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Jim Parsons, Jr. interviewed by Nancy Renk, 7 March 1996, in Sandpoint, Idaho.

P: At Talache, in the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) days they built a ski run out there.

R: Where was that?

P: Up above the lodge up on the hill and a fellow from Vermont came from Sandpoint and he was either working for them or something. I don't remember. His name was Bob Skoll if I'm not mistaken but I'm not sure of that. And we found out about it and, of course, I came. I had never skied before but we got interested in skiing because Pine Street, there was a ski run at Pine Street with a little portable tow that we used to put up every year. Anyway, the people at Talache Lodge got this thing cleared and they used to take us out, a school bus used to take us out to Talache on Saturday, those that wanted to ski and they had a jeep, a military jeep, and they had chains on all four tires and that's how they got you to the top of the run was take you up on the jeep, hanging on and then you'd strap your skis on and then you'd ski down.

R: Wonderful. Did you have to pay to go?

P: I would imagine we did pay. And I couldn't tell you what it was … and then, of course, I suppose, if I remember correctly, they probably had, you know, cocoa and things in the lodge for us that we could eat when we came down. I just remember most of us didn't know how to ski and when we got to the corner – we skied on big, long, probably eight-foot army surplus skis and when we got to a corner out there in those woods, we'd just put the poles between our legs and sit down on them and that would slowed us down to the point where we could side-step around it and down the next slope. But, it was built by the CCC in the '30s.

R: Interesting. What was Pine Street ski hill like?

P: It was a lot of fun. It was close. It always had the problem of sometimes not having snow because of the altitude but it was a Swedish ski tow. It was on a sled; the motor was on the sled. The original ski tow there had a shaft with, I think it was a little Ford engine in it.

R: At the top of the hill.

P: At the top of the hill and that was before my time. I actually heard that they even had lights in those days. () knows something about that. I think he skied there. But when I came here, we went around and raised enough money to get this engine that was on a toboggan basically and we'd take it to the top and build some tri-pods to hold the pulleys to the rope and then we'd go round a solicit money and buy a rope and then we'd hook it up and get it going. It would carry two adults and maybe three kids at one time.

R: So you had to wait your turn.

P: So you had to wait your turn. But it was, like I say, it was close. You know, it was right on the edge of town.

R: Was that just a community-funded thing so you didn't have to pay?

P: Basically, I think it was. I don't think, you know – once in a while we had to buy gas for it and I guess we just chipped in and bought it. I don't remember, I really don't. But, it was, I think eventually we formed a ski club and I'm not sure but I think I still may have an old patch for that club or something.

R: So then Talache and Pine Street then were the two areas to ski before Schweitzer.

P: Yeah, and I don't think Talache was – I mean, other than just the kids going there in the school bus and taking a lesson, I don't think it was probably used by anybody else to speak of.


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