82.4 F
Tahoe City, CA
Sunday, August 20, 2017

25 years of writing columns

Since I got my first job writing a weekly column for the Vail Daily about 25 years ago for 52 columns a year, for 25 years, 1,300 columns equals a lot of words. One of those columns appeared soon after it snowed 99 feet at Mount Baker one winter. Another when it started to become a 7- or 8-hour drive...

Pomona jumping

The many twists and turns of the Pasadena freeway were now behind me as I drove up to the front door or the five-star Huntington Hotel in my high mileage, 1950, fire-engine red Chevy panel delivery truck. I already had more than an hour of driving in Southern California traffic behind me, and my eyes were burning badly from...

Montana skiing

After traveling the road for 55 years with my skis and my cameras to share the freedom of skiing with the rest of the world, I was invited to Montana for the first time. It was a unique invitation to the state because when I arrived there, I first skied on a 14,000-acre piece of private property with three...


Stepper Hall, the son of some friends of ours in Montana, sent me the following e-mail, “I’m writing my senior thesis on small business in the ski industry and I’d like you to help me with the question: ‘How can a small ski business survive in the ski industry that is dominated by a few big companies?’ ” Most of...

Escaping in the dark

In 1930, we were headed northbound on a narrow, two-lane road in the San Fernando Valley called Ventura Boulevard. Our family’s entire possessions were jammed in and on top of the car because we had again moved in the middle of the night to avoid paying back rent. Apparently, my father didn’t feel like working and since it was...

The club

I have never turned down the infrequent offer of a free ride in a private jet. Laurie and I were living in Vail and enjoying the good life of skiing every day, many of which were with our friends, Jack and Joanne Kemp. Jack had introduced me to someone with a wild idea to build a private ski resort in...

Phone call spur found memories

A surprise phone call from a long-silent, former cameraman of mine recently led to a half an hour of reminiscing. Brian Sisselman, many years ago had just graduated from UCLA film school and wanted to be a ski photographer in the worst way. He showed me his sample reel that included footage from some of my own films that he...

Knee-deep powder snow

As I’ve said many times, when I produced my first ski movie in 1949-50, there were less than 15 chairlifts in the world. Everyone who went in the ski business in the next 25 years was an innovator. One of those innovators was an Austrian named Mike Wiegele who talked his father into an airplane ticket to Canada, but...

Klaus Obermeyer, 94 years young

It was nice to congratulate Klaus Obermeyer this month on his 94th birthday. I think he is the ultimate entrepreneur in the American ski industry. He owns and manages the largest ski-only clothing company in America. His trip to the top was not an easy one. When I first met Klaus in July 1948, he was way over his head...


This has been a winter of extraordinary weather patterns and snowfalls. So far, 2014 has had more snow fall in Detroit and Chicago than either city has had since 1884. The north polar icecap has increased by 900,000 square miles. The surf in Southern California was estimated at more than 25 feet recently to the delight of every surfer within...


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