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Trivia #23 - Published 5 April 1997

The Colorado Skier Trivia


This is part of a series on Skiing and Ski Area TRIVIA. It is posted separately from our companion series on "LOST SKI AREAS", "THE COLORADO SKIER - SKI NEWS", and "TCS LISTS". Check 'em out.



A. Once again, we are running out of original ski related trivia questions. Your contributions would be appreciated.

B. There being no further editorial remarks - On with the Big Show!


a. How were the following folks involved with skiing or the ski industry? Sir Arnold Lunn, Dick Durrance, Roland Palmedo

b. Name the 4 BIGGEST ski area OWNERS in North America in terms of total "skier days" at their combined ski areas.

c. At which SKI AREAS are the following ski runs? (easy!)

  • Hump, Dromedary, Bactrian, Sphinx, King Tut
  • Ambergris, Beluga, Blubber, Harpoon, Spout

d. What is a "porron" and how does it relate to southwestern skiing?

e. NOSTALGIA QUESTION - There are 10 cable car/trams at U.S. ski areas. Only one state has two: HEAVENLY VALLEY, CA and SQUAW VALLEY, CA. WHERE are the other 8 CABLE CARS?

BONUS ONE: [Several readers have suggested this question] (open question) Which U.S. ski areas have CHAIRLIFTS which CROSS? [Our preliminary list includes: ATTITASH, NH; COPPER MOUNTAIN, CO; LOVELAND, CO; and HEAVENLY VALLEY, CA]

BONUS TWO: What is ASPEN? Is it a tree?, a resort town?, a ski area?, a ski company? When you say "Aspen" it certainly isn't clear that you mean the ski area (Aspen Mtn). That's why locals call it "Ajax". No confusion there. (OPEN QUESTION): [suggested by a reader] Which ski areas carry more than one name? [Preliminary list: ARAPAHOE BASIN is A-Basin or The Basin; MT REBA is Bear Valley; MT Mansfield is STOWE; etc.]

BONUS THREE: That stretch of pavement to the right of the right-most highway lane is usually called the "shoulder", but not always (not in New England). What is it called in your region?


a. Each state has a "point of highest altitude". Are any of these "highest points" sites for formal ski areas?

ANSWER: STOWE, VT is on MT MANSFIELD; MAD RIVER, OH is on CAMPBELL HILL; ARIZONA SNOW BOWL, AZ is on HUMPHREYS PEAK; MT GREYLOCK, MA has a small ski area; there are several ski areas on MT HOOD, OR; and MAUNA KEA, HI has a sometime "4wd" ski area.

GUESSES: Everyone guessed Stowe and Mt Hood. Reader SCOTT (OH) clued us in about Campbell Hill. He says it is located in Bellefontane - pronounced "Bell Fountain". That is typical of the Midwest, pronounce things literally as opposed to New England where everything is slurred (e.g., Peabody is not pronounced "PEA body", it is pronounced Peebadee - said real fast. You remember Campbell Soup? - pronounced cambel (as in gamble); at my high school in MI, we had a Mr. "Camp Bell". Hey Scott, how do locals pronounce Campbell Hill?

b. At which SKI AREAS are the following ski runs?

  • Model T, Continental, Rambler, Riviera, Thunderbird
  • Broadway, 7th Ave, Park Ave, Fifth Ave, 42nd St

ANSWER: Hidden Valley, PA and Hunter Mtn, NY

GUESSES: Several folks got Hunter, but y'all wanted the car one to be in Michigan!

c. In the U.S. there are 4, 6, and 8 passenger gondola cars and at STRATTON (now at VAIL) 12 excited, friendly, and hopefully well-showered skiers can ride together. Question: Where are/were there 2 and 3 passenger gondolas?

ANSWER: SUGARBUSH, VT and CRESTED BUTTE, CO had 3 passenger gondola cars and WILDCAT, NH still has a 2 passenger version.

GUESSES: 3 folks got Sugarbush and Wildcat, a couple more just Wildcat, and only one person remembered the one at Crested Butte.

d. How were the following folks involved with skiing or the ski industry? Jim Curran, C. Minot Dole, John Jay, Fred Pabst, Count Felix Schoffgotsch?

ANSWER: CURRAN (Union Pacific) invented the CHAIRLIFT for Sun Valley; MINNIE DOLE is generally responsible for starting the SKI PATROL and for getting the Army to create a cadre of mountain ski troops; JOHN JAY was the first lecturing ski movie photographer, thus paving the way for Dick Barrymore and Warren Miller; PABST (beer "scion" for you x-word puzzle freaks) invented the J-BAR and started many ski areas, including STRATTON, VT (at one time Pabst owned 17 ski areas). The COUNT discovered the Idaho site for SUN VALLEY.

GUESSES: BRUCE (CO) got all 5! Jack (WA/MT) got 4, missing only Curran. The highest recognition rate was for Dole and Pabst.

e. NOSTALGIA QUESTION - How many SKI AREAS have some kind of BIRD name in their title?

ANSWER: Eaglecrest, AK; Eagle Rock, PA; Gull, MN; Hawksnest, NC; Loon, NH; Pajarito, NM; Snowbird, UT; Jay, VT; Mohawk, CT

GUESSES: Folks with a "White Book" got most except "Pajarito" (which means "Little Bird"). Everyone else got Snowbird.

BONUS ONE: Survey - How many of you have had to be RESCUED from a skilift? (For us, only once - a chairlift derailed at Mammoth Mtn. We were lowered to the ground (with skis on) via a harness which clipped around both thighs and the waist. The thighs carried the weight and the waist band kept you from falling out. Very clever.)

RESPONSES - Amazingly, most of the responses were - NEVER. DAVE (NY) has been rescued 4 times (!) and BILL (CO) 3 times. Several readers have participated in practice rescues as rescuer or victim. SKIP KING had the best story. As a patroller he was sent up a chairlift to check conditions early in the AM. The lift supervisor then decided not to open the chair that day and it was shut down. Two hours later someone remarked: Anyone seen Skip? ...... Oh, oh. Runner-up story: DAVID (NY) has fallen off 3 lifts! [and a few rugs! ;-)]

BONUS TWO: Survey - In your part of the country (like where you grew up) what do you call a non-alcoholic, sweet, carbonated BEVERAGE?

ANSWER: In general, its: West - COKE; Plains and Midwest - POP; Mid-Atlantic - SODA (taking over); New England - TONIC (dying out)

GUESSES: We will list your regional observations.

  • COKE - Calif, South
  • POP - Ohio, Colo, Minn., Ohio, Colo
  • SODA - East, Texas, CA, VA, New England, Boston, NJ, East, NYC, MD
  • TONIC - Boston, NY, Mass

JAN-ERIK had the best answer: Where he grew up, soft drinks were called "brus". (He grew up in Norway!)

BONUS THREE: "What better way to spend an autumn afternoon". WHO (often) said that and WHAT were they referring to?

ANSWER: ABC-TV football announcer CHRIS SCHENKEL said it at the beginning of every COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAME he broadcast.

GUESSES: Three of you knew it was college football, but you all said Keith Jackson. Interesting. (Schenkel now announces bowling)


a. LOST NEVADA - Loyal reader NICK (CA) recently skied at MT ROSE and DIAMOND PEAK, in NV. Nick asked about 3 "Lost" ski areas he discovered along the way. The first was TANNENBAUM which is at the Reno end of the Mt Rose highway. This is a small area which has been closed since 1981. Details when we do Lost Nevada. Up the hill (towards MT ROSE) slightly is SKY TAVERN. This area started as MT ROSE BOWL way back in 1945. Changed its name to Sky Tavern around 1966. Data petered out around 1978 with mention of Junior Ski Programs (Reno schools?). We assumed that the area had closed but Nick reports that it is still in operation with a parking lot full of school buses. Hmmm. Nick also asked about SLIDE MTN. Actually this was the original area on Slide Peak, opening in 1953. Adjacent "Mt Rose" didn't come along until 1965, but when the two areas merged, the MT ROSE name was kept even tho the combined area is located on Slide Mtn, and "Mt Rose" is actually across the highway!

b. RED HILL, NH - As follow-up to our discussion about OSSIPPEE MTN, near Moultonboro, reader BRUCE (NY) recalls the Red Hill ski area near Moultonboro, but west of Hiway 25. We had just discovered this area on an elderly map and in a 1951 book. Seems to have a platterpull and modest vertical. Bruce and his cousin have skied there in recent years.

c. MT WHITTIER, NH - This area had a gondola, T-bars, and rope tow. One reader wondered if this was the only ski area with a gondola and NO chairlifts. Actually Crested Butte (CO) opened (1962) with a gondola, T-bar, and J-bar (no chairs). FWIW the T-bar still operates.

d. DIXIE MTN, OR - New reader DANA (OR) asked about this ski area: It was located on Dixie Pass on US 26, 20 miles east of John Day. It operated from about 1960 to 1987. One rope tow and a vertical of 80 ft. (!) A reader said the area wasn't visible on a recent driveby.

e. ATTENTION ALL SOUTHLAND FIELD AGENTS! Nick, from Malibu, CA, says he can't be a full-time TCS field agent unless a meteor hits and changes the climate. Well, a meteor did hit Denver and turn it into Dallas and Kansas City (for a TV movie). In La La land you can check out the following "lost" ski areas on a Sunday afternoon: Cerro Noroeste on Mt Abel; Buckhorn, near Kratka; Movie Slope, near Baldy; Magic Mtn/Crystal Ridge, Happy Hill, Snow Forest, Clifford Lynn, and Rebel Ridge at Big Bear; Ski Villa in Carbon Canyon; Palomar; and two areas near Mt Laguna, east of San Diego. When you finish those, we will start you on the Southern Sierra. Happy hunting!


a. SPICY RUN - This brand new area in Latham, OH, near Chillicothe, opened on 31 Jan. It is the first new U.S. ski area since WHITETAIL, PA (1991). "Spicy Run" (named after their tacos - and the results) has 600 feet of vertical, a Borvig chairlift, a handle tow, 100% snowmaking, and night skiing.

b. TEMPLE MTN, NH has declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

c. JACKSON HOLE - Will be adding a new gondola and new base facilities next season.

d. KILLINGTON - Two rumors. The Killington double-chair will become a quad. Also, Killington has donated some land to the state in return for permission to connect with PICO.

e. SQUAW VALLEY - Is thinking of replacing their overworked gondola with what would be the first of the new two-cable gondolas in the U.S. It would have 30-passenger cars. Squaw is talking to GARAVENTA, which has built similar systems in Crans-Montana and Verbier in Switzerland.

f. BERTHOUD PASS, CO - This area has been closed since 1990. New owners have just obtained Forest Service permission to re-open and hope to get going by next ski season.

g. MITTERSILL, NH - This area, next to state owned CANNON MTN, has been closed since 1979. There are rumors that the state of NH has appropriated funds to refurbish lifts and cut connecting trails to Cannon. What have you guys heard?


a. There are center pole quads at WILMOT, WI (1978), SKI LIBERTY, PA (1981), POWDER RIDGE, CT (1971), and ALPINE MTN, PA (1985).

b. T-BARS - Reader JOHN (VT) asked about the TWO types of T-bars. We can only remember one: The Tee is like a pick-ax with a 4 foot wooden handle and a 3 foot cross-bar. The handle is connected to a cable which winds into a spring-loaded spool fastened to the haul rope. When loading, the Tee is pulled down by a lift operator. John remembers another kind, more like a platter-pull, which has a long handle and no spool. We just found a pic of one like that in a 1965 ski mag (at Blowing Rock, NC). We are guessing that the cable/spool types are built by Constam. Our records indicate several "Hall" and "Roebling" T-bars in VT. Maybe John saw one of those brands.

We have seen two kinds of platter-pulls. On bunny slopes the platter is attached to a long pole which is permanently attached to the haul rope. Unoccupied platters do not reach the ground. Advanced platters usually are detachable and an operator hands the rider the disc end and jerks down on the top to attach the mechanism to the haul rope. On steep slopes, an unoccupied platter would bounce along the ground, because of the long pole. (The B-90 Poma at Loveland is this type.)

Everyone complains about riding a T-bar alone or with unequal size partners - hard to stay in the track. We always rode them alone like a Poma. Just stick the Tee vertically between your legs then twist to a horizontal position and ride up like a Poma. (It helps to be tall)

c. QUEBEC CITY FUNICULAR CRASH (follow-up) - Professor GUNN, our man in Montreal, reports the news: During the investigation all eyes looked to builder OTIS ELEVATOR, but they defended by producing an inspection report wherein they recommended to the owner/operator that the cable be replaced. However, a few days later, Otis did admit blame. The ride is still closed (no big deal in a Quebec winter?).

d. QUAD STOPS - We characterized as "unusual" the HS quad at VAIL with the midway unload station. Readers pointed out that the HS Quad at SILVER STAR, BC works that way and the new HS at TIMBERLINE has a midway loading station for summer use.

e. NEW TRAM - We just discovered a new tourist tram/cable car at Juneau, AK. It was built by Poma and rises 1740 ft (60 passenger cars) from a cruise ship dock to a tower on Mt Roberts. One more way to separate the cruise ship passengers from their moola. It does have a nice view, tho (of the cruise ship).


a. SNEAKY TRIVIA ANSWER - In the Snickers TV commercial, a man is carefully painting the end-zone for the Kansas City Chiefs. As he finishes, a football player says: "Great job but who are the CHEFS?" The painter then mutters: "Great Googely Moogely". Five (yes 5!) readers knew this one. Two readers caught it after several watchings or when their kids noticed. One person thought it was too easy. One LOVED the commercial (Have you seen the same guy paint the lines on an ice hockey rink?). One reader said he walked up to a person with a KC logo jacket on and said: "Nice jacket but who are the Chefs?" The jacket wearer replied "I get that a lot lately". !!!!

b. SNEAKY TRIVIA - What famous TV PI also said "Great G... M..."?

c. SNEAKY TRIVIA - What TV ad character says: "What a maroon!"

d. "VOLCANO - FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN" - Anyone know where this (crummy) TV flic was filmed? It looked like a small town in the northwest - big trees and lots of snow. Supposed to be at a large ski resort but wasn't. Only one brief shot of a non-operating double chair. The ski runs were (badly) painted on the volcano. You could "see" the set decorator at work: "Let's lean a couple of snowboards against that railing. Have two folks with skis over their shoulders walk by in the background. Have an SUV with skis on top drive by, etc."

e. LOST SKI RACES (follow-up) - Reader PAT (OR) points out that the "Golden Rose" race still exists altho it is just a local's race now. Someone suggested the "Inferno" race down Mt Washington, NH as another big time race. This infamous race was held only a few times (in the 30's and 40's), limited by weather conditions, lack of lifts, and lack of a formal ski area support system.

7. TO SKI OR NOT TO BE (Is that a question?)

It's time for our annual survey of MARGINAL SKI AREAS. Please let us know if you think that any of these ski areas was DEFINITELY OPEN or DEFINITELY CLOSED for the 96/97 season.

  • CA - Kit Carson, Shirley Meadows, Snow Forest
  • CO - Chapman Hill, Cranor Hill, Hesperus, Lake City, Ouray
  • ID - Bald Mtn, Kelly Canyon, Little Ski Hill, Snowhaven
  • IN - Pines
  • MA - Pine Ridge
  • ME - Black Mtn, May Mtn, Spruce Mtn
  • MN - Quadna
  • ND - Ft Ransom
  • NH - Highlands, Lynx Creek
  • NJ - Belle Mtn
  • NM - Cloudcroft
  • NV - Elko Sno Bowl
  • OR - Ferguson Ridge, Warner Canyon
  • SD - Great Bear
  • VT - Maple Valley, Prospect Mt
  • WA - Echo Valley, Hurricane Ridge, Loup Loup
  • WY - Eagle Rock, Pine Creek


a. After we noted that a 1953 book on SQUAW VALLEY had pretty neat pix of their infamous "jigback tramway", reader NEILL (NH) said: Aren't all trams "jigback"? Actually, mostly yes. And since Squaw has a real tram we should have been more specific. In 1953 they had a jigback "tram" where the two "tram cars" were actually 2 groups of (6 or 8) seats lined up parallel to the cable. Skiers rode sideways and the cable stopped for loading. Strange device!

b. A while back, a reader asked which ski areas have "mines". The area which obviously comes to mind is PARK CITY, UT. There are several impressive looking mining structures scattered around the slopes and there is the infamous mine train/elevator formerly used as a ski lift in the 60's. Next door DEER VALLEY is honeycombed with mines and some sections are off-limits to skiers due to the danger.

ASPEN MTN is supposedly honeycombed as well, but we don't recall seeing anything in the winter. There are mine tailings across the valley from TAOS. In BRECKENRIDGE there are mine tailings along the Blue River left by dredges. At KEYSTONE, many of the ski trails are named after mines in the vicinity.

c. HEAVENLY VALLEY "Olympic Downhill" trail. JOHN (VT) asks (2nd time?) about the relationship of this trail to the 1960 SQUAW VALLEY Olympics. NONE. The Nevada side of Heavenly didn't open until 1967. H.V. held several World Cup races in the early 70's but none was a downhill. The "Men's Olympic Downhill" trail was opened in 1972, apparently built in an attempt to lure a World Cup downhill. Didn't happen and by 1978 the chairlift serving the lower portion of the trail was removed. The trail no longer has enough vertical for an FIS downhill course. [Suggesting a future trivia question: Which ski areas have closed/removed terrain, trails, and/or lifts?]


a. Way back in Sep 1995 we counted the 400th different person to write to TCS. She was MELISSA, worked at OKEMO, and promised inside info. We like to hear from ski industry folks. Skip King, from Sunday River, is a regular reader/contributor, Kathy works for Doppelmayr, and there are a few patrollers from the NY, VT region. However, Melissa warned us of a temperamental E-mail reader and, sure enough, when Mark "replied" it wouldn't talk to us. Are you back on line, Mel? If we ever get caught up on our statistics, we should be up to 500 readers. This number is not to be confused with our E-Mail list which currently stands at 210 (plus the Ski-VT folks).

b. NICK, (CA), a loyal TCS reader, helped to "codify" the psyche of a TCS reader and in particular a TCS Field Agent. He said: "All TCS readers consider themselves deputized, armed, and authorized to investigate any and all matters related to movement on snow." Neat! Also, Nick says (about his latest ski trip): "I poured over maps on the way up and while driving to the slopes my head swung from left to right in hopes of finding a rusty pulley, a piece of discarded tow rope, or a weathered sign indicating the last resting place of some long forgotten ski area". Wow! Are you guys up to his standards?

We have a new code to add: Where are our Mt Rose and Diamond Peak TRAIL MAPS, Nick?


[This is a new feature wherein we get to ask dumb questions like Andy Rooney or just rant and rave like Tom Magliozzi (the Car Guy).]

a. Why are there no ski areas in SOUTH CAROLINA? Surrounding states like AL, GA, and NC have ski areas. The top elevation in SC is 3560 ft, contrasted with AL - 2405 ft and GA - 4784 ft. Why come?

b. The Denver Post ran an article entitled "MORK'S PLACE" wherein they talked about the Victorian house in Boulder which was used for "exteriors" for the "Mork and Mindy" TV show. Mork, the alien, came to live at Mindy's house. Why isn't it called MINDY'S PLACE?

We used to ski with a couple named Mark and Mary who came to be called (of course) Mork and Mindy. Once when our gang was meeting for lunch at an on-mtn ski area restaurant we walked up to our table and asked "Has anyone seen Mork and Mindy?" Within 30 seconds a stranger ran over and asked us "Are they really here? Are they skiing?" Sure.

c. Once we were sitting in an airport snackbar between planes wearing a ROSSIGNOL tie tack (Does anyone remember TIE TACKS? - we barely remember NECKTIES!). A stranger walked over and asked if we worked for Rossignol. This guy must have been very observant as the tie tack was about 1/4 inch in diameter.

SNEAKY TRIVIA - What IS the Rossignol logo? Hint - It features the French tri-color and an animal. What kind of animal?

d. Tempus Fugit - Remember the Winter Olympics in Lilliput? Remember Tommy Moe, Picabo Street, Dan Jansen, and Dave's Mom? Last winter wasn't it? Wrong. The next Winter Olympics (held every four years) are only 10 months away! Time flies.

e. Do you feel as old as we do? JOHN GLENN, the 2nd US astronaut in space and the first to orbit the Earth (you all must remember - it was on TV) has announced that he will not seek another term in the US Senate due to his age - He is 75. Aaaargh! [We watched Marques Johnson play for UCLA; his SON now plays for them. We watched Henry Bibby play for UCLA; his SON is the point guard for Arizona.]


A reader asked why there are so many FUNICULARS at European ski areas, and none at U.S. resorts. After pondering the answer we have added two more parallel questions. Why are there so many CABLE CARS in Europe and only a few in the U.S.? And why does a typical European ski resort have lots of cable cars, funiculars, and T-bars and very few chairlifts and why does a typical U.S. resort have lots of chairlifts and no cable cars or funiculars? The answers can be divided into three areas: History, Geology, and Geography.

HISTORY - There has been skiing in Europe for a lot longer than in the U.S. There was recreational skiing and ski races in Europe in the teens, 20's, and 30's. Except for some really early races in the CA gold country, skiing didn't become big in the U.S. until ski trains in the early 30's and ski lifts in the mid-30's. The rope tow was invented in 1932 and the T-bar in 1934. Before that, Europeans traveled to the ski slopes on trains and cog railways and once there, got up on the mountains via funiculars and cable cars. The chairlift was invented in 1936, but in the U.S. Please remember that back then communication and travel were much slower than today. By the time that Europe heard about the chairlift and came to the U.S. to see it, WWII had started (1939). The double chair was invented in 1947, also in the U.S. Once again, a delay before introduction in Europe. Summary: European ski areas used funiculars and cable cars because that's the only kind of ski lifts that were available when their ski industry started. In the U.S. we built chairlifts (and T-bars).

GEOLOGY - Europeans ski in the Alps, which are new mountains, very steep and jagged. Sometimes the only way up into these type of mountains is via funiculars and cable cars. OTOH, the only steep, jagged mountains in the U.S. are the Rockies, Tetons, and Sierra Nevadas. There are 54 peaks over 14,000 ft in Colorado, and not one has a ski area. Ski areas tend to be on more manageable 11 and 12,000 foot peaks. And talk about difficult access. The Loveland, Copper, and Vail ski areas are actually ON freeways. Places like Breck and Aspen lie on decades old flat paved highways.

There are only two ski areas in the Tetons, Grand Targhee and Jackson Hole. And the exception that helps prove the rule, Jackson DOES have a tram. You geology fans will know that the great escarpment in the Sierras is only on the East side. On the West side where most of the ski areas lie, the terrain is quite peaceful. On the steeper East side there are only two ski areas, Mammoth and June and these are actually located on Sierra foothills.

In New England ski areas also lie on or close to freeways. In the middle west ski areas are created by paving a farmer's field for parking and throwing up a few lifts on the hill behind the barn. No access problems there. Summary: funiculars and cable cars are needed in Europe due to the rugged terrain and conversely are not needed in the gentler slopes of the U.S. ski country.

GEOGRAPHY - Funiculars and cable cars are expensive to build, operate, and maintain. To justify their cost they need to operate not only in the winter and summer but in the fall and spring as well. That means there must be a large population nearby ready to ride. Europe has a population density far greater than the U.S. Proof: Let us compare the Alps with the Rockies on an area and population basis. We will define Europe to be France, Benelux, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy. The Rockies will be New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. You will be amazed by the comparison.

Europe: 551,000 sq. miles. Population 236,000,000

Rockies: 639,000 sq. miles. Population 9,000,000

So the population density is 30 times as great in Europe. They have the folks to ride those funiculars and trams. Anecdote: Last Nov we attempted to visit the New England Ski Museum and ride the adjacent Cannon Mtn aerial tram. Neither was open. NH has a population of 1,100,000 hard working, non-tram riding, free souls. Summary: Europe has the population density to support the cost of operating funiculars and trams. The U.S. doesn't.

We hope this little essay answers the question. Next question?


a. Please provide your CITY NAME (and YOUR first and last name) in your first E-Mail to TCS. Why? Because we asked you to.

Cheers from THE COLORADO SKIER (aka Snavely)

"TCS newsletters are supported, in part, by generous donations from skiers staying overnight in the Gerald Ford bedroom in the Presidential wing here at TCS publishing headquarters."

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