Local Author Pens History of Early Skiing on Snoqualmie Pass

John Lundin's mother on Snoqualmie Pass

Photo of the author’s mother that inspired his research. Courtesy John Lundin.

Life-long skier John Lundin found a picture of his mom from 1939 with long skis affixed to her feet and ski poles in hand at the Milwaukee Ski Bowl on Snoqualmie Pass. He knew she’d loved to ski before he was born, but was surprised to find photos captured by The Seattle Times of her handing out awards to young skiers.

“I knew she skied and she probably told me stories, but like everyone else, you don’t pay too close attention to family,” Lundin said. “She graduated from college in 1938 and taught at Queen Anne High School. And because she skied, she was a faculty advisor to the Queen Anne High School Ski Club.”

Finding the photos of his mom took him deep into the history of skiing on Snoqualmie Pass before it was ritzy and accessible to the masses. His research turned into several papers published online and resulted in the publication of his book, Early Skiing on Snoqualmie Pass. It’s rich with antique photos and depicts times in the early 1900s when ski jumping dominated winter sports and was brought to this area by Norwegian immigrants.

Lundin, a criminal defense lawyer whose curiosity is often spurred by history, started researching skiing on Snoqualmie Pass a couple years ago as part of his work to help develop the Washington State Ski & Snowboard Museum. The foreword of Lundin’s book was penned by the president of the museum, David R. Moffett, whose family was among the early pioneers of Washington skiing.

Early Skiing on Snoqualmie Pass book cover

Courtesy The History Press

“One of the things that surprised me, given my family’s extensive history and involvement here, I thought I knew most everything about skiing history,” Lundin said. “When I got into it, I realized I knew very little. Just about everything I got into was brand new to me, even though my family’s been skiing for 70 to 80 years. That was exciting for me.”

Lundin’s literary preservation of area skiing is fascinating even for non-skiers, and is likely even more precious because Snoqualmie Pass is one of the most endangered ski areas in the country.

“It’s only 3,000 feet,” he said. “It’s right at the tipping point of rain and snow. I remember driving up there, and it would rain until like 100 feet to Snoqualmie Pass and then turn into snow. It’s always been a transition point, and we have such a temperate climate anyways.”

When Lundin first learned to ski as a young Boy Scout, one of his troop leaders would drive them up to a cabin. There was so much snow, the boys had to hike in from the highway and dig down from the second story and climb in from a window because it was packed in by snow. It’s hardly what it used to be, he said.

The proceeds from Early Skiing on Snoqualmie Pass will support the state ski museum; $12.17 on amazon.com.

is a contributing writer.
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