>A Lost River Range ski area?

>The student of American ski history will take note of the period from the late 1930’s thru mid 1950’s as a time when rope tows proliferated, some in the most unusual locations. Typically, a light truck would be jacked up and the rear wheel would provide motive force for the rope. Assuming the skiers grip was strong enough, he could get pulled up 100′, maybe 150 vertical feet.
Well known rope tows in our area were located on the east sides of Teton Pass, and Pine Creek Pass. Less well known are the ones constructed by farmers and ranchers in rural east central Idaho.
The motivation for someone to construct such a mom and pop rope tow contraption probably wasn’t financial. Perhaps the rationale was best summed up by Bud Johnson (1919-2009) who founded the Kelly Canyon Ski Resort in 1957. The Eastern Idaho Ag Hall of Farmer said he just needed something to do in winter. Skiing was and is a great way to get thru an Idaho winter.
There may have been a rope tow that operated in Idaho’s Lost River Range. Remains of wheels and cables can be found on the north side of Hill 5720′ in the Arco Hills segment of the range, a six mile drive NE of the town of Arco by way of Arco Valley.
Although I know nothing more of this particular operation, on 4/18/93 I was intrigued enough to ski a north facing bowl of an adjoining 7227′ peaklet which I reference as Mahogany Snow Bowl. It was possible to motor right to snowline at the 6000′ base of the bowl. After hiking up I cautiously skied directly off the top. The hard slippery crust tested the limits of my 3 pin gear and leather boots. In fact, in my log I admonished myself to ‘take ice axe next time, as a fall would have meant a long slide.’ Despite this, and threatening weather, the final entry note consisted of one word: Fun! View SW to the upper part of 7227′ Mahogany Snow Bowl in the Arco Hills, Lost River Range, April 18, 1993.

Article by
Rick Baugher
Feb 11, 2010

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5 responses to “>A Lost River Range ski area?

  1. >Thanks for contributing your passion for Idaho history, Idaho peaks, and skiing in Idaho! Beyond that, thanks for the continued pursuit of adventures and your sheer determination to continue exploring. I hope to ski with you one of these days. I saw your truck in the parking lot yesterday, but unfortunately i was hauling injured kids off the ski hill and was not able to visit the igloo. Perhaps next time!

  2. >Rick, I've always admired your passion to explore the quiet places of our great state. Thanks for being an inspiration, guide and mentor!

  3. >Hey Rick! Great to see your input here..I too am very appreciative of your spirit of adventure, incredible knowledge of the hills and willingness to share. I believe my first real skiing in the backcountry was with you, not to mention the years of tele-teaching. Thanks! Hopefully we can get out there sometime again..

  4. >I've been to this ski hill back in '95 or '96. There were some fun looking lines for sure. Short season tho. This place is mentioned in Ron Waters' ski book.

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