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Thanks for a great 75th Anniversary season!
Dave Smith, Marketing Manager
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Fireside Chat Brings Arizona Snowbowl’s Colorful History to Life
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Arizona Snowbowl’s 75-year history comes to life at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 6, in the Zane Grey Ballroom of the Weatherford Hotel as Flagstaff’s famous skiers share stories of skiing on pine needles, early equipment, building the first chair lift, competing on Arizona State College’s ski team and the community connection with our historic ski town! Bask in the glow of this Fireside Chat during Snowbowl’s 75th anniversary festivities as historian Jane Jackson moderates the panel with guests Dr. Wayne Frerichs, Jimmie Nunn, Arlene Kerr, Bill Williams, Karen Malis-Clark and Brian Dierker.
Dr. Wayne Frerichs grew up in Prescott and was an original member of the PreSKImos. He recalls watching skiers at Arizona Snowbowl’s Scissorbill Park in the late ‘30s, putting his own edges and grooves on his skis, and waxing them up. Former Snowbowl owner Al Grasmoen would give Frerichs and others free rope tow passes if they would sidestep or snowplow down runs to groom the trails. At age 87, Frerichs still enjoys time on the mountain with his neighbor, Jimmie Nunn. “I don’t ski moguls anymore, they’re hard on the knees. I just take it easy, skiing the blues. Snowbowl’s great grooming equipment makes it nice!”
Meantime, Nunn started skiing around his Flagstaff neighborhood in 1934 at the age of 7 on skis his mom ordered through the JCPenney Christmas catalogue. Since then, he’s glided through life on the first Flagstaff High School Ski Team, the Flagstaff Ski Team and National Ski Patrol. With ski memorabilia dating back to 1902, Nunn created the Arizona Ski Museum on Highway 180 with his wife, Jerry. She was America’s first female snow ranger, is known for her avalanche safety work and is the only Arizonan in the National Ski Hall of Fame. At age 85, Jimmie still loves skiing. “Once it’s in your blood, you’re going to be a skier forever.”
Arlene Kerr’s first trip to Snowbowl was at age 10 when her Dad took her up and they learned to ski together. These were the days when most skiing was on Hart Prairie and the only lift was a rope tow. Her skiing experience included cold hands and wet gloves that got dried out by the fire in the old Civilian Conservation Corps lodge. Much was lost when the lodge burned down in 1952, but not Kerr’s memories of her years on the mountain. Like Nunn, she grew up with former Arizona Governor and Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and his family.
Raised in Bisbee, former Flagstaff Unified School District Superintendent Bill Williams came to Flagstaff to attend Arizona State College. While there he learned to ski so well he became a member of the 1958 ASC Ski Team with Lattie Coor, who would become Arizona State University’s president, and Ralph Wheeler, the son of Flagstaff 1960s Mayor Rollin Wheeler. He also volunteered on the Flagstaff Ski Patrol spending many cold, late nights searching for lost skiers. “This was before snowmobiles. We’d go down Hart Prairie with a toboggan, load up the injured or confused skier, and take him out on Hart Prairie Road to 180.” Later Nunn got Williams involved in the National Ski Patrol. As superintendent, Williams and Snowbowl General Manager J.R. Murray started the FUSD 5th grade ski program.
Retired Forest Service engineering technician and public affairs officer Karen Malis-Clark fell in love with the mountain and with Flagstaff while skiing on winter break from college. Her Snowbowl experience includes taking and then teaching Northern Arizona University ski classes; instructing first-time and improving skiers including Bruce Babbitt’s sons; guiding a blind Forest Service regional director down moguls; and, measuring snowpack during white-out conditions to help scientists predict water runoff. “Arizona Snowbowl has been part of my family's winter memories for many years."
Longtime river running boatman, film location scout, actor and businessman Brian Dierker has guided filmmakers and scientists through the Grand Canyon and charmed the nation with his memorable performance as the lovable, compassionate hippy in Sean Penn's 2007 film, Into the Wild. Out of his love for skiing he turned his dad’s medical office building into the ski shop Humphreys Summit. Trophies line the walls from his days as a competitive skier and coach of the Flagstaff High School Ski Team. “My vision for Flagstaff is that businesses work together to better represent the ski area, promote each other and outdoor winter recreation.”
Hear more from Arizona Snowbowl’s colorful personalities at Wednesday’s Fireside Chat. For a complete list of Arizona Snowbowl’s 75th anniversary festivities, log on to www.arizonasnowbowl.com/celebrate.