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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Ashton in Fremont County, Idaho — The American West (Mountains)
 

Bear Gulch Ski Basin

Eastern Idaho's First Ski Resort

 
 
Bear Gulch Ski Basin Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, June 23, 2017
1. Bear Gulch Ski Basin Marker
Captions: (top center) The toboggan was the first lift installed to pul skiers to the hilltop. Powered by a gasoline engine with cables wrapped around large drums, skiers paid 10 cents per ride.; (3 photos, top right) Bear Gulch was the site of many downhill ski teams competitions. Pictured here are the winners of the First Place Intermountain Jr. Race during the late fifties.; (bottom center) Bear Gulch offered challenging ski runs including the Dipper, Grizzly, and Bearcat. During 1948, a T-Bar lift was installed alongside the Dipper Run.; (bottom right) As Bear Gulch grew so did its popularity. A new lodge was constructed in 1948 to accommodate the many recreation skiers along with the visiting downhill ski teams.
Inscription. Look around you. You are standing amid a faded dream - a dream to create a premiere ski resort out of wilderness. Much of eastern Idaho during 1938 was considered a frontier when Forest Ranger Rufus Hall searched for a location to build Idaho's second ski resort. Idaho's first resort - built in 1936 was in Sun Valley.
A dream was shared by Alf Engen a world-class skier from Norway who eventually went on to coach the 1948 U.S. Olympic Ski Team. Looking upon a wooded hillside in the spring of 1939, Alf sketched on paper three ski runs that later became known as Bear Gulch Ski Basin.
Passenger trains traveling to Yellowstone just a few hundred yards from where you are standing brought skiers to Bear Gulch when the resort opened during the winter of 1940. Powered by a simple gasoline engine with cables wrapped around large drums, anxious skiers paid 10 cents to ride a toboggan to the top of the hill. Skiers coined the phrase "If you could ski at Bear, you could ski anywhere."
For the next 20 years Bear Gulch was regarded as Eastern Idaho's premier resort. When new ski resorts with longer runs began to open, appeal in Bear Gulch faded. Bear Gulch Ski Basin disappeared into the shadows after several attempts failed to revive the resort during the mid-seventies.
 
Location. 44° 
Bear Gulch Ski Basin Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, June 23, 2017
2. Bear Gulch Ski Basin Marker
9.294′ N, 111° 17.25′ W. Marker is near Ashton, Idaho, in Fremont County. Marker is on Mesa Falls Scenic Byway (State Highway 47) near Wood Road (Forest Road 367), on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Ashton ID 83420, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 7 other markers are within 16 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Teton Mountain Range (approx. one mile away); Big Falls Inn (approx. 3 miles away); Volcanic Calderas (approx. 7.6 miles away); The Three Tetons (approx. 9 miles away); Caldera Lookout (approx. 12 miles away); Harriman State Park (approx. 13 miles away); Harriman Wildlife Refuge (approx. 15.2 miles away).
 
Categories. Sports
 
Site of Bear Gulch Ski Basin image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, June 23, 2017
3. Site of Bear Gulch Ski Basin
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 14, 2017. This page originally submitted on October 14, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 70 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on October 14, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.
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