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Category Archives: Treasure Hunting
To escape from the humdrum daily round, to enjoy the beauties of nature and the open air, to roam far away across the frontiers. . . That is the dream of young and old! A dream which can come true for everyone, however, even without a well-filled purse and plenty of time to spare. No matter how short your vacation may be, you can have a wonderful trip by using the finest of all vehicles for tourist travel: the bicycle.
Vintage travel brochure from the Netherlands National Tourist Office. (Thank you to my husband for treasure hunting this gem!)
A very different use of a Hall double chairlift. Photo by Leonard Freed.
POWDER HILL SKI AREA Middlefield, Connecticut – Home of Early Bird Skiing. 3 Chair Lifts, 2 T-Bars, Tows, Ski School, Night Skiing, Snow Making, Steak House and Cocktail Lounge. Overnight Lodging. Pre-1970 postcard, photo by Clifford Scofield.
A couple weeks ago at Elephant’s Trunk Flea Market, I came across this reproduction concert poster for the ill-fated 1970 music festival at Powder Ridge Ski Area in Middlefield, Connecticut. I was surprised and delighted with the find and also thought it would make for a varied yet quick blog post. Well, I was wrong about the quick part – I am totally lost in what was intended to be cursory research of this event.
Growing up just a couple towns away from Powder Ridge, the festival has always been a bit of local lore but I never stopped to find out the specifics. To me, it was primarily of interest because of the ski area venue. I am very late to realize, nearly 44 years after the fact, that this disaster of a festival was national news.
The short version – in the wake of Woodstock, the three days of music at Powder Ridge was poised to be the next big festival — a roster of top billed acts helped sell 100,000 $20 tickets — just days before the start of the festival, the concerned residents of tiny Middlefield fought for a court injunction to stop the festival — headlining acts never arrived (save for one, Melanie Safka) but thousands of fans did despite attempts by the state police and town to turn away attendees — the most common estimate seems to be that 30,000 people came, camped and essentially drugged away the music-less days at Powder Ridge – drug use was rampant and not the happy, peaceable marijuana high of Woodstock but a more angry and dangerous version with unprecedented numbers of bad trips (~ 50 people an hour) thanks to free-flowing tainted hallucinogens – lack of food, utilities and bathroom facilities added to the chaos.
A simple Internet search reveals no shortage of articles, accounts, photos and video of the Powder Ridge Festival. I am captivated by the photos by Leonard Freed, an esteemed photojournalist who spent most of his career documenting civil rights and social issues. Adding a wonderful layer to his stunning images and talent is that his wife, Brigitte, was his photo developer – an art itself. I love the practical and romantic dynamics of creative spouse partnerships – go team! (Click here for a lovely NYT article about the couple.) In keeping with the ski theme of this blog, I have selected photos featuring chairlifts – but please follow these links to see a wider presentation of Freed’s extraordinary portfolio and documentation of this event which now resides at The Davison Art Center at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, only a few miles away from the festival site.
As for Powder Ridge, the ski area shut down in 2007 but is currently in the process of rebuilding and resuming operations to become a year-round mountain park and resort.
If any readers attended this festival or have anecdotes, please write in as a comment to share!
2/8/1951 Sun Valley News Bureau Photo: MIDWINTER HOLIDAY AT SUN VALLEY, IDAHO – Mrs. Montgomery Orr, Wayne, Ill., leaves the Lodge for a day of skiing on the snow-covered slopes. Mrs. Orr will be a guest at the famous western skiing village until February 10.
4/5/1958 Sun Valley – Union Pacific Photo: AT SUN VALLEY, IDAHO, Friday, the Washington boy’s American Legion Junior team won second place in team standings in the Giant Slalom held on Baldy mountain in the 15th annual Western States American Legion Junior Championships being held this week end. From left: Jim Brule, Yakima; Mike Buckley, Yakima; Brent Whiteman, Yakima; Erik Giese, Seattle; and coach Walt Taulbee, Seattle.
3/31/1939 International News Photo: DARTMOUTH SKIER, POINT-SCORER AT SUN VALLEY Sun Valley, Idaho. . . Dick Durrance, of Dartmouth, two-time winner of the Harriman Cup, pictured in action during the third annual Sun Valley Open Skiing Tournament recently. Durrance placed fourth in the Open this year and won the national four event combined race.
WARMUP HUT Baldy Mountain Sun Valley, Idaho Photo: Union Pacific Railroad
TRAIL CREEK CABIN SUN VALLEY, IDAHO During the summer months Trail Creek Cabin is a popular place for horseback parties to take early morning breakfast. It is also the scene of picnic parties, steak fries and barbecues. In winter it is a favorite goal of bobsled parties for late supper, followed by dancing.
The handwritten note on this vintage postcard reads: July 1, 1952 Tuesday This is a very exciting place. There are things to do every minute. This afternoon we went for a swim in a beautiful pool, also went bike riding. Tonight there is dancing and ice skating. Tomorrow morning we’re going horse back riding. Love, Reeva
I have lost my favorite East Coast ski buddies for a couple weeks to their vacation in Sun Valley, Idaho. So this post is a kind of reverse postcard to them. Greetings from home – hope you are having fun, sun and lots of bottomless turns!
Built by the Union Pacific Railroad and home to the world’s first chairlift (1936) – the role of this resort to ski development and heritage in the U.S. and abroad is beyond compare. I am not going to tackle any Sun Valley history or anecdotes at this time – so please let these vintage images tell some of the story.
Today I woke up to 10” of fresh snow and the governor requesting people to stay off the roads. That meant no school for my teacher husband, no office for me.
Last week in Innsbruck, Austria, I found these very sweet vintage photos of schoolgirls building a snow fort – perfect for the spirit of this mid-week snow day!
Popular Mechanics Magazine, January 1948. Excerpt from cover story titled, Skiers Awaken a Bonanza Town: After a half century, Aspen, Colo., is a boom town again. The spark that set it off this time was completion of the world’s longest chair lift for skiers, instead of the world’s richest silver horde.
The Schoolgirls’ Own Library, No 247, 1956: The Rival Schools in Switzerland by Elise Probyn. A monthly reader for girls, printed in England. (Thank you to my thoughtful and eagle-eyed friend Ali Levy for finding this thrift gem!)
Wishing everyone the happiest of holidays!
Vintage wrapping paper. . . reminding me that I still have Christmas gifts to buy and wrap!
What is the best alpine-related gift you have ever received? Or given?
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I made a run north of the border to scout Peak Performance gear for the upcoming ski season.