likely not used the previous winter.  So could this be a twice lost ski area?  I posted a number of pictures on the Fort Richardson Biathlon web page.

December 26, 2007

George Ferree sent an email about his family's time skiing at Eielson AFB's ski hill in the 1971 to 1974 timeframe.  And George sent some fantastic pictures !  Thanks George !!

December 21, 2007

The Anchorage Daily News reported that the JL Properties 42 million dollar development plan for Government Peak in Hatcher Pass is now shelved.  And that the Matanuska-Susitna Borough was now going it alone with a ski area plan for this site.  The Mat-Su Borough Assembly recently approved a $50,000 contract to Ron Swanson, a former Mat-Su Community Development director, to present a plan for this ski area by March 2008.  The Mat-Su Borough currently has no secured funding for this project.

December 20, 2007

Some winters in the 70s and 80s Dawn Lowery skied at the Arctic Valley ski area every day it was open.  Dawn sent an email with some good stories of those days.  Thanks a lot Dawn !

December 16, 2007

Franz Froelicher sent along some more information about the  Gunsight Mountain ski area.  Thanks again Franz !!

December 12, 2007

An ALSAP mystery was solved today.  Thanks to Dr. Franz Froelicher we now know that his friend Larry Straley built the Gunsight Mountain ski area, with Franz and other friends.  This ski area operated during the approximate years of 1960 to 1973.  You can find more new information about this ski area on the Gunsight Mountain web page.  A whole lot of thanks to you for contacting us Franz !!


And to add to this big day for ALSAP ... I posted pictures and a great story about skiing at Deer Mountain, near Ketchikan, in the mid 40's.  This information is courtesy of Al Tavis.  Al Tavis also sent a picture and story of skiing in Unalaska when he was 11, in 1942.  His skiing partners were Aleut kids with homemade skis with sealskin on the bases.  I put this info on the Unalaska Ski Bowl web page.  Thanks for the stories and pictures Al !


Finally, I added a message from Joseph LeClair about serving at the Cape Romanzof radar station in 1953 to 1954.  Joseph said that skis were available to folks there, but he does not remember folks using them that winter.  Thanks Joseph !

December 07, 2007

Today is Pearl Harbor day and I talked to Lucille King of Ketchikan.  Lucille moved to Ketchikan in 1938 and remembers being at the old ski lodge on Deer Mountain and at the Lake Perseverance ski area.  Lucille remembered that the Deer Mountain ski lodge burned down the night before Pearl Harbor was bombed.  So that was likely December 6th, 1941.  Thanks for the information Lucille!  Nice talking to you.

December 03, 2007

Gary Blackwell emailed stories of adventures he had at Sparrevohn AFS in 1965-66.  Adventures included skiing, fishing, riding the air tram and having Doreen of the Mickey Mouse Club come to Sparrevohn for a USO show ... and use his quarters as a dressing room.  Thanks for the stories and pictures  Gary!

November 27, 2007

Robert Gustafson emailed some information about shipping the grooming machinery for the Harriet Hunt Ski Area near Ketchikan to the Eaglecrst Ski Area in 1995.  Thanks Robert!

November 26, 2007

Apparently Adem Boeckmann of Nome has bought the old Russian Jack Springs rope tow and hopes to install it in Nome, Alaska at the site of the old Newton Peak rope tow.  Good luck with your venture Adem !

November 24, 2007

Recent information has come to ALSAP about the Ketchikan Deer Mountain skiing site.  Thanks to Mary Henrikson and Al Tavis !!

Recently Tammy Thiele was going through boxes and discovered she had a 35 year old sign from the lost Dimond-Mears Ski Trails.  Tammy had held onto the sign since her ski racing days at Dimond HS.  Thanks Tammy !!!

November 11, 2007

In September 2005 I put a note on the Ft. Richardson Biathlon web page that this old skiing site was being re-furbished and would soon be "un-lost".  Well, that doesn't seem to be the case ... yet.  Seems like funds must be scarce to bring this area back into action and noone is regularly skiing there presently, as far as I can tell.  So I modified my previous comments on this web page.

November 10, 2007

Added 2 new Ketchikan lost ski areas to ALSAP today !!  Ketchikan pioneers hauled building supplies up Deer Mountain east of Ketchikan to make a ski lodge.  And later on residents of Ketchikan set up a rope tow near Lake Perseverance.  Thanks to Fred Ellis and "Cruiser" for this information!

Also, added a couple of recent pictures I took of the legendary Mt. Pingo ski hill at Prudhoe Bay.

November 9, 2007

Added 18 great Northern Warfare Training Center photos from the 1950's to the Fort Greely page.  These photos are courtesy of Richard Powers, Mike Wolcott and his father George.  Thanks a lot to Richard, Mike and George !!

November 1, 2007

Bevinne and Megan, daughters of Bob and Sylvia McCann - the founders, along with Lincoln Imeson, of the Cleary Summit ski area, have recently done a lot of work on their personal Cleary Summit web site.  Good work Bevinne and Megan !!

October 25, 2007

Linda Parker of the Gustavus Historical Archives and Antiquities organization informed Dave Brann and me that two more great 1930's Gustavus skiing related pictures were recently scanned an put on their fantastic, wonderful and jaw-dropping-impressive web site: www.gustavushistory.org.  If you haven't checked out their web site yet, YOU SHOULD !!  Thanks again Linda !!

October 16, 2007

Further communication with Linda Parker of the Gustavus Historical Archives and Antiquities organization has shown that the Sandhill Dunes skiing area northwest of Gustavus IS INDEED a lost ski area!  During the 1920's to 1940's homesteaders would trek to this area to ski these sand covered glacial terminal moraines.  But now this skiing terrain is gone because the moraines are grown over with vegetation.  Chalk up a skiing area lost via global warming.  And found ... thanks to Linda Parker !!


Also - Fred Trimble shared an account of backcountry skiing on Microdot, slopes local to Independence Mine, from 1939.  This account was in transcripts of an oral recording of Joeseph A. Sertich reminiscing about working at Independence Mine from 1937 to 1940.  Joe chose to work the night shift as a "mucker", clearing blasted rock out of the mine tunnels.  He worked all night hucking rocks so he could get 3 to 4 hours of backcountry skiing in on his off shift.  Hardcore?!  Thanks for sharing this great story Fred!

October 14, 2007

On a recent trip to the Kenai Peninsula I stopped in Soldotna to take some site photos of the Soldotna Ski Hill.  This lost ski area is VERY overgrown these days.

October 13, 2007

I moved three of the Edith M. Spitzer skiing pictures to the Arctic Valley web page.  After consulting with Independence Mine history export Fred Trimble ... it was clear that these pictures were not from skiing at the mine.  One of the pictures was indeed of Edith skiing at  Independence Mine in 1943.  Thanks to Fred Trimble for help in identifying the location of these pictures.

October 7, 2007

Added several very nice pictures of Edith M. Spitzer, a 1st Lieutenant in the Army Nurse Corps, skiing at Independence Mine in 1943.  Thanks a lot to her son Sandy Spitzer for sending these shots to ALSAP !!

October 01, 2007

Added a new skiing site web page to ALSAP - Gustavus, Alaska.  Is this a lost ski area?  Likely not, and it is marked as such on the ALSAP home page.  The reason for the Gustavus web page is due to the interesting skiing history there from the homesteader days of the 1930s.  Homesteaders at Strawberry Point, now Gustavus, were avid skiers and even made their own skis.  Old pictures of these skis and the skiers that used them are now on ALSAP.  While you are at it, take a moment to check out the impressive Gustavus Historical Archives and Antiquities web site!!

September 28, 2007

Added a ViLDA photo by Trevor Davis of the Juneau Ski Club Banquet in 1938 to the Dan Moller Trail web page.

September 26, 2007

BP sent out a mailer recently commemorating 30 years of oil flow from the North Slope of Alaska.  The booklet had a picture of a mountaineering party that scaled the North Face of the legendary Mt. Prudhoe, also know as Mt. Pingo.  This picture is now on ALSAP.

September 15, 2007

Added a scan of an old 1939 Alaska Life article to the Anchorage City Ski Bowl web page.  The article was by Juneau Ski Club president Joe Werner, who related the early days of the Anchorage Ski Club.

Sam Flora sent some info about the Mt. Eyak chairlift.  It was one of the first two chairlifts ever built.  It was built at Sun Valley in 1939 and bought by the City of Cordova in 1974.  I put Sam's info on the Sheridan Ski Club's First Rope Tow web page.  Thanks a lot Sam !

Finally, added a 1969 Alaska Sportsman article by Ginny Hill Wood to the Rainbow Mountain web page.  This article is about the Canwell "Great Glacier Ski Stampede" that used to take place just north of Rainbow Mountain.

September 14, 2007

On the Mt. Marathon web page I put an old, Febrary 1947, Alaska Sportsman article about skiing above Seward on summer snow in SEPTEMBER.

September 12, 2007

Ed Corey sent in pictures and a great description of skiing at the Arctic Valley Ski Bowl in the early 1960s.  And Ed sent in scans of lift tickets from that era.  Ski Bowl tickets back then were 50 cents!  Thanks for the info and the "free" tickets Ed !!!

Also, posted an email and pictures, from 1958-59, that Charles Lowther sent in regarding Indian Mountain.  Thanks Charles !


Finally - I posted a March 1947 Alaska Sportsman article on the Attu web page.  This well written article describes skiing and climbing on Attu right after WWII.

September 11, 2007

Added a picture of the winners of the 1969 Jr. Nationals Cross Country Skiing Championships in Girdwood.  The winners, Shirley Firth and Fred Kelly, were participants in the amazing TEST (Territorial Experimental Ski Training) program based out of Inuvik, NWT, Canada.  A great 1969 Alaska Sportsman Magazine article that documents TEST is now on this web page.

September 10, 2007

On the Mt. McKinley Army Recreation Center web page I added an "Alaskan Oddities" bulletin from a January 1947 Alaska Sportsman Magazine about a skier's close encounter with a black wolf.

September 09, 2007

Added a picture from the June, 1966 Alaska Sportsman Magazine of cross country ski racing at Moose Run.

September 05, 2007

An "Old Utopian" sent pictures from, you guess it ... Utopia!  This is how Joseph Bonta jokingly described Indian Mountain during his stay there in 1954-55.  Read Joseph's email and see a couple of 1954 pictures of Indian Mountain from Time Magazine.  Thanks for contacting us Joseph!!!

August 22, 2007

Phil Jordan sent yet more great 1950's pictures of AIS (Arctic Indoctrination School) skiing at Fort Greely.  Thanks once again Phil !!

August 13, 2007

Andy Simasko emailed to point out several corrections there were needed with the Alyeska Ski Resort pictures posted on the Vintage Photos ALSAP web page.  I made the corrections (a number of pictures were reversed).  Thanks a lot to Andy for pointing this out !!

August 03, 2007

Phil Jordan sent in a few more great 50's pictures of skiing on Fire Tower Hill on Fort Greely.  And another of ski jumping at the UAF Ski Jump in 1955.  Once again - thanks a lot Phil !!

I also added a scan of an old 1970's Pt. Woronzof Cross Country Ski Trails map that UAA ski coach Trond Flagstadt found.  Plus, the Young Road web page now has the "Come Ski on Our Mountains" poem written by Haines skiing sage Richard Lewis Aukerman.  Thanks to Trond and Richard !

July 22, 2007

The mystery of what the Japanese symbol on the Japanese ski on the Attu web page is solved.  It is the "migi" symbol, meaning "right".  A mate of this ski would have likely had the "hidari", or "left", symbol.  Makes sense!  This information is courtesy of the one of the world's leading scholars of Asian history and languages.  A big thanks goes out to the University of Hawaii's Professor Liam Kelley !!

July 20, 2007

Added new pictures from Kodiak's old military ski area at Anton Larsen Pass courtesy of Joe Stevens' Kodiak Military History web site.  The pictures of the 1941 "ski patrols" are particularly impressive.

July 14, 2007

While checking out the Whittier, Alaska Museum I noticed they had some Japanese skis and skiing pictures in a military display on the Japanese invasion of Attu Island in the Aleutians.  I took pictures of the skiing related items in this display and put them on the Attu web page.  The skis were interesting in they had both Japanese and English lettered markings on them.  Check the pictures out that I took to see this for yourself.

July 09, 2007

Dennis Habbershaw was stationed at the Sparrevohn AFS during 1966 to 1967.  He did not ski there, but knew folks who tried to ski there.  Dennis sent some very fine pictures of Sparrevohn from his stay that are now on this web page.  Thanks a lot Dennis !

July 01, 2007

Thane Fisher has memories of snowmobiling to the site of the Ptarmigan Valley Ski Area above Chugiak in 1974 and seeing the remains.  Thanks for the email Thane !

June 28, 2007

In February 1951 Bob Powers traveled from Eielson AFB to the McKinley Park Army Recreation Camp for a week of R. & R.  Bob sent some great pictures from his stay there, which I posted on the McKinley Park web page.  Thanks a whole lot for sharing these historical pictures Bob !!

June 23, 2007

Last fall Rick Liotta told me that there were still remnants of the old ski area warm-up kiosk in the woods above Stuckagain Heights.  Today I found the remains Rick was talking about.  I took a few photographs and put them on the Stuckagain Heights ALSAP web page.  Thanks for the lead Rick !!

June 14, 2007

Some historical gems of pictures arrived today courtesy of Bruce McClellan.  Bruce's father, Clarence "Buster" McClellan was a 2nd Lt. in the U.S. Army and helped Gentry Shuster build the Manitoba Ski Area in 1941.  Thank you very much Bruce and Clarence !!

June 11, 2007

Phil Jordan emailed us a couple of fine pictures from his days at Fort Greely's Arctic Indoctrination School.  Phil was a MOS Infantry Operations and Intelligence Specialist there from November 1954 to June 1956.  Thanks Phil !!

June 09, 2007

Recently Bevinne McCann Morse, daughter of Cleary Summit founder Bob McCann, started her own Cleary Summit web site with lots of her family's pictures and associated stories.  Bevinne is working on this project with her sister Megan and is asking for anyone that wants to contribute memories or stories to contact her.  I put a link to Bevinne's new web site on the ALSAP Cleary Summit web page, and you can access it by clicking here.  Once again - thanks a lot Bevinne !!

May 26, 2007

Added a web page for the proposed Chugach Mountain Recreation Center on East Peak near Valdez.

May 22, 2007

Jeral Sexton, Nike Site Summit historian, forwarded me a number of nice pictures of Arctic Valley taken by Milt West in 1964-1965.  Thanks a lot to Jeral and Milt !!

April 28, 2007

Added YET ANOTHER NEW lost ski area today ... the Umiat Naval Petroleum Reserve Camp.  Ed and Melinda May wrote an article that was published in the Anchorage Daily News about Richard Lewis Aukerman who was stationed at Umiat in the mid 1940's, and who skied there.  Thanks to their help I got in contact with Dick - who shared some amazing stories and pictures about skiing and living at Umiat.  All of his information is now on the ALSAP Umiat web page.  An immense thanks to Dick, Ed and Melinda for helping preserve this very unique Alaskan skiing history !!


Dick Aukerman also provided some pictures and stories about skiing in the Haines over 50 years ago that I put on the Young Road web page.  Thanks again Dick !!

April 27, 2007

Added a NEW lost ski area today ... the Homer Heights Territorial School.  Skis were used to travel to this school, for recess recreation and they had ski competitions here in the 1940's.  Thanks to Dave Brann for help in researching information about this site !!

April 5, 2007

Added a 1966 picture of the Ullrhaven Lodge that once stood on Ester Dome in Fairbanks.

March 30, 2007

Fred Trimble took a number of pictures of the Ski Hut, aka Dead Horse Haven, at Curry.  The Alaska Railroad has recently restored this historic structure ... and it's looking great these days.  Thanks a lot Fred !


Rachel Steer was recently in Nome.  She traveled to the top of Anvil Mountain, from which she took a nice picture of Newton Peak to the east.  Newton Peak once had a rope tow, but we have not yet identified exactly where on the peak it was.  Thanks a lot for the picture Rachel !

March 22, 2007

Recently I was skiing in a remote part of the Susitna Valley and came across Carl Thomas's cabin.  Carl is the first person known to ski Mt. Susitna regularly in the 70's and 80's.  I took a picture of his skis that are still hanging on a shed ... ready to go!

March 14, 2007

Posted a number of great shots of Cleary Summit from the 1960's and early 1970's sent in by Bob Meritt.  Bob also sent in a picture from Ski Boot Hill.  Thanks a lot Bob !!


Also - Today I added a web page for vintage pictures of Alaskan ski areas currently in operation.  During work on the researching lost ski areas ALSAP has collected some old photos (over 40 years old) from currently operating ski areas.  The vintage photos web page can be found here (and there is a link at the bottom of the main ALSAP web page).  Bob Meritt has a number of 1965 Alyeska Ski Resort pictures on this web page.  Thanks again Bob!

March 9, 2007

Bevinne McCann Morse sent in several nice pictures of Cleary Summit from the 1960's.  Thanks yet again Bevinne !! 

February 19, 2007

Fred Gray sent us some memories by email that are now on the Arctic Valley web page.  Fred fondly remembers the ski area in the early 70's when he was in 7th through 9th grade at Fort Richardson.  Troop transport trucks would take them up to the ski area where a season ticket was 15 dollars.  Fred and his buddies were dare devils of the day that would sneak past the bamboo poles closing off access to the Arctic Valley ski jump ... and take flight!  Thanks for contacting us Fred !!

February 04, 2007

In 1971 Steve Hornung was stationed at the Murphy dome AFS and did some skiing there.  He also was a member of the B "Banana" Crew ... which meant he had to wear a plastic banana for a while!  Steve has a great story about the banana, and skiing at Murphy Dome, on the Murphy Dome AFS web page.  Thanks a lot for getting in touch with us Steve !

January 18, 2007

Bob Merrit found this web site ... and noticed a picture of himself - from 37 years ago!  So Bob sent a couple of 1963 pictures of skiing at Cleary Summit and some information about skiing in 1970 at Ski Boot Hill.  Thanks for contacting us Bob !

January 17, 2007

George "Joe" Hanson contacted us.  He remembers setting up a McKinley expedition tent at the 10 km turnaround point on the race course at the 1969 Jr. Nationals.  He kept a jug of hot chocolate going in case anyone needed it.  George also provided background info about early recreational trails in Girdwood.  Thanks for the info Joe !


Ron Ingram was stationed at the hilltop camp at Sparrevohn AFS in 1963-64.  He said there wasn't much for skiing going on back then, but he has some good stories from his year there.  Thanks Ron  !

January 1, 2007

As we start a new year, I would like to wish the best of 2007 to all the folks that have sent in skiing stories and pictures to ALSAP.  Thank you for your efforts, without you ALSAP would be much less of a historical resource.  And the best to all ALSAP readers.  I hope your journey into past nooks and crannies of Alaskan skiing history has been fun, and hopefully enlightening.


Well, we ran the lost ski area counter up to 128 sites last year.  But we haven't had a new lost ski area find in about 10 months.  So did we get them all?  Can we say "mission accomplished"?  Are there no more "lost" lost ski areas in Alaska thanks to ALSAP?


My opinion/ guess: I bet we've got 90 percent or more of the sites.  That would mean that there are 10, 12 or so sites still lurking in the shadows of Alaskan skiing history.  Maybe?  Maybe not.  But there still is a lot of stories and photos of the lost ski areas we have identified that could surface.  The journey is not over.  Heck ... it may never be over.  But that's okay with me ... this project has been fun and I'm ready to keep on taking in any old ski area, ski trail or ski jump history that folks want to share with others, and preserve.  Cheers and good skiing to all !

2006 ALSAP Log

2005 ALSAP Log

2004 ALSAP Log