World War II
At the CSA Convention at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, California on October 18, 1942, the board, led by PresidentDr. Frank Howard, voted to freeze all offices, even if the officer was serving in the war. CSA asked that there be no tournaments.
There would be no sanctioned events, no conventions, and no travel until the war was over. In addition, CSA paid club dues to NSA for clubs unable to do so.
In California, NSPS Division ChairmanAlbert Sigal was bent on building the Ski Patrol into a top-notch search and rescue unit and offered their services to a near by Air Force base.
Late February 1942, a bomber crashed due to heavy snowfall in the San Bernardino Mountains outside of Los Angeles. When the Air Force was unable to locate the plane, the California Ski Patrol, led byCortlandt T. Hill, spent 2,113 man-hours on the search.
This success led to the formation of “Operation M’Aidez” [May Day], the code name for coordinating 24 NSPS patrols from San Diego to Seattle in search and rescue missions for the 4th Air Force. This partnership continued for many years.
Post War Growth
After the war, California’s ski history has been largely a story of area development. There was a glut of inexpensive “surplus” ski equipment available for the masses. Many of those that served in the Army’s famed 10th Mountain Division came home to build their mountain.
In October 1946, at the CSA convention in Santa Cruz, the constitution was changed and the bylaws revised creating a competition committee. CSA established the formation of six districts within the state that would meet monthly.
An Area Development committee was formed in the hopes of securing the opening of the San Gorgonio Area for skiing. Three years later, the US Forest Service released their prospectus outlining a proposal for the initial development of Mineral King.
Prior to the war, CSA had established a committee to work out a “Plan for Certification of Ski Instructors” and to standardize teaching. In 1947, the first professional ski instructor organization in the US was the California Ski Instructor’s Association organized at Donner Summit.
Far West Ski Association
At the CSA convention on October 29, 1948, the association officially changed its name to Far West Ski Association to conform to the designations of the other divisions of NSA and to have a name more representative of the geographical area it encompassed— California, Nevada and Hawaii. The annual convention was also changed from fall to spring.
The primary function of Far West was sanctioning tournaments to be held within the Far West region. This involved scheduling dates, selecting the judges, and regulating the events. Another important function of Far West was raising funds for Winter Olympics and FIS [Fédération Internationale de Ski] to help finance USA teams who participated in ski and jump events.
By 1960, FWSA had grown to 80 affiliated clubs, with approximately 4,500 members of whom 1,250 were competitive skiers. The emphasis of the association was moving more toward recreation. Two things contributed greatly to the growth of skiing in the Far West during the early 60’s— the Far West Flight Charter Program and the televised coverage of the VIII Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley.
Thousands of new California skiers joined the ranks and in 1966 FWSA implemented bylaw changes at its Las Vegas Convention, enabling the organization to expand its professional staff and develop a broad spectrum of programs attractive to recreational skiers.
Far West developed a marketing approach, which proved successful in attracting more members. These benefits included dry land training, club and league racing, membership benefits, a newspaper, public affairs programs, insurance, and travel vacation ski weeks.