Sun Valley Skier Shares Rare Find

By David Butterfield

In 1979, 18-year-old, Marc Corney, did his best to become a Sun Valley ski bum. He left his So Cal home of Glendora with high hopes of joblessness, raucous nightlife, and endless days of skiing Baldy. He had some early success but eventually succumbed to responsibility and regular employment. He even went back to school, became an architect, and now has a family. Though a failed ski bum, Marc still skis over 60 days a year and contributes as a Guest Services supervisor. Over the years he has developed an appreciation for Sun Valley history and traditions of mountain camaraderie.

It was a special night of on-line ski history study when he came across a bookseller in Vermont with something rare and unique to offer. The Sun Valley Ski Book is a 1939 pictorial ski instruction tome by Friedl Pfeifer that is not uncommon among collectors and aficionados, but this copy had buried treasure. Along with ski school director Pfeifer’s step by step instruction and mountain lifestyle photos, there are hand-written captions from photo subjects and a four-page signature spread. Also tucked in are a few vintage newspaper clippings and a song lyric by poet, Christopher La Farge, a friend of Ernest Hemingway.

Marc snapped up the souvenir and with his wife, Jill, put the probable story together. The book most likely belonged to Pfeifer and his wife and must have been passed around at parties or on their coffee table around the time of their wedding in the spring of 1940. The captions are directed to the Pfeifers and the signatures are those of the inner circle of accomplished skiers in Sun Valley’s magical formative years. Every time Marc and Jill open the book, they know they are holding traces of Sun Valley ski heroes in their hands and are pleased to share a look with Skiing History readers. 

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