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Bear Gulch Ski

Eastern Idaho’s First Ski Resort

Look around you. You are standing amid a faded dream—a dream to create a
premier ski resort out of the wilderness. Much of eastern Idaho during 1938 was
considered a frontier when Forest Ranger Rufas Hall searched for a location to build
Idaho's second ski resort. Idaho’s first resort—built in 1936 was in Sun Valley.

The dream was shared by Alf Engen a world-class skier from Norway who eventually
went on to coach the 1948 U.S. Olympic Ski Team. Looking upon a wooded hillside
in the spring of 1939, Alf sketched on paper three ski runs that later became known as
Bear Gulch Ski Basin.

Passenger trains traveling to Yellowstone just a few hundred yards from where you are
standing brought skiers to Bear Gulch when the resort opened during the winter of
1940. Powered by a simple gasoline engine with cables wrapped around large drums,
anxious skiers paid 10 cents to ride a toboggan to the top of the hill. Skiers coined the
phrase “If you could ski the Bear, you could ski anywhere.”

For the next 20 years Bear Gulch was regarded as Eastern Idaho's premier resort. When
new ski resorts with longer runs began to open, appeal in Bear Gulch faded. Bear
Gulch Ski Basin disappeared into the shadows after several attempt failed to revive the
resort during the mid-seventies.

[Picture Captions]

The Tobaggan was the first lift
installed to pull skiers to the hilltop.
Powered by a gasoline engine with
cables wrapped around large drums,
skiers paid 10 cents per ride.

Bear Gulch offered challenging ski runs
including the Dipper, Grizzly, and
Bearcat. During 1948, a T-Bar lift was
installed alongside the Dipper Run.

Bear Gulch was the site of many downhill
ski team competitions. Pictured here are the
winners of the First Place Intermountain Jr.
Race during the late fifties.

As Bear Gulch grew so did its popularity
A new lodge was constructed in 1948 to
accommodate the many recreation skiers
along with the visiting downhill ski team.

Don't miss the rest of our virtual tour of Fremont County in 2934 images.