Volume 33 No 6 November-December 2021

Featured Articles: 
By Cindy Hirschfeld

Meet the folks who built Aspen’s first chairlifts, 75 years ago.

Aspen Mountain celebrates its 75th anniversary of lift-served slopes this winter, but the area’s skiing history started well before that. In 1899, cut off from supplies by a fierce snowstorm, miners fashioned crude skis from the board walls of their homes and schussed down to Aspen. According to the Aspen Historical Society, the refugees dubbed their escape the first race of the “Hunter’s Pass Ski Club.”

By Jay Cowan

Skiing predates establishment of the first national park, in 1872.

The unique spectacles of Yellowstone National Park are as engraved on the collective American consciousness as Mount Rushmore, the Grand Canyon and West Coast redwoods. Incredibly, the park’s sights in winter are even more rare and evocative.

Photo above: Skiers from the Haynes Mid-Winter Expedition break trail, circa 1887-1901, in the Obsidian Cliff area, with
several hardy souls pulling fully loaded supply sleds.

By Edith Thys Morgan

Retired after 105 World Cup downhill starts, he launched "American Downhiller" -- a movement and a movie.

The award-winning 2020 film American Downhiller chronicles the U.S. men’s downhill ski team, from their earliest days as laughingstocks in the eyes of their European competitors to Bill Johnson’s breakout gold medal and the success that followed. Produced by Ski Racing Media, the movie has a long backstory, one that starts with Marco Sullivan.

By Ron LeMaster

The "horse-kick" turn, introduced by Emile Allais, evolved into down-unweighting.

In the library of ski techniques, ruade is a rarity. At one time it had significant currency in some upper echelons of skiing but is now virtually extinct.

Illustration above: Édouard Frendo’s book introduced ruade—and down-unweighting—to the world.

By Bob Soden

Megève celebrates 100 years as the first purpose-built ski resort in France.

Megève, the posh ski resort just off the main road between Geneva and Chamonix, has been managed by the Rothschild banking family for the past century. In fact, the Alpine skiing tradition at Megève owes its origin to the family.

Photo above: The Hotel Mont d'Arbois in the 1930s.

By Seth Masia

Before P-tex, there was Kofix. It drove a revolution in ski racing.

When Alpine skis had wooden bases, it was common to waterproof them with celluloid lacquer, made by dissolving celluloid in ether, acetone or alcohol. Each factory had its own name for this stuff – Plasticite, Celloblitz and so on. It made a smooth glossy surface but soon wore thin. When the wood started to show through, skiers could paint on a lacquer sold in cans, under brand names like Faski and Blue Streak.

To elaborate on “Better Than Wool” (March-April 2021), Polarfleece was an evolutionary product. The first polyester fiber insulations were created in the mid-1960s by compressing nonwoven Dupont Dacron and Celanese Fortrel, used in quilted outerwear. Later, nonquilted jackets used a tougher version made on a needle-punching machine. I made this stuff for the skiwear industry at our Seattle factory beginning in 1975; a competing factory made it in New England.

Retreating Ice Reveals Mate of 1,300-Year-Old Ski

Seven years later, Norwegian archaeologists have a full pair

Because of Covid-19-related event cancellations, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame will induct its Class of 2021 in the spring of 2023 at Big Sky, Montana. The Classes of 2019 and 2020 will be inducted at Sun Valley on March 27.

The Class of 2021:

Sven Coomer

Plans are firm for Skiing History Week in Sun Valley, March 23-27, 2022. Tickets are on sale now for ISHA’s 30th Annual Awards Banquet at the Sun Valley Lodge. ISHA’s schedule includes the John Fry Lecture evening on Wednesday, March 23; a Retro Ski Day and Roundhouse Luncheon on Thursday, March 24, follow by a reception and Awards Banquet that evening; and an Historians’ Colloquium on Friday morning, March 25. In addition, ISHA will host a ski film festival at the Sun Valley Opera House. The U.S.

Remembering Rupert Huber, Anne and Joe Jones Hal O'Leary, Peter Alder, Martha Coughlin Corrock (photo above) and Paul Carson.

For all Lives, please go to

On the Cover: 

In 1913, Johann Baptiest Maier created this rare poster for Sporthaus Schuster. A skier looks us in the eye, confident in her own glamour.

Digital Magazine Flipbook: