Skiing Pioneers - Jans' Founder Shares a Bit of Family History

Skiing Pioneers – Jans’ Founder Shares a Bit of Family History

The members of our family were early pioneers in the sport of skiing in the state of Utah. My father and mother skied the Wasatch Range before there were any resorts, and that experience was passed onto my brothers and me at an early age.

“Dad would give us $5, which covered both of our ski passes and lunch for the day.”

The Cost of Skiing

My dad became director of the ski patrol at Alta in the early days of that resort. He was also one of the original investors who helped build Alta’s first ski lift.

My older brother, in his teenage years, was allowed to drive the family station wagon on ski trips to Brighton and Alta – as long as he took me with him. Our younger brother was yet too young to ski at that point, so he was left behind.

On those ski trips my brother would fill the car with his friends and I had to sit behind the third seat, where we usually stored everyone’s boots. But I didn’t care as long as I was able to go skiing, which I loved so much. Dad would give us $5, which covered both of our ski passes and lunch for the day. If you want to do the math that was $2 each for ski passes and 50 cents apiece for lunch. Incredible!

When my brother and I began ski racing as juniors, my parents were often joined by a few other parents as they timed and officiated at the events. When my parents came along, I didn’t have to sit in the way back of our station wagon with the ski boots anymore, which was nice.

Young racer goes around a gate

The First Peterson Ski Shop

In the late 1930s, my dad had the first ski shop in Salt Lake City, in the basement of Hibbs Clothing Company. He then opened a store in Sugar House called Pete’s Sport Shop, which he ran until the early 1950s.

Dad had also become a manufacturer’s representative, selling ski equipment to other retailers around the West. He ultimately closed his store in Sugar House to focus on his sales job, which required him to be out of town frequently.

During the Second World War, Dad was even a ski instructor for the 10th Mountain Division at Camp Hale in Colorado, teaching soldiers how to ski. These same soldiers ultimately served time in Europe fighting the war in the mountains on skis.

“My brother would fill the car with his friends and I had to sit behind the third seat, where we usually stored everyone’s boots. But I didn’t care as long as I was able to go skiing.”

A Family’s Passion

To say that my dad was involved in a wide variety of facets of the ski industry is an understatement. Growing up skiing with my family was certainly an incredible experience worthy of reflection, even if I did sometimes have to ride in the back of the bus.

Jan Peterson

 

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