Ski & Snow Sports Archives Introduction

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The Ski & Snow Sports Archives is one of the most comprehensive collections in the entire country for research into the history and development of Utah's prospering winter sports industry. The archives document the history of ski competition on local, national, and international levels; the founding of major resorts; snow safety and avalanche control; ski equipment; ski instruction; freestyle skiing; the 10th Mountain Division; back-country skiing; and virtually every facet of winter sports in Utah and the surrounding region. The archives are the repository for the Salt Lake Winter Olympic Games Bid Committee records and the records of the 2002 games themselves.

The Ski & Snow Sports Archives is housed in the Special Collections Department at the J. Willard Marriott Library of the University of Utah. It was created in 1989 to preserve a comprehensive history of skiing and other winter sports in Utah and the Intermountain region. That year, the S. J. & Jessie E. Quinney Foundation recognized the importance of the project and provided critical seed money. In 1993, the Utah Ski Archives were incorporated into the newly established Joe Quinney Recreation Archives, which also contain material on river running, hiking clubs, mountaineering, climbing, and other outdoor activities. Future additions of material and development of the Ski & Snow Sports Archives will continue to strengthen its importance as a repository of primary-source research materials for use both now and in the future. In addition to scholarly research of skiing as a sport, these materials are valuable resources for research into skiing-related industries such as public relations, transportation, resorts and their amenities, equipment, and clothing.

Types of materials found in the collections include correspondence, competition rosters, organizational minutes, architectural drawings and site plans, news clippings, and miscellaneous items ranging from lift tickets to scrapbooks. The Ski & Snow Sports Archives contains hundreds of thousands of photographs of skiing ranging from the earliest pioneers who ventured into the mountains, to modern digital images of racers. The collections also include numerous films, videos, and audio recordings, including one of the best collections of oral histories of ski pioneers—many of whom have since passed away—that document their first-hand experiences in racing, developing resorts, instructing new generations of skiers, and inventing new ski equipment.

The Ski & Snow Sports Archives celebrates the start of every ski season with a gala fundraiser called the Ski Affair, held in Salt Lake City as the mountains are beginning to build their winter coats of snow. Skiers of all ages and all levels of expertise, as well as anyone interested in skiing, mingle and renew old acquaintances in a congenial atmosphere. A highlight of the evening comes with the honoring of that year’s History Makers, selected by the Ski & Snow Sports Archives Advisory Board, and the winner of the S. J. Quinney Award for outstanding service to skiing and the ski industry.