Skiing in Utah: A History

Skiing in Utah: A History

Published by Alexis Kelner, 1980
By Alexis Kelner


“Long before Utah skiers had become mere digits on a marketing statistician’s computer readout, they possessed names and personalities. Long before Utah skiing had evolved to become an “industry,” it was an avocation, enthusiastically pursued by a small, but constantly growing segment of outdoor recreationists.


This volume explores in detail the personalities, adventures, and achievement s of some of those who participated in the sport during the “good old days” and who in so many ways have helped to shape the present industry of “Utah Skiing.”



In each chapter I have attempted to utilize the language and idioms pertinent to the period under discussion. These were obtained from personal interviews of participants, from their written works, and finally from the reporting of ski activities by the local press. The chronology of events was derived from the day-to-day reportage of the press. Most quotations and extracts are referenced and documented for those who wish to delve deeper into the topics than is possible within this effort.


Throughout this volume I have attempted to examine philosophies and trends in public land management. Since most of the Utah ski areas are located on publicly owned forest and mountain lands I felt that an understanding of past land use conflicts is pertinent to those helping shape policy to avoid conflicts in the future.”
—Alexis Kelner, Oct. 29, 1980


Skiing in Utah: A History is a study of skiing in Utah from early days when it was essentially a form of transportation to the late 1970’s and the advent of ski resorts as embodied by Snowbird. The book covers various topics including ski jumping, avalanche prediction and control. It deals with specific ski areas including Alta, Brighton, Solitude, Park City and Snowbird. “In many ways the ski history of Park City and Snowbird illustrates the sport’s transition from avocation to industry.” Alpine ski racing and ski instruction are not covered in the book, the author postponing those topics to a later edition.

This book is out-of-print and so will be hard to find. As of this writing you will find one copy at the Salt Lake City Library. You may also find a rare copy at Ken Sanders Rare Books in Salt Lake City, or through

Skiing in Utah: A History is a treasure and is worth seeking out.