Volume 32 Number 4 July-August 2020

Featured Articles: 
By Andy Bigford

Photo: The gas crisis of the early 1970s introduced skiers to gas rationing, prices tripling at the pump and gas-station lines longer than those at the ski lifts. Skiers "still came," noted a ski-resort executive. Photo: Dreamstime

A Short History of Catastrophes

When it snows, skiers ski, even amid calamity. That could change with Covid-19

By Jay Cowan

Alpine ski jumpers—sticking Geländesprungs, cliff hucks and gap-jumps—have been sending it for more than a hundred years.

By Edith Thys Morgan

Above: Dartmouth coach Dodge in the finish area at the Birds of Prey World Cup giant slalom event at Beaver Creek, Colorado in 2017. Edith Thys Morgan photo.

By Jimmy Petterson

Built by architect Ralph Erskine, the Borgafjäll Hotel in Swedish Lapland is an enduring outpost of ski culture and solitude.

Not long ago, my friend Axel Persson and I embarked on a ski journey that took us north to Lapland—and back in time. Our destination was Borgafjäll, a remote mountain village in Swedish Lapland that’s home to Sami reindeer herders, a small lift-served ski area, extensive backcountry terrain, and a unique hotel and spa with an interesting history.


SKI Magazine, January 1968

Photo: Alf Engen rides Sun Valley's Ruud Mountain chairlift, location of the jumping hill he designed with Sigmund Ruud, circa 1938. Photo by Charles Wanless, courtesy Alan Engen.

Alf Engen in Sun Valley (the saga continues...)

In a recent letter in Skiing History (May-June 2020), my colleague Kirby Gilbert raised several questions about Alf Engen’s role in Sun Valley’s early days. Kirby wonders whether Alf was in Sun Valley in 1936, since his presence was not mentioned in other accounts at the time.

By Seth Masia

We’ve all heard that ski resorts will operate this coming winter under social-distancing rules. That means limited cafeteria space, restrooms, chairlift seating, lift-line queues and equipment-rental facilities. Some of these limitations will be addressed by box lunches, new tented outdoor seating and Portapotties, and by online advanced reservation requirements. Many skiers won’t want to fly off on destination holidays, so some major resorts may see a drop in ticket sales.

Maple Valley offered a variety of ski trails on its 1,000-foot vertical drop served by two chairlifts and a T-bar, as shown in this late 1980s trail map.

By Ron LeMaster



1969: Modern ski techniques place much importance on pole planting for both long parallel turns and short swing. However, many advanced skiers have limited success in assimilating the latest refinements into their own skiing because their ski poles are too long. Long poles tend to set a skier’s weight back on his heels and interfere with setting up a good rhythm for short swing.

Pandemic Cancels Skiing History Week 2020

The 28th Annual ISHA Awards banquet, which was to be held December 10 at the Sun Valley Lodge, has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the International Skiing History Association (ISHA) will honor its 2019 ISHA Award winners with an online celebration this fall.

Farewell to Ski Pioneers

Laurent Boix-Vives, Carl Ettlinger, William McCollom, Richard and Carol Fallon


 This ad for the Pontiac GTO was published in the January 31, 1969 issue of LIFE magazine. It was the official car of the U.S. Ski Team, which had been formally organized just a few years earlier, in 1965. The same month this ad ran, the footage for the iconic ski movie Downhill Racer was shot. Karl Schranz and Gertrude Gabl won the overall 1968–1969 World Cup titles, and American racer Marilyn Cochran won the women’s GS globe.

On the Cover: 

This 1927 poster by French artist Charles-Jean Hallo first appeared as an advertisement for the 1924 Winter Olympics and was repurposed for later winter sports competitions. It sold for $5,000 at auction last year at Swann Auction Galleries in New York. Image courtesy Swann (

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