Park City, Utah
April 3, 2014
The International Skiing History Association Awards, established in 1993, are presented annually to authors of outstanding histories, films and DVDs, Websites, museum exhibits, and for lifetime achievements in broadcasting and other media. The honored work is judged to have added significantly and artistically to the ski historical record.
An ISHA Service Award may also be presented to an individual for substantial long-term support of a ski history organization in light of ISHA’s mission “to preserve skiing history and increase public awareness of the sport’s heritage.”
The awards are presented for work published or formally completed before the end of the preceding calendar year. For example, ISHA’s 2013 awards, presented in April 2014, are for books and films completed and available for review by the judges before the end of 2013.
ISHA Awards are presented in the following categories, though not every category is honored every year:
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Presented for contributions over a substantial period of time to ski history, ski journalism, photography, film, radio or television.
ULLR AWARD: Presented for a single outstanding contribution or several contributions to skiing’s overall historical record in published book form.
SKADE AWARD: Presented for an outstanding work on regional ski history, or for an outstanding work published in book form that is focused in part on ski history.
FILM OR PHOTOGRAPHY AWARD: Presented for outstanding contribution to the historical record of skiing in photographic or film/digital form.
CURATORIAL AWARD: Presented for outstanding work in curating a nationally recognized ski museum through its exhibits and publications.
CYBER AWARD: Presented for creating a Website that contributes substantially to the preservation, distribution and expansion of skiing’s historical record.
SERVICE AWARD: Presented for outstanding work over a substantial period of time with an organization engaged in the creation and preservation of skiing’s historical record.
SPECIAL AWARD: Presented for outstanding contribution to the historical record outside the above categories.
ISHA Lifetime Achievement Award for Broadcasting
For half a century, Austria’s Michael Horn used his skills as an announcer to entertain and educate television and radio audiences, and spectators at ski races around the world.
Horn began his announcing career—or “hobby,” as he calls it—at the age of only 15, promoting a Kitzbühel tennis tournament by driving around town in a car with a PA system. From that modest start, he advanced to announcing the famed Hahnenkamm ski races in 1963 when he was only 23. When the press chief for the Innsbruck Olympics heard Horn’s manner of speaking in different languages—he speaks seven—he recruited him to be the official speaker at both the 1964 and 1976 Winter Games in Innsbruck. Horn quickly went from being known as the “Voice of the Hahnenkamm” to also being dubbed Austria’s “Voice of Winter.”
Other Horn announcing appearances have included the 1982 Alpine Ski World Championships at Schladming, Austria, the 1985 Nordic World Championships at Seefeld in Austria, and the World Cup finals at Vysoke Tatry, Czechoslovakia. He worked as a commentator for the Austrian Radio-Television Network (ORF) at ski races in Austria, France and Italy.
In 1980, Horn was invited to Colorado, where he provided race information in his trademark announcing style to Aspen spectators for the next 10 years. While in the U.S., he called World Cup races at Lake Tahoe’s Heavenly Valley, and at Vail/Beaver Creek, including the 1989 World Alpine Ski Championships. In 1988, when Australia celebrated its bicentennial with World Cup races in Thredbo, Horn was the announcer.
Horn was there in 1964 to call it when Billy Kidd and Jimmie Heuga became the first American men to win Olympic medals in alpine skiing. He also announced the victories of the “Equipe de France” with Jean-Claude Killy, Adrien Duvillard and Guy Perillat. He watched the strong wave of Canadian downhillers Todd Brooker, Ken Read and Steve Podborski, and he announced the wins of Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark and Italy’s Alberto Tomba. Horn also covered the only alpine victory of a Russian skier in 1980, when Valery Tsyganov won the downhill in Aspen; Horn also was there with his microphone when in 1982, American Steve Mahre became world champion in the giant slalom at Schladming. He also witnessed the excited pandemonium of the Austrian crowds when their heroes Karl Schranz, Franz Klammer and Hermann Maier set race records in the Hahnenkamm downhill.
Through it all, Horn was still the Voice of the Hahnenkamm, acting as chief press officer for 24 years and announcing races from 1963 until 2008. When he retired, the Kitzbüheler Ski Club made him one of only three honorary members.
Horn has not always held a microphone in his hand. He graduated with a degree in economics in 1965 from the University of Innsbruck, and began his “real” job in 1966 at Kitzbühel’s Aquarena spa, where he was general manager until his retirement in 2001. He also served as vice-mayor of Kitzbühel and did a stint in the state parliament in Vienna. In spare moments, he has announced hockey games and tennis tournaments for Austrian TV and radio.
Michael Horn and his wife Christl live in Kitzbühel. — Stephanie Boyle Mays
Downhill in Montana: Early Day Skiing in the Treasure State
By Stan Cohen
The recently released DVD Downhill in Montana: Early Day Skiing in the Treasure State was issued as a companion piece to the book of the same name by author Stan Cohen. Both illustrate the quick rise of skiing in Montana.
The film uses original footage, stills and interviews to tell the state’s ski story. The tale starts in the 1880s with the first ski trip into Yellowstone, but most of the DVD covers the sport after the introduction of lifts in the 1930s.
Much of the footage was provided by the heirs of Walter Morris, who owned a ski shop in Missoula from the late 1930s to the early 1970s. Morris shot 16-mm film of seemingly every ski event he ever attended. His footage is combined with filmed interviews and photographic stills to cover a gamut of skiing subjects, including the 1935 Anaconda Winter Carnival, tales of ski trains and the start of areas such as Big Sky, Bridger Bowl and Whitefish.
The book traces the history of more than 60 ski areas in the state. Pages are laid out like a scrapbook, with accompanying text that relates what has happened from the area’s inception to the present day (or, in some cases, its demise). Included are reproductions of old articles, programs, people profiles, ticket stubs, advertising, photographs and other documentation of each area’s history. —Morten Lund
Downhill in Montana, Early Day Skiing in the Treasure State; DVD (2012) produced by Pictorial Histories and Sunrise Studios, 96 minutes. Book (2010) by author Stan Cohen (Pictorial Histories Publishing Company), paperback, 278 pages with black-and-white vintage photographs and illustrations.
Highway to Heaven
By Peter Southwell-Keely
Ten resorts, strung from the Thredbo River to the summit of Mt. Kosciuszko in New South Wales, are featured in this lavishly illustrated Australian ski history. Historical descriptions of each resort and approximately 400 photographs, with highly informative maps, are intertwined with chapters on Australia’s first ski troops, ski patrols, ski jumping, cross-country skiing, and the influence of Europeans. Throughout the book, many individuals who made a difference are also profiled.
The most interesting chapters deal with the development of Perisher, an amalgamation of four towns: Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Guthega and Blue Cow. Starting in 1945 there were three huts in the Perisher-Smiggins area; by 1956, nine more huts had been built. Now Perisher is the largest ski resort in the Southern Hemisphere and boasts 98 lodges, 29 ski lifts and the Ski Tube, a rack railway that includes an 1,805-foot tunnel.
Six appendices include Winter Olympians and Paralympians, ski club results from the 1950s and 1960s and a list of ski clubs with founding dates (such as the Kiandra Pioneer Ski Club, ca. 1881). Almost 300 references support this well-produced tome that will appeal to anyone interested in Australian skiing. —E. John B. Allen
Highway to Heaven: A History of Perisher and the Ski Resorts Along the Kosciuszko Road by Peter Southwell-Keely; Perisher Historical Society (2013); 400-plus photographs, hardcover, 260 pages.
Ski the Great Potato
By Margaret Fuller, Doug Fuller and Jerry Painter
Ski The Great Potato provides the histories of all 21 areas and resorts that are still operating in Idaho, as well as stories on 72 areas that no longer exist.
Each ski area story has a detailed explanation of how readers could find the area in their travels. The areas are photographed as they appeared when fully operational, or what is left of them today.
It opens with a fascinating account of the Eastport-Kingsgate ski jump that was located right on the Idaho-British Columbia border. The jump opened in 1928 and had an in-run in the United States, with the jumpers landing in Canada. It closed in 1940 when the owner decided to start a ski area nearby.
Another interesting chapter recounts the founding and development of Lookout Pass, which at one time was the home ski area of Joe Jay Jalbert, one of skiing’s great filmmakers. It started in 1936 when a group of skiers hitched a ride on a Northern Pacific railroad train that took them to the summit of Lookout Mountain. One of the longest chapters details the founding and development of Sun Valley. The authors also include information about prominent people in Idaho ski history, from the Engen brothers to Picabo Street and Muffy Davis, who skied and competed together at Rotarun in Hailey.
Margaret Fuller has written and co-authored five books on hiking in Idaho. Her son, Doug Fuller, a former ski coach, and Jerry Painter, an outdoors columnist, worked with her on this project. –Tom West
Ski The Great Potato by Margaret Fuller, Doug Fuller and Jerry Painter; Trail Guide Books (2013), 293 pages with black-and-white photographs.
Tales from Two Valleys: Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows
By Eddy Starr Ancinas
Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows skiers will delight in reading the familiar and not-so-familiar accounts of how these two leading Sierra resorts got started. Eddy Ancinas’ well-researched book will also appeal to anyone interested in the history of skiing in the 1950s and ’60s, when the sport exploded in popularity. This growth was due in large part to such pioneering visionaries as Wayne Poulsen and Alexander Cushing at Squaw Valley. Lesser known is John Reily, who dreamed of a family-oriented resort at the adjacent valley, which later came to be called Alpine Meadows.
Eddy Ancinas tells the story of the ongoing conflict between Poulsen, who had the land, and Cushing, who had access to financing. The two strong-willed men disagreed on “just about everything,” she writes. Poulsen was later voted out of the corporation at a stockholder meeting when he was traveling out of the country.
Ancinas also describes how Cushing applied for the 1960 Winter Olympics to get publicity for his five-year-old resort, which had only one chairlift at the time. By clever political maneuvering, Cushing succeeded in having the Games awarded to Squaw Valley. After near disaster—first a lack of snow, then almost too much snow—the Games were a great success.
Ancinas accurately describes the continuing conflict between Cushing and the various state and federal agencies that control safety and conservation issues. She concludes that Cushing’s guiding philosophy was, “It is easier to beg forgiveness than to ask permission.”
In 2010 a private equity firm, KSL, bought Squaw Valley and a year later, Alpine Meadows, consolidating the two valleys. Ancinas asks a relevant question: “Will the ski experience defined by Poulsen, Cushing and Reily be forever changed from a way of life to a highly developed form of industrial tourism?”
The dedication “To Osvaldo—for getting on the chairlift with me” refers to Ancinas’ husband, who was a member of the 1960 Argentine Olympic team. Eddy and Osvaldo live and have raised their family in a house on the Truckee River, between Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. —Henrik Bull
Tales from Two Valleys: Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows by Eddy Starr Ancinas; History Press, February 2013; softcover, 160 pages
Produced by Lucy Walker
Crash Reel by filmmaker Lucy Walker tells the story of Olympic snowboarding hopeful Kevin Pearce and his tragic accident during a training run in Park City, Utah, before the 2010 Winter Games. Pearce slammed his head on the icy wall of the halfpipe and suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). The film positions Pearce as the one guy who could have beaten superstar Shaun White and explores their rivalry in the halfpipe, a sport in which the most elite athletes routinely launch off 22-foot ice walls at 30-plus miles an hour, soaring almost 40 feet in the air. The margin of error is slim to none and injuries happen all of the time, from the professional to the recreational level.
Crash Reel examines “extreme” athletes and their quest to obtain fame and fortune. It also shines a light on the extreme sports lifestyle and the lack of training methods and coaches. Walker focuses on Pearce’s family and the price they pay for their son’s accident, as well as the pressure that accompanies big sponsorship deals.
In the last quarter of the film, Walker examines the lack of oversight and the insufficient safety net for extreme athletes who are willing to risk it all. She suggests that the lasting legacy of the industry might be the 173,000 sports- or action-related TBIs that are reported each year for people under the age of 20.
Walker met Pearce in 2010, not long after his accident. Over time, she became convinced that, as she says: “The world of extreme sports posed questions that I couldn’t answer…When I watch big-wave surfing or halfpipe snowboarding, my eyes are glued to the screen. But half the reason I’m mesmerized is because it’s clear that the stakes are life and death…And Kevin’s story dramatizes just how dramatic the stakes are. It’s an exemplary study of risk and reward.” Walker’s strong writing and incisive storytelling capture the reality of extreme sports, from the glitz of the X Games to the harsh reality of the intensive care unit. (Pearce is now a motivational speaker, TV commentator and advocate for people affected by TBI and Down syndrome.)—Dan Egan
To learn more about the film—and the related Love Your Brain advocacy campaign—go to www.thecrashreel.com.
Legend of Aahhh’s
Produced by Greg Stump
Seldom has a new ski movie been awaited as impatiently as Greg Stump’s Legend of Aahhh’s. Stump is the cinematographer who in 1988 produced Blizzard of Aahhh’s, a stunning work that captivated the emerging freestyle, extreme and snowboard generation, and its hitherto little-known stars. Two more action films followed. Then Stump turned to producing music videos and commercial work. Legend of Aahhh’s marks his return to producing a full-length feature about skiing.
Stump spent the better part of two years trying different cuts and approaches to redact this film to a running length of 93 minutes. Legend endeavors to tell the history of ski moviemaking, as well as the cultural history of extreme skiing, powerfully visible today on magazine covers and in equipment and resort advertising.
In Legend of Aahhh’s Stump pays generous tribute to his filmmaking antecedents, beginning in the 1920s with Arnold Fanck, Leni Riefenstahl, and on to John Jay, Dick Durrance, Warren Miller, Dick Barrymore and Roger Brown. Toward the end of the film, Stump shows the outstanding latter-day work of Teton Gravity, and notably of Matchstick Productions, the production quality and visuals of whose 21st century films largely exceed those of Stump, for reasons having a lot to do with advances in cinematographic technology. Stump was not a rival anyway. He withdrew from making films that exposed the actors to risk of death after two of his performers were almost killed in an avalanche in 1995. His was a wise, ethical, calculated decision.
Much of the visual in Legend of Aahhh’s consists of action-packed series of skiers leaping and streaming down spectacular, precipitous terrain. The viewer gets a full serving of cliff-jumping, steep gully turn sequences, triggering of avalanches, and high-speed straight shots that take the breath away.
Intermittently throughout Legend, Stump cuts to talking heads (Warren Miller’s appears most often) who offer their perspectives and recollections.
Stump dedicates Legend to Barrymore, who defined why ski moviemakers have generally been unable to create works attractive to viewers living outside the ski world.
“With a normal motion picture,” said Barrymore, “you shoot a film about a story. With a ski film, you make a story about the film you’ve shot.” Legend of Aahhh’s is among the best. —John Fry
Legend of Aahhh's has a running time of 93 minutes. For more information, visit blizzardsnowstore.com.
American Ski Resort: Architecture, Style, Experience
By Margaret Supplee Smith
In American Ski Resort, Margaret Smith analyzes the vision, planning and construction that created North America’s winter mountain culture. She tells the story in 300 pages, punctuated by more than 300 well-chosen images of resorts, hotels and restaurants, houses and condominiums in New England, the Rockies, California and British Columbia. Some are renowned, like Idaho's Sun Valley; others are obscure, like Little Sugar Mountain in North Carolina.
From New England farmhouse inns to million-dollar condos, from a basic Stratton Mountain A-frame to the Mountain Modern style of Snowbird, we learn what has been the driving force for change over the decades, how it was accomplished and with what result for people, landscape and business.
Subsections are devoted to Historic Preservation and Cultural Aspiration (1930s to 1950s), Alpine in America (1950s to 1960s), and Reimagining the Mountain Resort Village (1970s to 1980s). The epilogue is important; Smith casts her socially alert eye on what is happening at American ski resorts in the 21st century. Some may find it disheartening to discover that Nobody’s Home (a film title) in Aspen. That's because many of its homes, averaging $4.9 million in price, are unoccupied for most of the year. Two appendices list three generations of architects, while the second offers more than 100 mini-biographies of relevant resort and landscape architects. The latter are important since, as one remarked, “We have to create postcard settings.”
The University of Oklahoma Press is to be congratulated on an excellent production. The book contains outstanding photographs and art, and American Ski Resort is a delight. —E. John B. Allen
American Ski Resort: Architecture, Style, Experience by Margaret Supplee Smith; University of Oklahoma Press (2013); hardcover, 300 pages with more than 300 illustrations.
From Heming the Younger to Hemingway
By Jon Vegard Lunde
From Heming the Younger to Hemingway by Jon Vegard Lunde is a collection of ski literature that runs from Ernest Hemingway's Cross Country Snow and The Snows of Kilimanjaro to writers such as John Updike, John Cheever, Sylvia Plath, Ian Fleming, Romaine Gary and Vladimir Nabokov. But all of the passages were either written in Norwegian, or have been translated into Norwegian by the author. So why should English-speaking readers care? Because the book’s illustrations are a superb collection of period, modern (and in some cases ancient) skiing art—more than 100 striking examples, including a vivid watercolor by Spanish painter and mountain guide Ricardo Montoro Delgado, which was featured on the September-October 2013 cover of Skiing History.
The subtitle translates as “Skiing literature through a thousand years,” and its long row of renowned authors cries out for an English edition. Nevertheless, the serious collector will not miss the chance to add the book’s excellent illustrations to a library devoted to ski art. Even reviewers who have seen many collections of ski art will not likely have seen most of these works, let alone have such a great group of excellent, wide-ranging reproductions at hand. It is a beautiful book. —Morten Lund
From Heming The Younger to Hemingway by Jon Vegard Lunde; Jevelaget, 416 pages, hard cover, profusely illustrated in color and black-and-white.
2013 HONORABLE MENTIONS
Ski Pioneers of Stowe, Vermont: The First 25 Years by Patricia L. Haslam
Ski America produced by New England Ski Museum
United We Ski produced by T-Bar Films (Richmond, Vermont)