Skiing and the Ski Hut

Skiing and the Ski Hut

A good beginning, the Meany Ski Hut of Armistice Day! A promise of widened interest in skiing for the whole Northwest

Skiing and the Ski Hut

By Mrs. Stuart P. Walsh - "The Mountaineer Annual" December 15 1928.

Gray, snow-prophesying clouds overhead, whit-tipped undulating hills for a background, the club and national colors waving joyously from the freshly hewn flagpole, a hundred people grouped about, happily aware that the new ski hut was an accomplished fact, Doctor Meany towering like one of the pine trees nearby, expressing for those other Mountaineers the ideals of all outdoor lovers--such was the dedication of the Meany Ski Hut on Armistice Day, 1928

Twice before have Mountaineer shelters been dedicated, one as a base for forest explorations, one for climbing peaks. This third is unique in that it is to be dedicated to the sport of skiing and its existence but eight years after the first ski trophy was offered is nothing short of remarkable.

Its presence indicates further the leadership The Mountaineers have assumed in promoting this virile sport in the Puget Sound Country. This is no more then fitting: traditionally The Mountaineers have been pioneers. First, by opening up mountain climbing exploration as a sport, they pave the way to enlarged enjoyment of similar activities by the public. Second, in penetration of Paradise Park in winter and year by year proving the practicability of such an outing, they created the groundwork for the later opening up of the Park to winter tourists. Now, rightfully, our organization assumes and recognizes its leadership in a third field, skiing. How greatly our promotion of it will affect skiing in general can only be estimated by the scope of the Club's influence already proven in other Mountaineer fields

Eight years ago the building of a shelter cabin for ski enthusiasts was unthinkable. So unknown was the sport in the Northwest that the few men and women indulging in it were regarded as veritable superhumans by their sure but clumsy-footed brethren. To none but the most poised and daring did it occur that they, too, might master the art. It was therefore a happy shock to Club members in general when in 1921 the then devotees offered two cups, one to women skiers, one to novices, men or women.

A long list of eradicable achievements these by ski artists! A party of six encircled Mount Kathryn, going via Surveyor's to Rockdale Lake, to Mystery Lake and back via Oolalee Meadows. Two men skied the Big Loop from Stampede to Martin, a total of fourteen or fifteen miles. Another group went to Mirror Lake. A party of four cross-countried from Deny Creek to Melakwa lakes over the divide to Melakwa Pass, to Snow Lake and back to the Lode and reported this to be the finest trip in the Lodge country.

Silver Peak was twice conquered and the cirque below its summit frequently visited. Three men traipsed from the Lodge to Keechelus via Oolalee Meadows, Twin Lakes, Gold Creek and Keechelus. Six took the trip from the Lodge to Stampede via Stirrup Lake (this trek necessitated an overnight bivouac in the snow near the lake, but with a blazed trail put in over this route, it should be a successful one-day trip for athletic ski artist(s).

Perhaps the most noteworthy climb on skis was the attempt at the north side of Mount Rainier via Camp Curtis made in April 1928, by seven Mountaineers. Skis were used to 12,000 feet, after which ice conditions compelled their abandonment in favor of crampons. three men reached the summit successfully. Although skis were not of service for the whole ascent, their use up to the 12,000 foot level made the trip practicable at so early a season.

It is evident, then that the sport of skiing is responsible for a greatly increased enjoyment and exploration of our mountains in winter time. That it has fostered a "spirit of good fellowship among all outdoor lovers" is quite as apparent to anyone who has watched the gay camaraderie of a hillside of skidding, tumbling, flying Mountaineers as merry as their costumes! Not only has our own organization benefited but the joys of winter alpine activities have been introduced through Mountaineer leadership to many other groups, to young people in school clubs, in Camp Fire Girls, Boy Scouts and others.

So greatly has the enthusiasm for skiing grown that in 1927 plans began to formulate for a second club base to care for the overflow from Snoqualmie Lodge, perhaps the forerunner of several shelter huts scattered at a day's trek from one another, as in ski-wise Europe and the Appalachians. At any rate, the new site happens to be a day's journey from the Lodge. The location at Martin on the east and colder side of Stampede Pass guarantees a much longer skiing season then Snoqualmie, and it has many advantages. It is as adjacent to Tacoma as to Seattle, and the convenient N.P. schedules make it at least as accessible to Everett as is Snoqualmie. It is an easy five minutes' walk from the railroad. The transportation cost is little more then for the Lodge and less the for Rainier. It resembles Paradise in that is has long, unbroken hillsides where novice can gain confidence and artist mile-long runs and everyone find the slope of his choice.

Scenically, the location at Martin is pleasing, The Hut nestles in a little grove of young evergreens, pine, hemlock, fir and yew, while close by is a hill affording sweeping views into Keechehus and Kachess country. Encircling the close-by horizon are friendly, rounded, forested mountains, while from a point within easy walking distance one can see the sharp white silhouettes of the jagged peaks beyond Keechelus already gleaming in virginal snow.

A frame building is the ski hut, comfortable, serviceable. It is primarily a shelter cabin, a sort of storage battery where weary skiers can recharge their energy and, renewed, go forth to further adventures. One enter the front door and discovers a long, well-lighted, spacious room with easy staircases running up either end leading to dormitory quarters on the second story. An open kitchen at the far side sends out intriguing whiffs of bounteous feasts under way. Tables and benches sprawl about the room and canvas-back easy chairs invite one to sit for a bit near the round-bellied heating stove. There is no fireplace to lure one away from the outdoors. There is instead, creature comforts--warmth, rest, shelter, always subservient to the major interest--the white, swift slopes outside.

The lofty dormitories are equipped with fifty-two spring double-decker bunks and new mattresses. There are sinks with hot running water, mirrors aplenty and hooks to one's heart content.

A good beginning, the Meany Ski Hut of Armistice Day! A promise of widened interest in skiing for the whole Northwest