Marriott Librarys Ski Archives are a hidden treasure for winter
It doesnt have the musty
smell of a darkened attic. Doesnt look like one either. No cobwebs,
dusty steamer trunks, and old hat boxes.
Appearances aside, the Special Collections Department on the fifth floor
of the J. Willard Marriott Library is the attic of the University of Utah.
More than a million photos, some dating back to the 1880s, confirm that
status. So do thousands of documents, books, booklets, bangles, and bunting,
including vintage copies of the Utonian yearbook, decades-old student
orientation handbooks, scientific papers, engineering and mining documents,
political rhetoric, theses, significant research scribblings, and buildings
and grounds blue-prints drafted in the days when the University was a
This trove of trivia and triumphs is also home to a burgeoning segment
with particular relevance to the 2002 Olympic Winter Games and Paralympic
Games: the Ski Archives, the holy grail of winter sports history in Utah
and the West.
The archives contain a host
of snow-related treasures, including:
16,000 photographs, some dating to the 1800s Nearly 200
films and videos 75 oral histories, spanning 80 years of skiing
in the West 100 personal collections, ranging from comprehensive
photo and file collections to scrapbooks, letters, and $4.50/day ski lift
ticket stubs Records of the Professional Ski Instructors of America/Intermountain
Division Photo collections of the U.S. Forest Services role
in ski safety and multiple use of public lands. Numerous individuals who
nurtured winter recreation and helped make it a major economic force in
Utah have donated materials to the collection, which continues to grow.
Among its prominent collections are those of:
Mark Strand, a Norwegian immigrant who discovered to his dismay that
Salt Lake residents didnt do anything with snow except shovel
it and cuss it. A fervent promoter of skiing and ski jumping, he
formed the first ski club in the region in 1915.
Alf Engen, another Norwegian immigrant, who won more than 500 ski
tournaments, set world ski jumping records at Ecker Hill (near the Utah
Olympic Park) in the 1930s, coached the 1948 U.S. Olympic Team (comprised
mostly of Utahns), made powder skiing into an art form, and, as director
of the Alta Ski School, taught thousands to ski.
Bill Lash BS53,
founder of the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA).
Jim Gaddis BS62,
national collegiate ski champion under the University banner.
Alan Engen BS63
BFA63, former University ski team member, director of the ski
school at Alta, and historian/author.
Pat Miller MS78,
whose 25-year tenure (1974-99) as University ski team coach included eight
combined, one mens, and one womens NCAA championships, and
251 skiers who won All-American recognition.
Got a scrapbook full of photos and news clippings of your skiing exploits?
The University of Utah J. Willard Marriott Library has a place for
it: the Ski Archives.
In an effort to locate, preserve, and catalog items of historical
interest, the archives program has formed a University Alumni Committee.
The group, directed by Katrina Terzian Jensen BSN88 MSN93,
a member of three University ski teams and a two-time All-American,
encourages ski team alumni to contribute their collections (or copies
thereof) to the library.
For more information, contact Greg Thompson, assistant director of
the library and co-founder of the Ski Archives, at 801-581-8046 or
Like its thousands of entries,
the Ski Archives has an interesting genesis.
In 1988, when Alta Ski Lifts
Company was observing its 50th anniversary, it looked to purge its storage
areas of photos, maps, charts, newsletters, and news clippings, some dating
to its 1870s mining roots.
The late Sue Raemer, a ski instructor at Alta and development director
at the Marriott Library, heard of the proposed housecleaning and contacted
Greg Thompson MA71 PhD81, assistant director for special collections
at the library. Their archival instincts and foresight salvaged the treasured
cache. Supplemented by a financial contribution from the ski lifts company,
those files formed the foundation of the Ski Archives.
Raemer served as the first chair of the Ski Affair advisory board from
1988 to 1993, then as co-chair until her death in 1995. Her contribution
to the librarys collection is rekindled annually at the Ski Affair
fund-raising dinner when the Sue Raemer Memorial Volunteer Award is presented
to an individual who exemplifies her zeal and enthusiasm for the Ski Archives.
That zeal is even more evident as the 2002 Games approach. We have
received inquiries and photo requests ranging from NBC-TV to writers from
small newspapers in Asia and Europe as well as historians and researchers,
says Roy Webb BA84 MS91, multimedia archivist. As repository
of the records of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee of the 2002 Games,
the Ski Archives will be the guardian of a long and multi-faceted tale.
In addition, post-Games, in the summer of 2002, the $10 million, 29,000-square-foot,
privately funded Joe Quinney Winter Sports Center/Alf Engen Ski Museum
will open at the Utah Olympic Park, the repository of multi-dimensional
ski memorabilia for the Ski Archives.
The center/museum, along with
the Ski Archives (and its accompanying Web site, www.skiarchives.org),
will offer future generations an epic storyone filed right between
nostalgia and preservation.
Mike Korologos BS59, founding member of the Ski Archives
and longtime ski writer, is director of public relations for Riester Robb
Harris & Love.