Skiing History

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thumbnail The Park City Ski Club  Photo Courtesy of Park City Museum and Bea Kummer., Photo description courtesy of The Park Record.

In 1935 The Park City Ski Club, whose members included high school students from Lincoln School, helped build their own ski jump on the old Creole Mine dump west of town.

thumbnail Brigham Young University Snow Carnival  Photo Courtesy of Park City Museum and Bea Kummer., Photo description courtesy of The Park Record.

Until a few years ago, Brigham Young University held a snow carnival. These fellows participated in this one in the 1930's at Daniels Canyon, located on the road from Heber to Strawberry Reservoir. Events included cross country skiing, races (slalom and GS) ski jumping and ice skating.

thumbnail Ski Technology in the 1950's  Photo Courtesy of Park City Museum and Bea Kummer., Photo description courtesy of The Park Record.

Take some old barrel slats, cable bindings, a pair of buckle boots and some fast ski wax and you have some fooling around on the slopes at Snow Park in 1954. It was said that it was more like ice skating. The skiers pictured here did a series of spread eagles all the way down the hill which made less courageous skiers take notice.

thumbnail Creole Run  Photo Courtesy of Park City Museum and Bea Kummer., Photo description courtesy of The Park Record.

In the 1930's, Park City kids got their kicks by jumping off of a ramp built on the old Creole mine dump west of town. In the winter of 1937-38, John Spendlove poses with his jumping skis. The site is now part of the Park City Mountain Resort's Creole run.

thumbnail Early Slalom Racing  Photo Courtesy of Park City Museum and Bea Kummer., Photo description courtesy of The Park Record.

Park City skiers were slalom racing even in the early days. This competitor is Ike Hall, better known for his great love of ski jumping. A fellow jumper with the great Alf Engen, Hall was the first native Utahn to jump more than 200 feet. In 1940 he won the Intermountain Class B ski jumping championship at Ecker Hill.

thumbnail Young Ski Jumpers in 1939  Photo Courtesy of Park City Museum and Bea Kummer., Photo description courtesy of The Park Record.

Creole Hill west of Park City and currently a run near the Town Lift was a favorite of young ski jumpers. This Photo was taken about 1939.

thumbnail Ecker Hill  Photo Courtesy of Park City Museum and Bea Kummer., Photo description courtesy of The Park Record.

For two decades, Ecker Hill attracted some of the world's top ski jumpers. Five world records were set here. Started in 1927 by the Rasmussen family, the hill was ready for championship jumping in 1931. Even though the slope was a natural for jumping, it took hard work hauling dirt and snow in with shovels and wheelbarrows to get it just right for world class events. In an exhibition jump Alf Engen jumped 296 feet; a record distance for Ecker. The last tournament was held in 1964. Part of the scaffolding can still be seen as one journeys up the road through the Pinebrook subdivision.

thumbnail Early Ski Jumping  Photo Courtesy of Park City Museum and Bea Kummer., Photo description courtesy of The Park Record.

This ski jumping scaffold was built in 1928 by the Rasmussen brothers on the family ranch near Parleys Summit. A few years later they helped to build the famous Ecker Hill jump nearby.

thumbnail The First Lift  Photo Courtesy of Park City Museum and Bea Kummer., Photo description courtesy of The Park Record.

The first lift at Snow Park was built by Otto Carpenter and Bob Burns from the pine trees the two had cut to clear the area. The lift was low and sometimes the T-bar would drag on the downhill run, so the partners improvised a chair. That was an improvement, but they still had to shovel a path for the chairs to go through when the snow was deep. The warming shack in the background was where La Rue Carpenter served a two-bit hamburger that was worthwhile, according to Otto. (So worthwhile, in fact, it was written about in the New York Times.)

thumbnail Lifts in the 1960's  Photo Courtesy of Park City Museum and Bea Kummer., Photo description courtesy of The Park Record.

This 1960's press photo shows two gondola cars near The Summit House with Jupiter Peak in the background. The gondola was replaced by two high-speed six-pack chairlifts in 1997, PayDay and Bonanza.

thumbnail Early Chairlifts  Photo Courtesy of Park City Museum and Bea Kummer., Photo description courtesy of The Park Record.

This was one of the first chairlifts to go up in the Park City area, and probably the first to be torn down. It was built in 1948 by James Kilby on Rasmussen Hill near the present-day Pinebrook subdivision. However, two snow-short winters put Kilby out of business. The lift was dismantled about 1950 and sold to Timp Haven, now known as Sundance. Kilby later became the Park City justice of the peace.

thumbnail Trains to the Runs  Photo Courtesy of Park City Museum and Bea Kummer., Photo description courtesy of The Park Record.

In the early days of the Park City Mountain Resort, skiers could ride a train through the Spiro Tunnell to the bottom of the Thaynes shaft, then take the old mine elevator to the surface. The train also took people deep inside the mountain to a museum of mining artifacts.

thumbnail Mass Transportation for Skiers  Photo Courtesy of Park City Museum and Bea Kummer., Photo description courtesy of The Park Record.

In December 1936, as winter sports became increasingly popular, the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad ran special trains to carry skiers from Salt Lake City to Park City. The following year a train ran from Ogden. In 1939 a nine-coach train brought hundreds of skiers to ski and to watch spectacular ski jumping at Ecker Hill.

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