Old SC Seat!

Sixty years of skiing

Bud Halley

Forword: SMS member Bud Halley published several articles in the Mugelnoos of his 60 years of skiing and connection with the SMS. They are written in his usual humurous style; only his yodeling is missing....

Several articles were scanned and posted in Dec 2006 by webmaster Reiner Stenzel.

Article 1 (December 21, 1995, Mugelnoos Number 723)


(HERE IS AN ADVERTISMENT THAT BUD HALLEY SENDS IN FOR INFORMATION) I'm in the process of writing an "oral history" primarily for personal use by family members that will be titled..... SIXTY YEARS OF SKIING

From the 1995 address list I see about 10 names that would identify "The Adolescent Effervescent" as my "handle" back in the 30's. I had my 73rd birthday Nov. 12th, and God willing will still be skiing in 1987, so I'm getting a head start!

I'm sure the Ski Mountaineers must have some reviews of our history. I would like to know who made the video-tape of our early "Mt. San Antonio Mugel-hupf" movie in which Wolfgang Lert was the fox that the best skiers chased down through the pinnacles.

In the hut on June 28, 1987 we celebrated the 50th anniversary of its building. John Wedberg spent many days at the hut in these later years encouraging us to keep it maintained, and we owe him a great deal. In the article that he plus Wolfgang Lert and Craig Dostie wrote for "Le Chronicle du Couloir" in Jan./Feb. 1992 I have to round-out my section on skiing in the Mt. San Antonio Area, but I shall also be looking for material about "The Big Pines Ski Club", "The San Gorgonio Ski Club", etc. as .....


I climbed to the hut in 1939 hooked like a stretcher-bearer to Walter Hennies with the pair of skis between us carrying a 12volt truck battery. In those days, eligibility for membership in "The 'Ski Mountaineering Section of the Sierra Club" was attained by attending a Work Party and demonstrating that you could sidestep, stem-turn, traverse kick-turn, and STOP!

Bob Brinton conceived the idea of a propeller on the pine tree out front. It was something of a success, but certainly not up to the high-tech solar cells we generate with today.

Later there were work parties to carry up 4'x8' sheets of plywood. Now there's a real challenge on a narrow 3 mile trail! Bob plus Glen & Muir Dawson and myself were known to each other from our roots in a boys outdoor group called "Trailfinders," but I'll try to stick to "Mt. San Antonio" for now where the annual Downhill Race took place, and Friday night found some 30 skiers packed into the hut. (0, the smell of socks, pinetar and drying mittens!) We had candlelight, a squeeze box and yodeling. Besides' the racers there were lots of "timers, gate-keepers and cooks. We were idisqualified if we took a shortcut through the pinnacles, and there was a gate above the timber West of the main slope. We started in the clouds near the summit and ended across from the hut........

The "adolescent" handle has been dropped. Now I'm... THE YODELER or THE VILLAGE IDIOT!

A "70 plus" advantage is free lift tickets at Snow Valley. Who knows, perhaps the next yodeler you hear might have a fanny pack with the name "BUD" on it... SKI HElL!!

Article 2 (January 16, 1996, Mugelnoos Number 724)

BUD HALLEY "The original group of So. Calif. skiers were largely UCLA students who also happened to be Sierra Club members. Thegroup was led by Dr. Walter Mosauer, a herpetologist and biology professor at UCLA. It was common practice to hunt rattlesnakes in the desert after a day of skiing in the Sierra for tho Austrian professor. Mosauer introduced the Arlberg technique and the word "mugel" to these early skiers.

After skiing on Mt. Baldy's upper slopes it was decided that ski life would be a lot easier and more pleasant if we had it hut at the bottom of Baldy's southern bowl. When we asked the Forest Service for a permit we were told we didn't have the necessary standing, backing or financial stability to qualify. So we transformed ourselves into a Sierra Club section, "The Ski Mountaineers SectIon," and gained permission to build our hut.

The catalyst who enabled us to transform our dream into reality was George Bauwens, a tough old German engineer and outdoor enthusiast. George was a slave driver who, by constant cajoling, threats and insults was able to meld our group of "loafers" into a productive unit.

Although I was called a "loafer" like every other member of the building and coolie crew, I think I never again engaged in physical labor as hard as this, nor ever again was in better shape. The hardest job was to carry the long 12 foot boards from the road up to the building site. Everyone had his or her special method of doing it. In my case, I stuck the boards through the shoulder straps of my rucksack, tied together the ends that stuck out in front of me, then created a tumpline out of a sweatshirt passed under the boards behind the rucksack and then knotted around my forehead. This created an ungainly but reasonably balanced load with one major disadvantage. Once you started out there was no way to sit down and rest; you had to make it all the way up Torture Hill and to the hut site before you could take the weight off your feet. After lugging up these loads, usually two trips per day, a simple rucksack load of 60-70 pounds of nails seemed like a vacation.

The original hut was built in 1936 and burned down tho same year. Fortunately, we were rich enough to get burros to carry the big loads up for the rebuilding, which was completed in 1937.

Article 3 (March 19, 1996, Mugelnoos Number 726)


The Mt. San Antonio Ski Hut now has a storage room for tools and odd "crud" that in 1939 was "The Harem" and the men slept upstairs in "The Skarem!" I had not yet left for the Ski Troops and Margie and I had met at the Ski Mountaineers Annual Banquet & Dance. Now we had danced all evening at Harwood Lodge and she consented to hike with the group that would hike to the hut and spend the night. She must have convinced her parents that she and Bud would be amply chaperoned, and she didn't really realize what an adventure the hike had been until the next day as we hiked down. The floods of the 30's had forced us to reroute the trail. These were called "The Butches."

I mentioned in "The Adolescent Effervescent" how you joined the "Ski Mountaineers", but that was only as an "Associate" Member. Real "Ski Mountaineers" passed tests, survival, first aid and avalanche study. An asterisk was placed in front of their name on the roster, and they wore a big badge on their hat.

I mentioned equipment, having wooden skis you carried, quite a repair kit, including a spare ski-tip if you broke one off! Later came laminated skis like the Griswolds we used in the 10th Mountain Division. From a leather strap binding and perhaps a bit of inner-tube to help hold the heel down- we graduated to cables and springs. In the off-season we kept our skis in blocks spread in the middle so they wouldn't lose their camber. Your boots with laces were good enough for both hiking and skiing, and only the "super skiers" had buckles. The screws of the steel edges required fresh tightening or a piece could be easily torn off, especially on some thin snow and rocks skiing down from the hut. I had only rounded edges on my flat-top maple skis when I spilled on the headwall, and to this day can see myself sliding on belly and back from the pinnacles to the willows across from the hut! It all sounds pretty grim, but 0 the excitement and comraderie of it all, and besides an entire ski outfit including skis, bindings, boots, & poles only cost $25!

Wolfgang Lert in the articles for "Le Chronicle du Couloir" Jan/Feb. 1992 says, "The original group of So. Calif. skiers were largely UCLA students who also happened to be Sierra Club members. The group was led by Dr. Walter Mosauer, a herpetoligist and biology professor at UCLA...[He] introduced the word "mugel" to these early skiers". There is much more that Wolfgang has to say about getting permission to build a hut only if the group were more responsibly identified, so they became "The Ski Mountaineers Section of the Sierra Club," and later combined with the "Rock Climbing Section" printing this MUGELNOOS.

Wolfgang adds this: "GEORGE BAUWENS, a tough old German engineer and outdoor enthusiast.. .was a slave driver who by constant cajoling, threats, and insults was able to meld our group of 'loafers' into a productive unit... .The original hut was built in 1936, and burned down the same year. Fortunately we were rich enough to get burros to carry the big loads up for the rebuilding which was completed in 1937." We have had several reunions and work-parties since that date, but I will save that telling for later. A photo of the one held at the home of Margie and me in 1969 is now mounted near the hut register. Next edition: Mote on the evolution of a yodeler!

Article 4 (May 21, 1996, Mugelnoos Number 728)


"THE ADOLESCENT EFFERVESCENT" title of issue #1, I figured, would catch the eye of a few.


Now, where do my earliest recollections begin?

In December of 1937 our boy's group, "Trailfinders" had a camp at Big Pines near the area now known as MT. HIGH. I did help carry construction materials for the finishing-up of the floors and wall panels to the Mt. San Antonio Hut in 1939, but the first stem turns were through the picnic tables of Big Pines. There were some hugh toboggan slides and ski jumps built there, and there was the "Big Pines Ski Club Hut" on Table Mt. ("Sunrise"), but Dick Springer had not yet built the first chairlift. We encouraged others to take up skiing as "far safer than those uncontrolable toboggans that were crashing everywhere!"

I was 15, and you don't learn as fast when you can only make a few runs after climbing to the top. I love to see these little tikes today scooting down the slopes with their fannies a few centimeters off the snow, but I also think, "0, only if I had had such wonderful gear. A ski boot could be hiked in; a leather strap went around the heel, and ski length was as high as you could reach".

Ski Mountaineers gathered at our Keller Peak Hut at Snow Valley on Oct. 8, 1988 for the 50TH ANNIVERSARY PARTY of its construction. We opened a sealed box hidden in the cornerstone. This reminded us that in those days there was only the begining of chair lifts and Poma-paddles like T-Bars, otherwise you had to learn how to gradually squeeze a fast-moving rope and be sure to disengage yourself soon enough whep you reached the top!

Lynn Newcomb at Mt. WATERMAN is a long-time friend. Before he put in his "chair" in 1942 we college boys as usual climbed to the starting gate for the downhill race to thd road.

BADGER PASS IN YOSEMITE had a kind-of "Angel's Flight" set-up where one tin-boatload of skiers was dragged up the hill and the other sled-boat descended. I skied with my Trailfinders there and in Sequoia and then in college we had inter-collegate "Meets" there at Easter with UCLA, USC, CAL-TECH., PASADENA J.C., STANFORD, SAN JOSE STATE, CAL., OREGON, and WASHINGTON competing in "Downhill, Slalom, Jumping, & Cross-country."

The UCLA TEAM was coached by Wolfgang Lert. We had "tryouts" for the team over Thanksgiving Day Weekend at MAMMOTH, where a dirt road led into Dave McCoy's place and we used the rope tow. Christmas vacation found us in SUN VALLEY where we competed with Dartmount, etc., and were able to ski the whole week for $50! (That included the lift at $10/wk., 4 men in room, meals, and the cost of gasoline for the 24 hr. drive there.)

On the slopes of "Baldy" I heard my first "croaks", some called yodeling, but it was at "Switzerland Restaurant" in Los Angeles (near the Coliseum) the Moser Brothers entertained us with the real stuff! I began to imitate one of their 78 rpm records, and have quite a collectioin of "schallplaters" that my European friends have given me since. Our whole family spent a sabbatical year in Europe in 1958-59 and returning there several times since, I still have them stopping me in the midst of introducing a friend and saying, "Bud, Yodel!"

Article 5 (April 15, 1997, Mugelnoos Number 735)

SAN GORGONIO Poopout Hill and "'The Downhill!"

As "Ski Mountaineers" WILDERNESS IS OUR HERITAGE, and long before we skied San Gorgonio small and farsighted groups went to Washington, D.C. to see that a law was passed to forever keep the elevations above 8000' on this mountain exactly as God created it. Today, from the top of the Snow Summit lift you can see our mountain's "Big Draw." Longingly developers sought to "develop" this area. In the early 40's we left the Barton Flats road and carried packs & skis the 8 miles to the course for one of the most dramatic downhills you can imagine.

There was no Jenks Lake Road nor the spur from it that ends at "Poopout Hill." The downhill finish gate was at the foot of "Christmas Tree Hill" at the head of "Southfork Meadow." There was no groomed or packed course with guard fence and hay bails such as you see on T.V. There was no Austrian Army to sidestep the course after a new snowfall such as I saw at the "Hahnenkamm" in Kitzbuehl in 1958. What was there?

We sidestepped individual lines down through the gullies and tightly spaced lodgepole .'pines that began at the foot of the "Little Draw". From its crest we left at one minute intervals for the one mile schuss to the trees. Somehow we survived! There was also "The San Gorgonio Ski Club", and there was a crawl-in "Edelweiss Hut." Until after World War II when the Forest Service was directed to enforce the no-building restrictions of the Wilderness Act, - ; otherwise, we slept out, and equipment wasn't of the quality that it is today.

The attack on Pearl Harbor took place on the Sunday I was hiking out from a practice run for the downhill. Little did I know that soon 1 would be commisioned in the infantry and report to the "10TH MOUNTAIN DIVISION AT CAMP HALE." (Actually it was only the 87th Regiment at the time, and we were being used as "guinea pigs" to test equipment and maneuvers for mountain warfare at 10,000 to 14.000 feet.) Our teachers were the elite of the skiing world. They were a hand-picked battalion that had seen action in the Aleutians following their time at Mt.. Rainier and Ft. Lewis. John Jay in his book "Ski Down The Years" has many detailed accounts of this group and several other historical settings of U.S. Skiing. I was only with "The 10th" during training. My destiny was the beaches of Normandy, and of the three times I have had my legs broken, combat gets credit for #1.

After receiving my disability retirement in 1945, I figured "That's it for skiing." Nevertheless, Margie & I were newlyweds and part of our time was spent at the Sierra Club's "Clair Tappan Lodge" at Donner Summit. From the setting of my broken femur my right leg is short, so I put a block of wood under the heel and gave the old boards a try. 0 Happy Day! I could ski Mt. Lincoln and with the aid of special boots made by a friend in Innsbruck I' ve still been at it for 60 years!

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