Climax in Lake County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
Skiing on Top of the World
Climax Ski Area opened in 1937 with no lifts and only a few runs cleared by volunteers. The Continental Ski Club was formed by mine employees in 1941 (“Continental” referred to the Continental Divide; the area was also sometimes called the “Continental Ski Course”).
The ski club cut more runs in 1941, and installed a rope tow with the company's help. Equipment from light bulbs to hardware to the diesel engine that powered the rope tow found its way from the mine to the slopes.
Climax Ski Area drew as many as five hundred skiers on weekends, including 10th Mountain Division soldiers from nearby Camp Hale during World War II. The nation's only air defense warden to be assigned duty at a ski area served at Climax, prepared to douse the lights in the event of a blackout alert.
Erected by Climax Molybdenum Company & the Federal Highway Administration.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Notable Places • Parks & Recreational Areas • Sports • War, World II.
Location. 39° 22.048′ N, 106° 11.32′ W. Marker is in Climax, Colorado, in Lake County. Marker can be reached from State Highway 91 11 miles south of Interstate 70, on the right when traveling south. Marker is located on the west side of Colorado Highway 91, at the summit of Fremont Pass, directly across from the Climax Molybdenum Mine, within a small park containing historical markers and mining exhibits. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Climax CO 80429, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. More Than Just a Mine (here, next to this marker); Top Secret (here, next to this marker); The Big Shot (a few steps from this marker); The Highest Compost Pile in the World (a few steps from this marker); Water Treatment Protects Downstream Users (a few steps from this marker); Highway in the SkyLife on the High Line (a few steps from this marker); Welcome to Climax! (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Climax.
More about this marker. Marker is a large composite plaque, mounted on a large boulder.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Climax Historical Park
Also see . . .
1. Jack Gorsuch 1903-1987. During the 1940's, Jack worked at the Climax Molybdenum Mine on Fremont Pass. There, at Chalk Mountain, he started a ski club and saw to the construction of a 1200 foot rope tow in 1941. He continued to be the guiding spirit behind the activities which grew into the Continental Ski Area. A man who relished adventure, Jack passed the love of skiing on to his children, who grew up to be true champions of the sport. (Submitted on September 3, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Dave Gorsuch. He was a member of the 1958 World Championship Ski Team and a member of the 1960 Olympic Alpine Ski Team. This Colorado native has contributed greatly in building and defining the sport of skiing in Colorado and beyond for over five decades. Moving to the Vail Valley in May 1966, Gorsuch was one of the early leaders and personalities that helped map and establish Vail as a community and the world-class destination resort it has become. Dave and his wife Renie helped to build the hospital, (Submitted on September 3, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
3. Drilling, Blasting, and Skiing. The biggest natural recreational resource at Climax was fine powder snow–an annual average of 350 inches. Many miners enjoyed cross-country skiing, but in fall, 1936, Climax employees Scott Gorsuch and John Petty asked Resident Manager Tex Romig for permission to carve a few runs for a downhill ski area on the east-facing slope of Chalk Mountain, just north of the summit of Frémont Pass. Using wires and lights “borrowed” from the mine, volunteers worked nights clearing trees and burning and blasting out stumps. The Climax Ski Area opened in January, 1937. But with no tow or lift, only the most dedicated, conditioned, hard-core skiers would–or could–make more than three runs per day. Nevertheless, the little ski area became so popular that the first Climax Ski Meet, held on April 25, 1937, drew a crowd of 300, half from Climax, and the remainder coming from Leadville and the Tenmile mining camps. (Submitted on September 3, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on September 6, 2018. It was originally submitted on September 2, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 131 times since then and 55 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 3, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.