Select Skiing The Icy Sand Dunes to view the photo
Most of these handmade skis were made by Abraham or Glen Parker. Some were "doubles" allowing the littlest children to ride behind and hang on to an older one. The destination was the frozen sandhill dunes covered in ice & no obstructing trees located 3-4 mi. to the NW of the A.L. Parker homestead in the area known locally as Coopers Notch.
There are at least 13 sets of crude, handmade wooden skis pictured here with no two sets alike. And not everyone made it in the photo as can been seen on both sides.
Skiing was one of the young sets most favorite winter activities in Gustavus. But the little children could not go alone, of course, and would have to wait until the Parker brothers were in the mood to take them. This would result in a lot of "nagging" and "pleading" according to Glen Parker, and a great ruckus of joy when the request was finally granted.
It also involved getting up very early in the dead of winter, hours before daylight, to allow time for the long hike with boots (and carrying the heavy awkward skis) to get there. When there was no energy left to climb the hills one more time, there was still a long, cold hike home.
Somehow, as with all things that require a lot of work to support the fun (considering how often they did it), they must have thought it was worth it.
In photo: Front row Lt. to Rt. is "Billy" Henry Peterson, Glenna Robinson, Ed White, Verna Robinson, Jeannie Parker.
In back row Lt. to Rt. is the head of Henrietta White (behind "Billy"), Wanda Robinson, Gloria White, Dorothy White (in striped hat), Geneveive White, Alberta Parker, and slightly forward Angle Peterson.
For more pictures & stories about skiing in Gustavus, go to www.GustavusHistory.org .
LATE BREAKING NEWS: the Alaska Lost Ski Areas Project has just added the sand dunes ski area of early Gustavus homesteaders to their statewide project. Go to www.ALSAP.org/gustavus/gustavus.htm.