Ski museum opens for season, celebrates racing heritage

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  • Competitors at the finish of the slalom race, 1939 Montana State High School Championships.

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    Hellroaring Ski Club cabin. (FVSEF photos)

  • Competitors at the finish of the slalom race, 1939 Montana State High School Championships.

  • 1

    Hellroaring Ski Club cabin. (FVSEF photos)

The Ski Heritage Center Museum of Skiing is announcing its winter opening on Dec. 20 and its winter schedule.

The Ski Heritage Center Museum of Skiing is operated by the Flathead Valley Ski Education Foundation in the historic Saddle Club cabin adjacent to the Stumptown Ice Den in Whitefish. After two years of renovations and remodeling, the facility opened in July featuring a photographic exhibit portraying the history of skiing in the area before and after the opening of the Big Mountain Ski Resort in 1947, the Hall of Fame featuring 19 inductees to date, a mock-up of the original Hellroaring Ski Club cabin dating back to 1935 and rare film footage of skiing on Big Mountain in the 1930s.

New exhibits in the works include a tribute to the famed 10th Mountain Division “Ski Troops” of World War II, and a tribute to six Olympians who once called, or currently call Big Mountain aka Whitefish Mountain Resort their home base.

The Center will open on Thursday, Dec. 20, and will be open Thursday through Sunday through the ski season. Hours are noon to 5 p.m. each day.

For more information contact Tim Hinderman at 406-885-2730 or tim.hinderman@fvsef.org.

80 years of ski racing

The 2018-19 ski season marks the 80th anniversary of ski racing on Big Mountain. Even though the Big Mountain Ski Resort didn’t open until 1947, the “Mountain” served as the venue for the first-ever Montana State High School Skiing Championships in 1939, eight seasons before the opening of the Big Mountain Ski Resort aka Whitefish Mountain Resort.

“Hosting the State Championships in 1939 was an epic story,” commented FVSEF Executive Director Tim Hinderman. “Eighty-six competitors from 10 schools around the state traveled to Whitefish and then hiked from town up to the old Hellroaring Ski Club cabins — there was no road yet. They spent two nights camped out at the cabins and two days hiking up and racing on what today is Chair 2 terrain. And equally amazing — over 400 spectators made the same trek from town to watch this first-time event!”

Individual winners included Whitefish skiers Doug Smith in the Downhill event and “Pine Tar” Einan in the Slalom.

For more information contact Tim Hinderman at 406-885-2730 or tim.hinderman@fvsef.org.

This column is brought to you by the Flathead Valley Ski Education Foundation and the Ski Heritage Center Museum of Skiing.

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