Thursday, December 3, 2015

1914: The first skiing in the Ogden area?

                                   The mouth of Taylor Canyon.

WHEN did the first skiing in the Ogden Mountains begin?
Long before Snow Basin came along in 1940, winter recreation was was at least underway to some extent by 1914.
According to the Ogden Standard-Examiner of Jan. 17, 1914, a local minister, Rev. F.G. Brainerd and  a group climbed to Malan's Heights (today's Malan's Peak and Malan's Basin). Then, they used skis to slide down "with the wind,"
Rev. Brainerd said Ogden's mountains are even more "majestic and beautifully inspiring in winter than in summer."
He did regular snowshoe trips east of Ogden in the winter.
Tobaggan rides were reported to be popular pastimes in the eastern U.S., but in the west, few as yet, "realize the joy in store for those who will get out in the hills" in the winter season.
The Standard story concluded: "Our winter scenes, in canyon and mountain top, and the possibilities of our winter sports, should be one of the advertised features of Ogden."

                  Some antique, wooden skis of yesteryear.

-Just over five years later, a headline in the Standard-Examiner was: "They slide on snow banks in sight of Ogden and have a delightful time."
This story reported on May 27, 1919, that several groups of people had climbed to the top of "Observatory Peak" (today's Mount Ogden) that weekend.
There was still significant snow at high elevation that spring. The group went up and down the mountain saddle via the Malan's Heights trail. However, one of the two groups, were Japanese and they slid down quickly much of the distance on some sort of "rubber pads" on the snow.
The other party, presumably white in race, slid down the snow without such a pad and got very wet in the process. Members of that party were: R.F. Baker, Grace Jennings, Clifford Huss, Lucile Davis, George Bauman, Marjorie Turner and Ada Childs.

                          Looking toward Malan's Basin along the trail from Malan's Peak.

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