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75 Year Celebration of
Snowsport History
in the
Far West region!

Photos Are Here!


History of Skiing in Southern California

The Sierra Club forms a Ski Mountaineer division. Championship jumps continue to be held throughout the decade.

1930s

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1930 February Halvor Bjorngaard set the first world record ski jump at Big Pines with a jump of 137 feet.
  October 7 California Ski Association was created by the California Chamber of Commerce as sanctioned by the National Ski Association. In 1948, it was renamed the Far West Ski Association (FWSA).
1931 February 1 Alf Engen scored a world professional jumping record of 243' on the fifth day of the fifth Annual Winter Sports Carnival at Big Pines.
  February 3 Murray Kirkwood & companions made the first (recorded) ascent of San Gorgonio on skis.
    Walter Mosauer, professor of zoology at UCLA, initiated a ski program at UCLA. He began teaching the principles of the Arlberg technique, which he had learned in Austria, to students at UCLA and Pomona College.
  December 26-27 The first annual Viking Ski Club of LA ski jumping tournament was held on the Wrightwood Big Ski Hill.
1932 January 2 Big Pines Ski Club was formed and became one of the leading ski clubs on the West coast at the time.
  January 30 Alf Engen scored another world professional jumping record of 257' at the sixth Annual Winter Sports Carnival at Big Pines.
    A ski jump was built at Lake Arrowhead and named Halstad Hill after Halvor Halstad. Halvor was a well known southern California ski jumper and became a member of the United States Ski Hall of Fame in 1977.
    The Sierra Club established a Winter Sports Committee to promote backcountry skiing.
1933   Walter Mosauer was appointed chairman of the southern California section of the Sierra Club Winter Sports Committee to promote backcountry skiing.
1934   Walter Mosauer published one of the first instructional ski booklets in southern California titled "On Skis Over Mountains."
    John Elvrum set a national (amateur) jump record of 240 feet at the first Winter Carnival at Big Pines.
  October Edelweiss Ski Club builds the first hut on San Gorgonio were it remained until the USFS dismantled in 1964 after the passing of The Wilderness Act of 1964.
  November 7 Ski Mountaineers was formed by Walter Mosauer and thirteen others. Third-class (advanced) skiing ability was required for membership.
  December 10 Walter Mosauer was elected the first Chairman of Ski Mountaineers.
1935 March 16 The oldest downhill race in southern California was first held on Mt. San Antonio (Mt. Baldy). The race began on the summit and covered two miles.
    The first motor driven lift in Southern California was a sling lift designed by Jack Northrop (of Northrop Aircraft) and installed at Fish Camp. The name was changed to Snow Valley in 1937.
    Thousands of spectators watched Olf Telleffsen of the Viking Ski Club of LA win a ski jumping contest with a jump of 120 feet in a canyon off the Hollywood Bowl. Tons of snow was trucked in from the mountains for the occasion.
  September 26 Ski Mountaineers became a Section of the Southern California (now Angeles) Sierra Club.
1936 January Construction of the Ski Mountaineers' San Antonio Ski Hut at 8200' was finished.
  September 24 George O. Bauwens took over as Chairman of the Ski Mountaineers from Walter Mosauer. George was instrumental in seeing that the Ski Huts were built.
  September The Ski Mountaineers' San Antonio Ski Hut was burned to the ground. The new hut was finished by December. The Hut remains in original condition today.
    Clarita Heath Bright, a South Pasadena native, become a member of the first United States Women’s Olympic Team. She competed in the1936 Olympics at Garmisch and was inducted into the US Ski Hall of Fame in 1968.
1937   Frank Springer and Tom Triol took over management of Blue Ridge Ski Area (later became Mountain High).
    The San Diego Ski Club was formed. They later established a tow and ski school in the local mountains of Cuyamaca. This club is still in operation today and have a chalet in Mammoth. They are a member of the San Diego Ski Council.
    Les Salm, Lake Arrowhead’s first fire chief, originated the name “Snow Valley” for the area that had long been known as Fish Camp. The Forest Service officially made the name change in 1937.
  April A group of Hollywood stars requested that San Gorgonio be considered for ski area development. They had visions of building another "Sun Valley" there. Director Darryl Zanuck, with Claudette Colbert, Paulette Goddard and husband Charlie Chaplin were part of this Hollywood development team.
  June Joseph "Sepp" Benedikter, an Austrian dare-devil & ski instructor, opened Pine Needle Ski Slope, a dry-land ski school, in North Hollywood at the present site of Universal Studios. It was a bust. He later moved his rope tow to a sand dune near 34th street in Manhattan Beach.
  August 10 Walter Mosauer died of a blood disease while on a trip to Mexico.
  October 29 A ski jump was built on the roof of May Company’s downtown LA store. Vicki (Ludvig) Hasher taught people to ski on this jump of rice hull, borax and salt. The jump was 15 feet high and 84 feet long with a vertical drop of 16 feet.
1938 January 29 The first issue of The Mugelnoos, official newsletter of the Sierra Club Ski Mountaineers Section (and with the seventh issue also the Rock Climbing Section), was published. The newsletter was the brain child of Glen Dawson.
  February 27 First Annual Southern California Open Ski Jump Meet was held in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. This was the first ski jump tournament in southern California to be held on man-made snow. Two-time Olympic gold medalist Birger Ruud of Norway ('32 & ' 36) participated in a 60-man jumping contest before 88,000 people.
    California Ski Association attempted to standardize ski teaching by establishing a committee to work out a "Plan for Certification of Ski Instructors."
    The Sierra Club formed the Walter Mosauer Memorial Lodge Committee to honor their founder. The Ski Mountaineers sought approval from the Forest Service to construct a hut on the slopes of San Gorgonio. When it was realized that approval would not be granted for construction on San Gorgonio, the funds were used to build the Keller Peak Ski Hut. Keller Peak Ski Hut, located at 6,800' across the highway from Snow Valley (between Running Springs and Big Bear), was completed in 1938.
    The first rope tow was installed on Table Mountain (later named Ski Sunrise) by Craig Wilson and Harlow Dormer.
    The first rope tow was installed on Movie Slope on Mt. Baldy by Fuzz Merritt. This slope was originally for students at Pomona College.
    A sling lift was built on the north facing slopes above Big Bear Village for skiers by Judge Clifford Lynn. This was Big Bear's first lift
1939 January 22 Second Annual Southern California Open Ski Jump Meet was held in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
  November Ethel Severson Van Degrift's first ski column, Ski Slants, appeared in the Los Angeles Times. Ethel was the first female member of the Sierra Club Ski Mountaineers and the first female ski writer for a major newspaper and magazine. She was an amazing woman.
  December 31 Southern Skis Ski Club founded J. Stanley Mullin, Cortlandt T. Hill, A. Andrew Hauk, Morgan Adams Jr., Otto Steiner, Clarita Heath Bright, Egon Merz, Paulette Goddard and others.
    First rope tow on Green Valley Lake installed by Les Salm, Lake Arrowhead’s first fire chief. The 300-foot tow was placed on "Suicide Hill."
    Mt. Waterman's first rope tow installed by Lynn Newcomb, Sr.
    San Diego Ski Club built a ski hill in the Cuyamaca Mountains and installed a portable rope tow.

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