NW Skier, Vol. 1, No. 23-24 - Crystal Mountain photos
Northwest Skier, 1958-59
Northwest skier is a new publication supported by the Pacific
Northwest Ski Association (PNSA) and published by Bill Tanler in
Hurricane Ridge ran its tows for the first time this season and
attracted enough skiers to encourage a summertime improvement
program. Also on this page is a photo by Lyle Christopherson of
Mrs. C.D. Hessey, Jr. [Marion] standing next to snow flocked
trees in the Gold Hill area near Crystal Mountain. The 2-12-59
issue (p.1) has a picture of Marion Hessey on skis next to the
"Black Tusk" across the valley from the proposed Crystal Mountain
Construction at the Northwest's newest ski area, Bachelor Butte
in Oregon, began in early September after the Forest Service gave
formal permission to develop the area. The Ohanapecosh highway
in Mt Rainier Nation Park is being paved and will be kept open
during the ski season for the first time. The route shaves about
40 miles from the drive from Seattle and Tacoma to White Pass.
On page 3 an article says the Forest Service has accepted
applications for the development of a major new ski area at
Crystal Mountain. "The area has been recognized in the past as
one of the better snow regions in the high Cascades and has been
popular for ski touring."
Crystal Mountain, Inc. was formed by sixteen Seattle and Tacoma
businessmen. It submitted the sole bid to the Forest Service to
develop the area along the eastern boundary of Mt Rainier
National Park. Officers include Joseph E. Gandy, president,
Melvin Borgersen, treasurer and manager, F.A. LeSourd, secretary,
and John Graham, Don Amick and Leo Gallagher, vice presidents.
The article includes a photo of the ski area site by Lyle
An article on page 1 notes that a second double chairlift,
parallel to the first, has been constructed at White Pass. The
first chairlift went into service during the 1956-57 season.
"Let's Go Skiing," hosted by John Jarstad on KTVW-TV channel 13,
will be back to for its fifth season, serving Seattle and Tacoma
area skiers each Thursday evening.
An article on page 2 about Spout Springs notes that ski
school director Pete Eyraud begain skiing in 1927 and started
instructing in 1936. He was a founder of the Blue Mountain Ski
Club and in 1936 became the first man to ski the Skyline Trail in
the Blue Mountains, covering 96 miles from Weston, OR, to Dayton,
WA in four days. He built the Spout Springs Lodge in 1948 and
has operated it every year since.
More than three-quarters of a million skiers visited six areas on
Forest Service land in Region Six during 1957-58, an increase of
115,000 over the previous ski season.
The small Cayuse Pass ski area was opened in 1947 by Don Adams,
Webb Moffett and Bruce Kehr. It has been operated as a family
venture by Carl and "Mickey" Daniels for the past five years.
The area provides three rope tows varying from 600 to 1,000 feet
in length. Due to heavy snows, weekend road access has been
sporadic in the past. It is expected to be more reliable this
season since the Ohanapecosh road will be maintained as a through
A page 1 article notes that "How to Ski," a series of ski classes on
Monday evenings directed by Don McDonald, will be televised again
this season on KCTS-TV channel 9.
Bachelor Butte ski area in Oregon opened for the first time on
November 15 with a new Pomalift and rope tow in operation. The
Pomalift stretches 3,000 feet up the side of the butte from the
7,400-foot level with a vertical rise of 900 feet. Work on the
lodge is continuing and a second rope tow is under construction.
Mt Shasta ski bowl is open with a new lodge and a 6,055-foot
double chairlift. It is not clear from this article whether a
smaller operation was in place during previous seasons. Mt
Shasta joins four other Northwest ski areas operating seven days
a week: White Pass, Timberline Lodge, Big Mountain and Sun Valley.
Adi F. Bauer, president of the Garibaldi Development Co., Ltd.,
announced plans for a major winter resort on the slopes of Mt
Garibaldi. The $5.5 million development, on land to be
transferred out of Garibaldi Provincial Park, would be seven
miles by road from the town of Squamish and would include a
six-mile-long tramway, a luxury hotel at 6,000 feet elevation,
snowmobiles to carry skiers to nearby glaciers, ten square miles
of skiing area served by a two-mile-long chairlift, a mountain
top golf course, an enclosed swimming pool and a four-mile-long
bobsled run. Future plans call for an additional tramway to the
top of Mt Garibaldi, three miles from the proposed hotel.
The potential for a ski area in the Crystal Mtn-Corral Pass area
was initially investigated in 1938-39. Plans were halted by
World War II. By the time the war ended, the group that
originated the idea had scattered and it was several years before
the concept was considered again. One of the early enthusiasts
was Rev. Leo Gaffney, S.J., a professor of civil engineering at
Seattle University and an avid mountaineer, though not a skier.
Seattle U. had a lodge near Silver Springs and Father Gaffney
began studying the Corral Pass area for a possible ski area. He
eventually turned over his findings to a group of Seattle
businessmen headed by Don Amick, a former U.S. Olympian. Walt
Little, a veteran Northwest skier, was named by the engineering
firm of John Graham to head up the investigation. In the course
of running surveys, Little became intrigued with the
possibilities of Crystal Mountain, a few miles south of Corral
Pass. Further study proved that Crystal Basin offered better
potential than Corral Pass and for the next three years Little
devoted his time to this area. Culmination of this work came in
the fall of 1958, when the U.S. Forest Service issued Crystal
Mountain, Inc., a use permit enabling the company to begin
raising funds to develop the area.
Byron C. Riblet came to Spokane as a railroad surveyor, then in
1897 worked for the Washington Water Power Co. as a civil
engineer surveying and installing street car tracks in Spokane.
As his engineering reputation spread, he landed a job in the
British Columbia interior designing an aerial tramway. This
began a career that ended only with his death in 1952. Riblet
Tramway Co. constructed the "Magic Mile" chairlift at Timberline
Lodge in 1938 [probably the second chairlift in America after the
one installed at Sun Valley in 1936]. Early Riblet lifts were
installed at Donner Summit, CA (1939), Mt Hood Ski Bowl (1948),
Ski Acres (1949) and Hoodoo Bowl (1950). During the 1950s,
Riblet installed chairlifts at Mt Baker, White Pass, Stevens Pass
and Mt Spokane. Riblet chairlifts have been installed at other
ski areas throughout the country.
Jim Sullivan resigned as general manager of the White Pass ski
area on Feb. 15, replaced by Virgil Fellows. Sullivan came to
White Pass for the 1957-58 ski season from Holden, WA, where he
was in the accounting department of the Howe Sound Company. He
was White Pass manager during construction of the area's second
During two days of hearings in Seattle on March 30-31, more than
100 witnesses commented on the proposed Wilderness Bill, with
opinions generally split between industry and recreation.
Mountaineers and conservationists fell together, while skiers
seemed divided on the question. Alan F. Black of the Seattle
Cedar Lumber Manufacturing Co. testified in favor of the bill.
On page 4, two letters are printed. Marion F. Whiting, PNSA
president, writes opposing the Wilderness Bill, citing the growth
of skiing and the need for new development. He writes that
"chairlifts and aerial tramways are as necessary to modern skiing
as a court is to tennis." He characterizes proponents of the
measure as a "comparative handful of bird watchers."
The Cascadians of Yakima write in favor of the measure: "It
is now obvious to the most optimistic that immediate action is
the only hope our children's children have of knowing what some
of their country was like when American history was born. [...]
The Wilderness Bill is not irrevocable. The decision to destroy
wilderness is a final choice. Any legal protection we give to
wilderness now, Congress can revoke if the national welfare
demands it. We want this power only in the hands of Congress."
Lyle Christopherson spent ten days this winter touring in the
proposed Crystal Mountain ski area. Six photos are shown.
"Skiing Room" depicts Crystal Mountain (now called Silver Queen)
and Round Mountain (later site of the summit lodge) from Silver
Creek near the current base area. "Lower Slopes" depicts the
eventual site of the lower chairlifts, dotted with snags and
small trees. Three photos depict Chuck Hessey and Jim Sullivan
touring and skiing. "Packing out" is a fine photo of Chuck and
Marion Hessey with Jim Sullivan preparing to leave the 5,300 foot
miners' cabin in Silver Creek Basin, below Silver Queen.
Blog #: 0247 – 04/13/59