Thursday, November 28, 2013

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 118

Two women skiing at Mt. Baker, 1937

This is a rather silly postcard but it does illustrate the popularity of skiing.  The date is 1937; the place is the Mt. Baker ski area located in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest of Whatcom County, Washington.  These two women are wearing regular street clothes with simple straps across their shoes for bindings.  It must have been a warm day as a couple of the men in the background are shirtless and the one woman is carrying a sweater on her arm.  The long, wooden skis seem primitive by today’s standards.  At a guess the ladies are off to do some cross-country skiing rather than downhill racing. 

There has been skiing at Mt. Baker since the 1920s.  Even though it is a distance to travel, 52 miles from Bellingham, the nearest city, it is a popular ski area with an annual average snowfall of 641 inches.  The record snowfall for Mt. Baker was 1,140 inches set during the winter of 1998/1999.  

Today the ski area is comprised of approximately 1,000 acres with 31 ski runs, 8 chairlifts and 2 rope tows.  The range of difficulty goes from about ¼ of the runs in the easy category, almost ½ half listed as more difficult, and about 1/3 as most difficult coded as single or double black diamond runs.  In 1937 the first rope tow was installed and there was something called a “ski escalator” that had been built in 1935/1936.   No mention was made about what the escalator looked like or for how many years it was used.  It was not until 1953 that the first chairlift was constructed.   The original ski lodge at Mt. Baker burned to the ground in 1931 and was not rebuilt; however, there are two private lodges there that were built in the 1940s.  One belongs to the Mountaineers the other one belongs to a church and is used mostly for youth snow activities. 

Mt. Baker has been featured in many still photographs as well as ski and snowboarding films because it is such a beautiful setting. 

For more information, see:

The postcard is a reproduction published by Discover Your Northwest and was available at the Verlot Ranger Station. 

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