Power of Place Episode #45 | Echoes From Alpenglow – Lowell Skoog

Click into your bindings as we launch from the highest peaks of the North Cascades with ski mountaineering historian Lowell Skoog, author of Written in the Snows: Across Time on Skis in the Pacific Northwest, published by Mountaineers Books and 2022 winner of the National Outdoor Book Award (NOBA) for historical writing.

Born to a family of Nordic ski jumpers, Lowell pioneered ski mountaineering routes across remote reaches of the Cascade and Olympic mountains. His stories abound in evocative details and introduce memorable characters like Wolf Bauer, Olga Bolstad, Hans Otto Giese and Milnor Roberts.

Chronicling the birth of Pacific Northwest skiing from a little-known sport of immigrants to cultural cornerstone, Lowell conveys the wonderment of Scandinavian settlers waking to Seattle’s first big snow in 1916; the camaraderie enjoyed by founders of early Pacific Northwest ski clubs; and the chaos of the 1934 Silver Skis race. His characters range from backwoods trappers to the heroic fighters of the United States Army’s 10th Mountain Division—some of whom would later develop North America’s postwar ski industry.

Amidst our current backdrop of climate change, Lowell’s snowy memoirs—portrayals of sanctuary and loss—are also a poignant record of a threatened pastime.

"Being up in the mountains and having that connection with the natural world…is really healthy. It can help you forget about short term concerns; you are in a place that’s been there forever…and will be there forever.” - Lowell Skoog

Host: Edward Krigsman
Guest: Lowell Skoog
Engineering: Daniel Gunther
Photography: Travis Lawton
Administration: Mary Mansour
Music: Theme by Tomo Nakayama as performed Grand Hallway; Additional music by Andrew Weathers and by Ryan Love as performed by Fox Hunt. “Ninety Pounds of Rucksack” performed by the 10th Mountain Division Army Band.
Archival Audio: “Charles and Marion Hessey films, circa 1939-1971,” University of Washington Department of Special Collections; The Mountaineers Archives.

Special thanks to Trevor Kostanich and Rob Frishholz for guidance with this episode, which is dedicated to the memory of Carl Skoog, Stephanie Subak and to the others in Lowell’s circle lost while traversing the mountains they loved.