Far West Flight Program
The story of the highly successful Far West Charter flights goes back a few years before the first Far West Charter in 1958. The very first attempt to charter flights within the Far West region began with the Grindelwald Ski Club in Los Angeles.
Spearheaded by Sutter Kunkel, it took just a couple of years to get the Charter Flight Program off the ground.
The Far West Flight Charter Program began with one flight from Los Angeles to Zurich and Paris in 1958. By 1964, Far West had ten charters leaving from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Switzerland, Germany and France.
In 1962, Far West used the proceeds from previous flights to send seven junior racers, with their coach Dave McCoy, to Europe on one of the charter flights, allowing these young racers to ski in Europe and get a taste of international racing.
The program grew as flights were added to South America and New Zealand in the summer and domestic flights in the winter. This program continued until the early 80s.
The fact that Squaw Valley was awarded the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley was an amazing feat.
Andrew Hauk served as Vice Chairman of the California Olympic Commission that supervised the spending of $8,990,000 appropriated by the State of California for acquiring and constructing all of the major facilities required for the staging of the games.
Far West leaders J. Stanley Mullin, Walt Disney,Roy Mikkelsen, Albert Sigal, and Harry Rosenberry were members of the Olympic Organizing Committee.
Gene Williams, Far West Chairman of the National Ski Patrol System, proposed that NSPS patrol these winter Olympics. Backed by Far West, this Olympics was the first time the games were covered by a volunteer ski patrol. The Olympic Ski Patrol [OSP] was made up of 48 men and 3 women.
Emil “Chris” Christensen of Pasadena, California led the volunteers. Bud Mills, who founded the Far West Avalanche Program, was patrol leader of the OSP avalanche detail.
The Council's Beginning
In the beginning the Association was divided into districts. In 1941, the 5th District was added to cover the Bay Area. District 4 began calling itself the Southern Council of the FWSA in the 40s. In 1947, the Bay Area Ski Federation was organized “for the welfare of Bay Area skiers” but they didn’t vote to join Far West as the Bay Area Council of FWSA until 1961. Far West recognized Central and San Diego Councils in the 1960s.
The council development program of the 70s, headed by John Watson, hoped to bring the purposes of the councils and the association into alignment within Far West. This process began in 1969 with the Southern Council that regarded itself as a district arm of the association and promoted the programs of the Far West, even creating council positions mirroring the program positions at the regional level. This resulted in a synergistic benefit to both council and Far West.
The program also concentrated on encouraging the smaller councils to become more active in the Far West programs and solicited nonaffiliated councils to join. Strenuous but ultimately unsuccessful attempts were made to bring in councils such as Arizona, Sacramento, and Tahoe-Reno [latter as the Sierra Nevada Council].
As a result of this emphasis on smaller councils, there was a spinoff from Southern Council of the Inland and Orange Councils in 1971. Southern was a huge council, including over 60 clubs meeting as far east as San Bernardino, south to cover Orange County, and north to Santa Barbara and even Mammoth Mountain!
The realignment of Southern Council [later renamed Los Angeles Council] made it far easier for club representatives to make it to meetings and ensure meaningful involvement and activities.