Ski the Great Potato
Perfect gift for skiers: “Ski the Great Potato –Idaho Ski Areas Past and Present” , forward by Picabo Street , Winner of the International Skiing History Association’s Skade Book Award.
You'll find the histories of the 21 current Idaho ski areas and of the 72 historical or "lost" areas in this interesting new book. The book gives the basic facts about each area and how it started, and it includes little stories of some of the people who skied at each one. There are stories of stolen snow plows, an exploding stove, and a young woman who on a very cold night froze to the seat of a porta-pottie.
While researching the microfilms of Idaho newspapers, we found many hidden and forgotten stories of ski area startups in the weekly papers. It was almost always a community deal: meet in the basement of the drugstore on Tuesday night; we are forming a ski club, says the paper. A rancher, farmer, or mechanic promises to donate an engine for the rope tow. No rope for the tow? No problem, we'll hold a box lunch social, or sell ski club memberships that include free skiing. No land for a tow?
We can arrange for Forest Service land, or lease land from private owners, have it logged, and pay the lease with the proceeds. One ski area made a movie of cars and buses stuck in the mud and showed it around town to motivate public officials to pave the road.
Many Idaho ski areas were successful only because of the major support and pure goodwill of community businessmen like Warren Brown and Jack Simplot. Most of the ski areas had the investment of several local businessmen who are not as well known as those two, but were vital in developing small ski areas such as Cottonwood Butte and Rotarun.
Our research uncovered the amazing determination of the few men and women who started Idaho's ski areas, especially the ones in remote areas. A 13-member Lions Club built a ski area from scratch, including buying a used Pomalift from a bigger ski area. When cement trucks couldn't drive up its steep hill to pour the foundations for the towers, they used a backhoe bucket and shovels to mix the cement by hand. Then they hauled an old schoolhouse 20 miles on dollies to the base of the lift for a lodge. Another area converted an old chicken coop. No ski lift or likely way to get one? One early ski hill was run by boy scouts who used horse-drawn toboggans as ski lifts.
$22.95, published by Trail Guide Books, ISBN 978-0911561-0-8