The Lift Line

The Lift Line is a blog on the history of skiing. The content is based on ongoing research for my dissertation. It offers a critical history of skiing that attempts to integrate skiing into larger historical trends. It also seeks to reveal the many things skiing can teach us about history more broadly. Read more below.

Latest Posts

How Much is a Life Worth?

On the night of February 13, 1885, the whole mountain ran. The papers reported that a mile-long avalanche raced down the mountain above the town of Alta, upturning trees and boulders, producing hurricane-force winds, and burying three-fifths of the diminutive mining town the three men would travel from. In the dead of night, the townspeople struggled to assess the damage. But as the sun rose over the canyon, death and destruction slowly emerged from the darkness.

Why do skiers find the cold so sexy?

Barely clothed women cover ski advertisements. But looking through a collection of old marketing materials, this ad for the Catskills from the early 1950s caught my eye. My first thought: “her butt must be so frostbitten.” In it, the woman sat almost entirely naked. Decked out in high heels, white gloves, and a suggestive fur coat, she perched herself on the edge of a snow bench. Sitting there, pants-less and shirtless, I can only assume she suffered from severe frostbite and hypothermia. But barely clothed women coat ski advertisements. So why did this one catch my eye?

From Bombing to Shredding: The development of metal skis may never have happened without the military-industrial complex

Howard Head was an average-sized man with a shiny bald head and ears that stuck out from his head, as though he were pushing them forward to better hear someone. He was also a famous man. At least, his skis and tennis racquets were famous. But sitting in the Archive Center at the National MuseumContinue reading “From Bombing to Shredding: The development of metal skis may never have happened without the military-industrial complex”

Skiing Snodgrass

One ski slid in front of the other. I was touring up Snodgrass in Crested Butte, slowly gaining altitude on a road that was packed solid by ski tracks. Moving up well-trod paths on skis is a unique and underappreciated feeling. It is comparatively easy, and with calmness comes time to think.  It is whileContinue reading “Skiing Snodgrass”

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