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October 05, 1993

Lost Areas #12 - Published 5 Oct 1993

Subject:  LOST "COLORADO" SKI AREAS  -  EDITION 12

Greetings from THE COLORADO SKIER

Researching "lost" Colorado ski areas is the hobby of THE COLORADO
SKIER.   But now we have run out of lost areas in Colorado.  So we
have started on another region of the country, namely the southern
Mid-Atlantic states.  This is a transition issue, with a few Colorado
areas and a few more from the Mid-Atlantic area.

For more info on skiing and ski areas, check out our separately posted
companion articles entitled:   "THE COLORADO SKIER - TRIVIA"  (with
skiing trivia questions),  "THE COLORADO SKIER - SKI NEWS"  (current
ski area news), and our latest effort  "THE TCS LISTS"  which contains
ski area (and other related subjects) statistics.

            LOST "COLORADO" SKI AREAS  -  EDITION #12    

EDITOR'S REMARKS:  

 A. Thanks for the continued interest in lost ski areas.  As it says
    above, we have run out of LOST COLORADO areas.  So, for another
    two issues we will be doing lost areas in the Mid-Atlantic region
    and then we will move on to NEW HAMPSHIRE.

 B. At least 3 of you have mentioned a ski area in Deer Creek Canyon
    (near Denver).  That would be FUN VALLEY, originally posted in TCS
    LOST Edition #2, August 92.  That entry is reprinted in Section 4.
    JEFF:  YES, we would dearly love to have a trail map from Fun
    Valley.  Yes, Yes.  Feed me, Feed me!  Please E-Mail info.

1.  FIVE MORE LOST COLORADO SKI AREAS

    {Copyright 1993, The Colorado Skier.  All rights reserved.}

CRAWFORD   (Crawford), [obscure],  Mentioned in the history of a ski
  pioneer (Jack Gorsuch) as one of the first night lighted ski areas
  in Colorado (fifties?, sixties?).  Nothing else is known.  Not
  readily visible from the town of Crawford in 1991.

FAWN VALLEY   (Paonia), [obscure],  There was a reference to a "Fawn
  Valley" above Paonia along Hiway 133, circa mid-60's.  In 1965 AAA
  said "new area in Paonia next year".  There is a "Fawn Creek" about
  six miles east of Paonia.  We visited the Paonia public library in
  1992 and the librarian remembered the area.  A friend had skied
  there.  "Dangerous" she called it.  She called the ski area
  "Somerset" which is the name of a small town near Fawn Creek.

IMOGENE PASS   (Telluride), [very obscure],  Site of the annual
  "Lunar Cup" ski race and summer skiing on the 4th of July, using a
  portable rope tow.  The ski course is actually in SAVAGE BASIN, near
  Imogene Pass.  The Lunar Cup has taken place for several years,
  altho sometimes at an alternate site near Ophir.  The last reference
  to the race we saw was in 1991.  Featured in the book, "The Best
  Summer Skiing in Colorado".

QUANDARY LODGE   (Breckenridge), [obscure],  Appears on Gousha highway
  maps in the early 70's at the location we associate with the HOOSIER
  PASS ski area (perhaps this was the area DOUG mentioned as being
  further down from the pass on the north side).  One strange
  reference shows the area located way north of Breck near Tiger Run.
  The 1969 AAA book says "not operating".  There was a "Quandary
  Lodge" north of Hoosier Pass opposite Quandary Peak.  That lodge is
  now called "The Racer's Edge".  

SNODGRASS   (Crested Butte), [planned expansion area for Crested
  Butte],  Planned beginner - low intermediate terrain to the
  northwest of the current area on "Snodgrass Mountain".  There was
  serious planning in 1988 but nothing has happened, apparently
  because the ski area owner needs external cash to finance the
  expansion (and now, quad lifts are of more interest).

2.  WHO REMEMBERS THESE LOST COLORADO SKI AREAS?

    That's it!  There ain't no more!  We will, however, do some future
    articles on "name changes" and "planned areas" in Colorado.

3.  THE LOST SKI AREAS OF THE MID-ATLANTIC STATES

    [Note:  TCS defines "Mid-Atlantic" as Delaware, Maryland, D.C.,
    Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.]

3A.  Here are five "lost" areas from the last issue:

 BRADDOCK HEIGHTS SKI WAY    (Braddock Heights, MD),  [closed 1983],
   Located on General Braddock Mountain off US 40A, 5 miles west of
   Frederick.  Operated from 1966 to 1983.  Snowfall was only 20
   inches a year but they had 100% snowmaking.

     Vertical Drop:  250 ft     Top:  1150     Base:  900
     Lifts:  1 T-bar, 2 rope tows

   Note:  Carol, from the D.C. area, says:  "I know where Braddock
   Heights is but I disqualified myself since my nephew plays baseball
   literally in the shadow of the old lifts."

   "Disqualified?"  Carol, WE would never disqualify you!  Let us
   clarify:  "Lost Ski Areas" is not a contest like our trivia stuff.
   "Lost" is about information sharing.  We tell you what we know and
   you guys write back with clarifications, corrections, and more
   questions.  It is meant to be a collaborative effort - with
   feedback.

   So, Carol, we personally have never seen Braddock Heights.  ARE the
   lifts still standing?  Are there base lodge buildings?  Is the area
   still used for sledding, tobogganing, etc.?  Please help us - we
   thirst for knowledge (and occasionally a "Silver Bullet").

 CASCADE MOUNTAIN   (Fancy Gap, VA),  [closed about 1984],  Located in
   southern Virginia on U.S. 52 just off I-77 and the Blue Ridge
   Parkway.  Operated from 1977 to 1984.

     Vertical Drop:  258 ft     Top:  3000     Base:  2740
     Lifts:  1 double chair, 2 rope tows     100% snowmaking

 COONSKIN PARK   (Charleston, WV),  [closed 1981],  Located in
   Coonskin Park off WV 114, 3 miles northeast of Charleston.
   Operated from 1968 to 1980.

     Vertical Drop:  125 ft     Top:  850      Base:  725
     Lifts:  1 rope tow      Ice skating, sledding, tobogganing

 DIAMOND RIDGE   (Banner Elk, NC),   [planned],  Located near Ski
   Hawksnest.  As of 1992, several runs had been cleared and graded on
   a large hill but no facility construction had started.  Other
   potential names for the new area were DIAMONDBACK, and VISTA.
   Appears to be inactive (contacts were Bob Ash and Norm Smith,
   Banner Elk).  DANNY has hiked on the new runs.  He climbed up from
   Hawksnest.  Says there was a nice view of Sugar Mtn and Beech Mtn.

 SEVEN DEVILS RESORT   (Banner Elk, NC),  [name change],  Former name
   for HAWKSNEST until 1984.  Opened in 1969 and is still open under
   the new name.  Stats are for the last season it operated under the
   old name.

   Vertical Drop:  607 ft       Top:  4819     Base:  4212
   Lifts:  2 chairlifts, 2 rope tows

3B. Who remembers these lost ski areas?

       Bald Nob

       Blowing Rock

       Cherokee

       Chestnut Ridge

       Deep Creek Lake

       Gold Mtn Enterprises

       High Meadows

       Mattaponi

       Mountain Run

       Mountaintop

3C. What fun!  The research has already produced two trivia questions:

    1)  What ski area in the region had an Italian-built "gondola"?  

    ANSWER:  BEECH MOUNTAIN listed an "Italian gondola" from 1968 thru
    1976.  We were hoping for a "real" gondola but further research
    indicates that it really was an enclosed chair built by Carlevaro
    & Savio, the same manufacturer as for the two "gondolas" cum
    enclosed chairs at MT. SNOW in the mid-sixties.

    2)  What ski area had a "Mt. Cranmore Skimobile" type lift?

    ANSWER:  We had thought that the Mt. Cranmore skimobile was
    unique; however THE HOMESTEAD, in Hot Springs, VA had a similar
    device from 1966 to 1976 which was variously described as a
    "trestle car" or a "ski mobile".

4.  LOST SKI AREA FOLLOW-UP and OTHER NEWS

 a. DOUBLE AGENT?   We have two field agents assigned to Utah.  BORIS
    handles the northern areas and ED handles the south.  Recently we
    sent Ed off to check out the CEDAR CANYON Winter Sports Area, an
    area which kept appearing on highway maps back in the seventies.
    Ed used to traverse the canyon between his job at Bryce Canyon and
    his future wife's home in Cedar City.  All he remembers was a
    toboggan/sled area (and visions of his wife, of course).  

    Ed hit pay dirt when he asked his Father-in-Law about CEDAR
    CANYON.  Sure, he replied.  It is operated by the town of Cedar
    City and STILL operates at the same site (Wood's Ranch), using a
    portable rope tow.  There are no permanent facilities.  Locals
    call it "Wood's Ranch", not Cedar Canyon.

    Then Ed's Father-in-Law told him about a SECOND ski area which he
    himself had set up back in the fifties in his capacity as head of
    the PE Department at Southern Utah University.  It employed a war
    surplus rope tow and lasted into the late sixties.  It was called
    the "COLLEGE RANCH Ski Area" and was adjacent to Wood's Ranch.

    So Agent Ed returned from the field with TWO lost ski areas and
    asked to be promoted to Senior Field Agent.  Granted.    The
    promotion ceremony is really neat.  We especially like the kissing
    on both cheeks part.

 b. In response to your comments and questions, here is a repeat of
    our original entry for the FUN VALLEY ski area near Denver.

 FUN VALLEY   (Homewood Park), [closed 1970],  Located in Deer Creek
   Canyon about 5 miles south of Tinytown.  Operated from 1965 to
   1970.  Lift complement seems to vary by source.  In their own ad in
   the 1968 Denver Post, they claimed to have two chairlifts.  Two
   folks have mentioned that the Littleton (or Arapahoe) High School
   ski team practiced there.

   Vertical Drop:  550 ft       Top:           Base:  6900  (est.)
   Lifts:  1 single chair, 1 rope tow, 1 poma    (night skiing)

 c. THE CASE OF THE UNKNOWN GONDOLA - During our tram and gondola
    research we ran across the following:  There once was a ski area
    with a real live four-place gondola that rose 3700 feet (3rd
    largest ski area vertical in the U.S.).  And you and we never
    heard of it.  Instant trivia:  Where was it?

    Give up?  The area was called HIGH WALLOWAS (we are not making
    this up!).  It was located in northeastern Oregon near the town of
    Joseph on the shore of Wallowa Lake.  It operated from 1979 to
    1984.  The gondola was originally the only lift and served the
    entire 3700 feet of vertical, on Mt. Howard.  The area had a base
    lodge, a ski school, and a 3.5 mile run through ungroomed powder.
    Two Mitey Mites were added in 1981, to serve beginners.  The ski
    area is closed now but the GONDOLA still operates for sightseeing
    in the summer months - find it listed under "Wallowa Lake" (Has
    anyone seen it or ridden it?).

    Another exciting trivia find!

 d. GO ASK ALICE - The most expensive houses in VAIL are located in
    the trees on a hillside between the main Vail base and Lionshead.
    Ross Perot has his house there.  One house we call the "mushroom"
    house because of its rounded top.  It also looks like a salt
    shaker or perhaps a pagoda.  We have toured the house.  It has
    four floors, with the lowest being storage and dorms, the 2nd
    being the main bedrooms, the 3rd being kitchen and dining room,
    and the top floor is a lounge/living room with windows all around.
    The garage is separate and is located a full "story" below the
    bottom level of the house.  

    So picture yourself coming home from a hard day at the office
    (selling another house for a million or doing another knee
    operation for a half million) and all you want is to be on that
    top floor, pouring an iced tea or some such.  But first you have
    to climb four - count them - four flights of stairs.  Would you
    want to do that?  The owner didn't and doesn't.

    The owner of the mushroom house has installed a two place
    CHAIRLIFT which runs from the garage up to the top level of the
    house!  Ingenious, yes?  Now you just climb out of the car, sit
    down, press a button, and you are whisked to the treetop lounge
    level.  Never underestimate the ingenuity (or bank account) of a
    Vail homeowner.

 e. LE MASSIF - Back when we were discussing "strange ski lifts" Mark,
    one of our Canadian readers (we have several, eh), suggested this
    area as one with a unique lift system.  LE MASSIF, located near
    St. Francois, Quebec, has a vertical drop of 2550 feet, a base
    lodge, and a ski school.  Their lift system?  "Nine heated school
    busses which carry skiers to the top".

 f. INSERT (SKI AREA) NAME - If anyone wants to see a repeat of a
    specific lost Colorado ski area, just ask.

5.  STEEL WHEELS II

    We have just completed the Fall 93 version of our annual
    combination Fall foliage and steel wheels tour of lost Colorado
    ski areas.  Not as successful as last year, but we picked up a
    little info, as follows:

 a. FWIW, the MONARCH CREST (sightseeing) gondola (atop Monarch Pass)
    is a fixed grip system and has six gondola cars.  Since it is
    fixed grip one has to "run" to get into the cars, but they move
    very, very slowly.  We recommend this ride.  Great views.

 b. OURAY - The small children's hill in a city park is still there.
    A metal plaque attached to a rock says that the area is now called
    "Lee's Ski Hill", named after a townswoman who is instrumental in
    keeping it operating.

 c. IRONTON PARK - We had read about this area, a few miles north of
    Ouray but had never seen it.  The foundation for the burned down
    base lodge is still evident.  Runs thru the trees and a possible
    lift tower are also visible.  However we did not have the time to
    hike the area and verify ski run and lift locations.  Next time.

 d. HESPERUS - This area is about 12 miles west of Durango adjacent to
    US 160.  It has a chairlift and intact base lodge and snowgroomer.
    However we have no idea whether it still operates.  One "clue"
    tho, is that there are lights for night skiing - which we don't
    remember from our visit two years ago.

 e. STONER and DALLAS DIVIDE - are slowly becoming fading memories,
    but are still visible.

 f. TELLURIDE - The topic here is the new town to slope GONDOLA which
    has been under construction for two full building seasons and was
    scheduled to open this Fall.  The towers are up (no cables) and
    construction crews were hard at work on the upper and lower
    terminals (there are also two intermediate terminals).  However,
    the lower terminal, which perches on the bank of a stream was
    delayed awaiting a wetlands disturbance permit from the Corps of
    Engineers.  We checked with the Visitor Center and they reported
    that the scheduled completion is now Fall, 94.  Too bad.

    BTW, this gondola is strictly for skiers living or staying in town
    or who ride the town shuttle bus.   There is no parking at the
    base terminal and not even a decent base lodge.

 g. REDSTONE - Once again, no time to investigate.  (We had out-of-
    state family in tow)  We now know that the old REDSTONE ski area
    was NOT located at the Redstone INN but rather at a facility
    further back in the woods which is variously called the Redstone
    LODGE, Redstone CASTLE, or Cleveholm Manor.

    In the Redstone area we happened on a film crew working on the
    Disney movie "Tall Tales".  It is a period western starring
    Patrick Swayze.  According to a work associate, Swayze owns many
    horses and is an accomplished rider.  Some scenes will be filmed
    at the old company mining town of Gilman, near Vail.

 h. VAIL - We observed that the new "Pride Express" detachable quad on
    upper Lionshead is coming along nicely.  We also checked out the
    chairlift at the "mushroom house".

6.  THE PENULTIMATE SKIING QUESTION - WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT
    CONTRIBUTIONS TO SKIING?      Which items or processes have
    contributed most to the success of skiing in the U.S.?   We will
    do this question in three parts in this and future issues:  

    1)  Our suggested list of candidates (which Mark and Snavely have
    cogitated on for months) and a request for your thoughts.  

    B)  A list of the most logical suggestions (from you and us) - and
    a request for your votes on the top five.  

    III)  A published list of the biggest vote getters.  

    OK, this is Part A (parts II and 3 to follow) and here are our
    suggestions:  metal skis, buckle boots, step-in bindings, ski
    brakes, the automobile, increased leisure time, warm ski clothes,
    Winter Olympics on TV, Warren Miller films, Suzy Chapstick.

    We have rejected the jet plane and "neon" ski outfits.  What are
    your suggestions?  Send them in and we will compile a list of the
    most likely, and then have a vote.  One early suggestion was
    "stretch pants" (from a woman, no doubt).

    BTW, we rejected the jet plane by using reverse logic, as follows:
    How would "skiing" be affected if there were NO commercial jets?
    Probably not much because the 2 hour (DC-8) flight from Chicago to
    Denver would be 3 hours on a prop plane (DC-7) - not significant.

7.  EPILOG

 a. Please include your CITY NAME for our records.

 b. Note to Michael, of Sandy Utah, oh ye of little faith (or is that
    "Doubting Thomas"?):  Send your snail-mail address and we will
    mail you a genuine PARK CITY brochure showing the infamous (and
    obscure) "underground ski lift".

 c. Does anyone know anything about Tennessee ski areas called "Cedar
    Cliff", English Mtn", or "Renegade"?

 Cheers from THE COLORADO SKIER

   "The major products of North Carolina are tobacco and enormous
   amounts of phlegm."
                                                  Dave Barry


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