Friday, April 5, 2013

A tribute to my first ski area (with a great film)

When I was in 6th grade my mom and dad provided me the experience of  learning how to ski which I will be forever grateful for.  Not being skiers themselves, they paid for me to get the privilege to ride on a yellow school (ski) bus every week for 10 weeks during the winter with a program after school called "Skiattle".  Snoqualmie Summit, the ski area where I learned to ski discovered that ski lessons, bundled with bus transportation and ski passes were the way to go and luckily for me my school district participated.  And the snow was an hour bus ride away!

There was nothing better than to get on that bus after watching the clock in typing class and head up to the snow.  One of my best memories of being a kid skiing was getting off of Dodge Chair with a girlfriend having sneaked up before one of our lessons and wondering how the heck we were going to get down.  It seemed so steep!  An 11 year old skiing with the snow just dumping and dumping, flittering against the lights but not being able to stop until finally last run was called to return the rentals and get on the bus. My dad would pick me up at 11pm in front of the school, I would be really tired, and go to sleep to dream of turning, turning turning in my sleep.
I never got to ski with the kids who skied with their parents on the weekends, but I was able to continue to take the ski bus during high school to the next progression, Alpental, which continues to be my favorite ski hill in the Seattle area.  One of those "weekend" kids, died in a collision with a tree during our 11th grade. She was a really good skier 'cause she not only skied on the weekends but also with the future gold medalist in the women's downhill in Sarajavo.  Astrid gave me a valentine in 7th grade that I still have.  I was really sad about her tragic death as was the whole class. Less than 10 years later I ski patrolled at that area for a couple years and whenever I skied by those trees in Green Valley I always gave her a little thought.  

Thankfully, I have never grown tired of skiing and skiing hasn't grown tired of me.  Thanks Mom and Dad for paying for those first ski lessons at "the Summit".  The Thunderbird Chair may not run anymore, but I will always be grateful for the nighttime powder snow, the lighted runs, the bus that took me home and Dad waiting to pick me up.  I don't ever remember it raining.

Check out this video titled, "75 Years of Skiing and Snowboarding At Snoqualmie Pass" produced by Jerry Hanley of Fall City.  I would love to make a film of the hill where I worked this past year.  Maybe if I'm lucky I can find some old footage from the locals and make a project of it.  The history is different because it's small town, but just as interesting to me.  The Granby Mining Company helped set the lift towers because they had people on their crew who liked to ski.  Or at least that was what I was told...


  1. The first chairlift anywhere sits silent on a mountain near here. Ruud. It's a single seat array. I've also seen them as lawn ornaments. Sun Valley, the birthplace of downhill skiing as we know it. From what I'm observing, it's endangered by climate change, which is why the company makes lots of fake snow.

  2. Climate scientists predict that by 2050 Snoqualmie Pass will not be receiving snow anymore...