For those who live in the basin, many relate to the outdoor sports and activities — but most haven’t learned about the birth of skiing, the struggle and success which help make Tahoe what it is today.
A new book, “Lost Ski Areas of Tahoe and Donner,” by Ingrid Wicken is set to be released on Monday, Nov. 9 and it dives into the history of skiing and some of the most popular ski areas that have been lost over time.
It wasn’t until the beginning of the 20th century that winter sports took off and transformed Lake Tahoe and Donner area to be a winter sports Mecca. New highways made it possible for the basin to welcome tourists to this winter wonderland getaway.
Wicken, dubbed as a ski historian, delves into the history behind the pioneers in skiing destinations like Clair Tappaan Lodge, Soda Springs, Yuba Gap Lodge and more. Wicken also explores the creation of the Sierra Ski Club in 1925 and also goes into the history of ski jumping.
Wicken has written four previous books on the history of skiing in California. After publishing Lost Ski Areas of Southern California in 2012 and 50 Years of Flight: Ski Jumping in California in 2017, Wicken decided she wanted to cover the entire state and Tahoe is one of her favorite places.
“I have been cross country and alpine skiing since the 1970s,” she said.
Wicken lives in Southern California, but learned to cross country ski in the winter of 1974-75 in Tahoe and Donner, after a friend took her to the mountain — she got hooked.
Not only has Wicken been skiing and collecting ski books for years, but she received her masters in physical education from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and her thesis was a biomechanical investigation of the diagonal stride on skis vs. roller skis. She is also a certified Nordic ski instructor.
Wicken wants readers to grasp the passion that the early founders had for the sport.
“They weren’t doing it for the money, they were doing it to provide an area for their family and friends,” she said.
Wicken said the beginning of her research was daunting because before she started the project, she didn’t know anything about these areas.
“Many of the people who skied these areas are no longer living,” she said.
Wicken connected with Diane Johnson from the Lake Tahoe Historical Society, Norm Sayler at the Donner Summit Historical Society, Chaun Morier at the Truckee Donner Historical Society and also did research at the North Lake Tahoe Historical Society.
She connected with the children of those who had skied the areas.
“It took a lot of detective work,” she said.
With firsthand experiences, ski libraries, and old ski magazines, Wicken wrote her book.
“No one has ever written about these areas,” she said. “I enjoy writing about ski areas whose history has not yet been written or is unexplored, so this is the first book to document the history of many of those old pioneer areas.”
The book will be available Nov. 9 at most local bookstores and is available on Amazon.
For more information on the author visit www.skilibrary.com.