Explore Colorado's fascinating ski history through these two books. Visit the early hills and areas through words and images. Enjoy reading about the early skiers and their fun—and sometimes risky—adventures. BUY HERE FOR SIGNED COPIES AND FREE SHIPPING.
Colorado’s lost hills and ski areas launched the careers of athletes in the United States for the Winter Olympics.
A very early winter Olympian was ski jumper Anders Haugen. In 1919, he skied over Loveland Pass to the site of the Prestrud Jump at Dillon Reservoir—the hill is now under water—to take part in a competition. He set a world record of 213 feet. The next year he came back and set a new record of 214 feet. He was captain of the U.S. Olympic team at the first Winter Olympics in 1924 in Chamonix, France.
Some twenty years later, Robert L. “Barney” McLean skied the areas around Hot Sulphur Springs: Bungalow Hill, Mount Bross, and Snow King Valley. Grand County Museum Director B. Tim Nicklas said about him, “Barney McLean, many can argue, is the best skier to ever come out of Colorado. He has twelve national championships for both jumping and alpine, and he was captain of the 1948 Winter Olympic Team.”
Maggie Armstrong skied on Maggie’s Hill at Hot Sulphur Springs in the 1960s. She remembered a substitute teacher at her one-room schoolhouse in Parshall. Johnny R. Cress took the students skiing on Thursdays at the hill. He also skied Nordic Combined on the U.S. Ski Team at the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympics.
When you’re driving through the vast South Park on your way to well-known ski areas and mountain communities, try to envision a ski area right there.
Indian Mountain operated about ten miles southeast of Jefferson and served a local community.
One summer, the authors went there to investigate. We walked the old runs and took pictures of remaining signs of the old lifts. We also found an old sticker for the area on a bench made of snowboards.
You can find out a little more about Indian Mountain in the Lost Ski Areas of the Front Range and Northern Mountains book.
With the fireweed blooming in the mountains and the aspen leaves changing up high, our thoughts naturally turn to the approaching ski season. Today we spent an hour early in the morning at “The Breakfast Table” with Roy Hanschke, Denise Washington Blomberg and Gordy Scott, sharing on KPOF 91 AM the story beneath the story of Colorado skiing.
For the Christian audience of “The Point”, we told how humble people, many of whom were Christians, brought the ski culture to the state initially. Pastors were motivated to help young people by creating hills and areas where they could spend time skiing. Also, early skiing was based on a system of older, experienced skiers mentoring younger ones, which was passed down through the years.
We also shared about how blessed we were to have this project at a difficult time in our lives—it helped us lighten up!—and how the Lord seemed to connect us with just the right people across Colorado as we worked on it.
Our books are meant to be fun and we hope KPOF listeners and others enjoy them! We hope you enjoy them.
In honor of the stock show and all the folks who helped skiing get started in Colorado by offering their hills for runs and their tractors and trucks to power tows, here’s a good story found in Lost Ski Areas of Colorado’s Central and Southern Mountains.
Colorado’s ranchers, farmers, and tradesmen have always been very mechanical and ingenious. They had to be. For example, this vehicle was equipped with skis to help CDOT employees take care of the roads and skiers on the roads in early days. But did you ever hear of someone putting skis on horses so their owners could go places in deep snow?
Well, here’s just one such story, which was published in 1884 in the Rocky Mountain Sun.
A freighter named Brockman recently brought his horses from Summitville to Baker’s station on snow shoes. The shoes were made of wood, two inches thick, eight inches wide and eighteen inches long, and were fastened to the horses feet by means of wires and straps. The shoes were fastened on, and after a few days of practice in Summitville, the horses learned the modus operandi of the scheme, and on Monday Mr. Brockman rode one horse out over from fifty to one hundred feet of snow, while the second horse pulled a sled loaded with provisions over the same course.
You’re not sure whether this is real or not? Neither are the authors, who found the story while looking through old newspapers online.
Thanks to Colorado’s ranchers and tradesmen for their contributions to Colorado ski culture!
In Colorado, there is a story beneath the story about the state and skiing. It’s a history that was being lost—and it’s a fun history.
There are over 140 lost ski areas in Colorado; that is, people created and skied many areas throughout the state and then closed them for various reasons. These two books by Caryn and Peter Boddie take you on a tour of these places and introduce you to the areas—with all great details, including GPS coordinates of the areas. We also introduce you to the early skiers through words and historic images.
Buy from the authors here and we will be happy to sign books before we ship them, but please let us know in “Order Notes” to whom you would like us to sign them. If you don’t instruct us, we’ll sign with a general phrase, such as “Enjoy!” or “Enjoy your tour of Colorado’s lost ski hills.” For a limited time, we will give free shipping for books order from us.
If you have memories to share about lost ski areas in Colorado, please share them on this site. Also, we’d love to have you review our books here.