1920 - 1929
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  • The Denver Rocky Mountain Ski Club dedicates its new Genesee facilities in February of
    1920 with a ski jumping tournament that brings rave reviews from some of the top
    jumpers in the country. (Municipal Facts, Jan, 1920; “Skiing in the Mountain Parks,”
    Feb/Mar 1920; Denver Post, Feb 22, 23, 1920; Colorado Transcript Feb 26, 1920)


  • The Denver-Rocky Mountain Ski Club is successful in bringing the national ski
    championships to Genesee in February of 1921. Thousands of spectators make the trip
    up the canyon to watch the jumping. **Carl Howelsen of Steamboat Springs wins 1st
    prize in the pro category. **Peter Prestrud is Colorado amateur champion. Lady ski-
    riders put on a jumping exhibition. (Municipal Facts, Jan/Feb/Mar 1921; Denver Post,
    Feb 21, 1921.)

  • Breckenridge’s first winter sports carnival is held in March. A 90-foot long trestle is built
    on Shock Hill. But the weather is warm, the snow is sticky; the in-run is slow; and the
    jumps are unspectacular. (Summit County Journal, March, 1921.)


  • It is probable that the first ski hill in Allenspark was contoured by Lars Haugen circa
    1917, but there were several injuries reported there and so the new Willow Creek Ski Hill
    takes shape in 1922, again laid out by Lars Haugen. Allenspark becomes part of the
    jumping circuit in Colorado for almost 20 years. The last tournament is held in 1940.
    (Longmont Ledger, Feb. 3, 10, 17,  Mar 17.)

  • The Denver-Rocky Mountain Ski Club hires Lt. Albizzi, an Italian Army officer, to instruct
    ski riding at the Genesee course on weekends. He demonstrates the Telemark turn and
    the Christiania turn with great flourishes; then wows the wannabes with a ride down the hill
    on one ski. (Municipal Facts Bi-Monthly, Jan/Feb, 1922)


  • The Rocky Mountain National Park Ski Club of Estes Park clears a jumping course on
    Old Man Mountain just outside of town. Meanwhile, Cesar Tschudin, a Swiss ski
    instructor, has been hired by the club to teach classes on ski-riding on Davis Hill in the
    center of town. The hill is the first lighted ski area in Colorado. (Estes Park Trail, Jan 4,
    18, 25, 1924.)

  • The first Fourth of July ski jumping tournament takes place on St. Mary’s Glacier. The
    tournaments continue through the 1930s with **Louie Dalpes winning several titles.  
    Denver University  and University of Colorado ski teams train on the glacier during the
    late 1940s and early 1950s. (Idaho Springs Mining Gazette, June 22, 1923; July 6;
    Rocky Mountain News, July 1, 1923.)

  • An unidentified newspaper article at Grand County Museum dated Feb. 19, 1923
    describes a bewildering array of styles at the Interstate Tournament held at Genesee.
    Galoshes came into their own for spectators, while women competitors wore mostly
    knickers and high boots with dazzling shades of woolly sweaters and scarves.  Some even
    sported jaunty tam o-shanters.


  • The first Winter Olympics (Nordic events only) is held at Chamonix, France.  **Anders
    Haugen, who had broken a world distance record on the Dillon Colorado hill in 1919, is
    captain of the U.S. Olympic team. Although he outjumps the Olympic gold medal winner,
    Haugen is marked down in style points and officially comes in 4th.  Almost 50 years later
    an error in the scoring is discovered which indicates he actually won third place. Although
    the IOC does not recognize petitions to change its records, Anders Haugen is awarded a
    bronze medal at a special ceremony in Oslo Norway 50 years later at the age of 86. (Vol.
    9, #1, Skiing Heritage, pp 26-28.)       

  • The Colorado Ski Association becomes active with charter members: Steamboat Springs,
    Hot Sulphur Springs, Dillon, Grand Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park (Estes Park)
    and Denver.                            

  • A jumping tournament is held at Glen Cove on Pikes Peak. **Louie Dalpes wins a  two-
    foot high silver loving cup donated by Spencer Penrose, owner of the Broadmoor Hotel in
    Colorado Springs. (Gazette-Telegraph, June 5-9, 1924.)

  • Telluride skiers board the Rio Grande Southern for a ski outing at Lizard Head Pass.
    Closer to home, they ski Bear Creek Canyon. Swedish and Finnish miners working at the
    Black Bear mine in Telluride ride tram buckets to work in the morning and ski home after
    work. (A Land Alone, Duane Vandenbusche)

  • Cesar Tschudin crosses Rocky Mountain National Park on skis with **Norton Billings
    and Barney Laycook to Grand Lake where they help Grand Lake skiers organize a ski
    club.  Grand Lake’s first jumping hill (which can still be seen across the lake) dates from
    this period. (Estes Park Trail, Mar.7, 1924)


  • The first tournament of the newly organized Colorado State Ski Association is held at the
    Genesee course on Jan. 18th. (Louie Dalpes file; Middle Park Times, Jan.9; and the Ski
    Sport, the 21st annual publication of the National Ski Association of America, Inc. for


  • The National Ski Association Championships (Nordic) are again held at Genesee on Feb.
    5 and 6. The Association holds its annual business meeting while convened for the
    tournament. Fireworks erupt when a group of skiers attempt to have America’s support
    of the international rules withdrawn because the international rules favor form of jumping
    over distance. The movement is quieted after it is pointed out that if America withdraws its
    support of the international body, the U.S. cannot participate in the 1928 Olympics.
    (USSA History.)

  • Homewood Park, located in Deer Creek Canyon southwest of Denver, hosts its first
    annual Nordic ski tournament under the auspices of the Western Amateur Ski
    Association. The tradition lasts until the beginning of World War II. (Leila Eriksen Rankin
    correspondence; assorted issues of the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News, 1927-

  • The Moffat railroad tunnel under the Continental Divide is finished during the summer of
    1927, bypassing the treacherous Rollins Pass route. The superb alpine ski country
    adjacent to the West Portal of the tunnel becomes accessible. **Graeme McGowan finds
    his ski paradise there. (McGowan bio.)


  • Austrian, Rudolph Lettner invents steel edges, but they aren’t considered a necessity in
    Colorado’s powder snow until the late 1930s when ski trails start to get packed out.  
    (Nine Thousand Years of Skiing, quoting Lunn from Year Book 1930 of the National Ski
    Association of America, Inc. “Equipment Novelties for Skiers;” and the Blickensderfer

  • **Louie Dalpes of Colorado College wins the intercollegiate ski jumping title in Redwing,
    Minnesota. (Dalpes oral history tape)

  • On March 31 and April 1, 1928, in Austria, the first Arlberg-Kandahar race is run. This is
    the oldest open downhill and slalom event in which individuals race separately against
    time. (Guinness Book of Skiing) ---not to be confused with the Roberts of Kandahar
    downhill race in 1911 that had a geschmozzle start.


  • Colorado Springs skiers form the Silver Spruce Ski Club.  The club finds a home on the
    Merriman Ranch at Edlowe between Woodland Park and Divide where they construct  
    two jumping hills. The site sees action until 1936 when Colorado Springs skiers catch
    alpine fever and move to Pikes Peak for better downhill runs. (Gazette-Telegraph,
    assorted issues, 1930-1936; (**Don Lawrie audio tape.)

  • The University of Denver hosts the first collegiate ski meet “ever staged in the west.”
    Schools participating include Colorado College, Aggies (now Colorado State University),
    CU, Colorado State Teacher’s College (now the University of Northern Colorado at
    Greeley), Western State, and Mines (Colorado Springs Gazette, Feb.24, 1929.)

  • **Graeme McGowan, Garrett Van Wagenen, and Merriam Berger organize the
    Colorado Arlberg Club in April, 1929 to emphasize the sport of ski-running as opposed
    to ski jumping. McGowan has acquired the old construction buildings at West Portal and
    converts one into a club house which the Arlberg Club leases. (Trail & Timberline, March
    1928 and Dec. 1929.)

** Denotes Colorado Ski Hall of Fame

(Compiled by Patricia Pfeiffer, Chair, Colorado Ski Museum History Committee)