John W. Lundine Books
John W. Lundin was won multiple Skade Award and is currently submitting his latest book, "Ski Jumping In Washington State, A Nordic Tradition" for the 2020 honors. The Skades Awards are presented by the International Ski History Association to outstanding works on ski history.
Skade is the Norse goddess associated with bowhunting, skiing, winter, and mountains. Harold S. Hirsch Awards for Excellence in Snowsports Journalism are given by the North American Sports Journalists' Association to the best winter sports publication every three years.
(Above) John W. Lundine can be seen receiving the 2018 Skade Award for Early Skiing on Snoqualmie Pass.
(Right) U.S. Olympian Phil Mahre holds Early Skiing on Snoquamie Pass at the Washington State Ski & Snowboard Museum, November 2017. Mahre is "quite possibly the finest alpine skier this country has ever produced," according to his entry in the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame. He won an Olympic silver medal in slalom at the 1980 Lake Placid Games, a gold in slalom at the 1984 Sarajevo Games, and was the World Cup Champion for three successive years, 1981-1984. Phil and his brother Steve are supporters of the WSSSM, where one of Phil's world cup trophies is on display. John donates his author's profits to the non-profit institutions for whom he wrote his books.
Early Skiing on Snoqualmie Pass, was published by The History Press in 2017, with a foreword by Washington State Ski & Snowboard Museum (WSSSM) President Dave Moffett. The book discusses the history of skiing (Nordic and Alpine) on Snoqualmie Pass in particular, and in Washington generally, and contains 120 historic photos. The book was written as part of John’s work helping to start the Washington State Ski & Snowboard Museum that opened on Snoqualmie Pass in October 2015, to which John is donating his author’s profits.
The book describes the exciting early days of skiing when Washington was called “the Switzerland of America”; Washington and the Pacific Northwest “concededly [have] the greatest skiing in North America”; and Snoqualmie Pass was the epicenter of the sport, “where modern skiing was born and raised.”
The book traces several themes. First, how Norwegian immigrants made ski jumping the most popular winter sport in the early days of skiing. Second, the role of newspapers in promoting early skiing. Third, how railroads (Northern Pacific, Great Northern and Milwaukee Road) supported the early ski industry. Fourth, how Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal Programs (CCC, WPA and Forest Service) played important roles in the development of skiing in the 1930s.
The book describes the ski jumping tournaments that attracted world-class competitors and thousands of spectators to Cle Elum, Beaver Lake on Snoqualmie Summit, Leavenworth, and the Milwaukee Ski Bowl at Hyak. A number of National Ski Jumping championships were held in Washington, distance records were set there, and the 1948 U.S. Olympic Jumping team was selected at the Ski Bowl. The Mountaineers’ twenty-mile race from Snoqualmie to Stampede Pass, “the country’s longest and hardest race,” was a pinnacle of cross-country skiing. Alpine skiing began in private ski clubs on Snoqualmie Pass, and expanded in 1934, when the Seattle Park Department opened the country’s first Municipal Ski area on Snoqualmie Pass, the Seattle Municipal Ski Park. Alpine skiing grew in popularity as a result of several events in the mid-1930s: the Silver Skis Race on Mt. Rainier (from Camp Muir to Paradise) that began in 1934, sponsored by the Seattle P.I.; the 1935 National Downhill and Slalom Championships and Olympic tryouts held on Mt. Rainier, where five Washington skiers were selected to go to Europe for the 1936 U.S. Olympic Games; the 1936 Winter Olympic Games in Germany, the where Alpine skiing first appeared; and the opening of the lavish $1.5 million Sun Valley Ski Resort in December 1936, by the Union Pacific Railroad, the country’s first destination ski area, called the American San Moritz, that transformed skiing in America.
The sport reached an early high point when the Milwaukee Railroad opened its Ski Bowl at Hyak in 1938, influenced by Union Pacific’s Sun Valley Resort. The Ski Bowl offered train access from Seattle in two hours, a modern ski lodge, an overhead cable lift (called a Sun Valley type lift without chairs), lights for night skiing, and free ski lessons for Seattle high school students provided by the Seattle Times. It was the state’s first modern ski area that revolutionized local skiing and brought thousands into the sport. The Northern Pacific Railroad considered opening a major new ski area at its Martin stop, near Stampede Pass, in the late 1930s, and operated the Martin Ski Dome, a small facility, until WW II.
Army Mountain Troops trained on Mt. Rainier from 1940 – 1942, before moving to Camp Hale, Colorado. Skiing exploded in popularity after the war, as ski areas were expanded and new ones opened to meet the demand. When the Milwaukee Ski Bowl Lodge burned down in December 1949 and the area was not reopened after the 1950 ski season, Alpine skiing in Washington was set back by at least a decade. However, ski jumping continued at Leavenworth until 1978, where national championship tournaments were held and three national distance records were set between 1965 and 1970. Alpine skiing expanded as new ski areas opened in the late 1950s and 1960s. WSSSM Board Member, lawyer and local ski historian John W. Lundin follows the sport’s historic tracks and the evolution of Washington skiing.