Thursday, September 20, 2012

Douglas Ski Bowl Cabin

The Ski House of the Day is the Douglas Ski Bowl Cabin, on Douglas Island, in Juneau, Alaska. The original cabin is one for the ski-history it actually doesn't exist anymore, but here's a look back at it and at the Douglas Ski Bowl:

The 16 x 18 ft. log cabin was built in 1936 through the combined effort of the Civilian Conservation Corps, Juneau Ski Club and the US Forest Service.  This was a time when skiers hiked up the mountain to ski down the Douglas Ski Bowl...and found the cabin to be a welcome refuge from the Alaskan elements. Later, mid-century skiers accessed the area via a ride on "Oola - the Juneau Ski Train" a Tuckerman Snow Cat that pulled a sled carrying 40-50 skiers up to the bowl!  Eventually, Eaglecrest Ski Area was developed here through a  community effort, after federal highway $ funding of a road.  The ski area has been repeatedly saved by community efforts, and today, Eaglecrest is owned and operated by the borough of Juneau as a public ski area (photo by David McMaster):

According to the Alaska Lost Ski Area Project, the Douglas Ski Bowl Cabin was eventually renamed the Dan Moller Cabin (Moller was the forest service foreman in charge of the CCC construction of the cabin, and a charter member of the Juneau Ski Club).  The cabin was restored in the mid-1980's; and according to Juneau Empire in 2009, the "cabin is one of Juneau's best loved and most used backcountry shelters."

The deteriorating original cabin was torn down in 2010, and a new one (bigger, brighter, and stronger to withstand the snow-load) was built in its place.  The US Forest Service says it's available for rent but they caution to be advised it's open to the public as a warming shelter during the day (this information could be out of date as it appears to describe the original cabin rather than the replacement).

Legend has it that the original Douglas Ski Bowl Cabin saw its share of skiers' parties back in the day...and based on this sight along the trail leading up to the new cabin, the tradition lives least with someone's birthday party:

The Douglas Ski Bowl Cabin is a great little piece of skiing history to look back on while pondering those trailblazing skiers of the early / mid-century Alaska...and while celebrating a birthday!

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