Absolutely Unskiable

The Three Saints of Los Angeles

The prophecy cannot fail that in a few years, thousands of Californians will learn to enjoy on skis the beauty of the snow-clad mountains, made doubly interesting by the contrast to nearby desert and southern sea, and that ski-mountaineering, as it did in Europe, will become one of the most popular sports.”
—Walter Mosauer, 1935 

A few horses watch as I bounce up a dirt road, toward an adobe ranch house surrounded by palm trees. It’s 85 degrees. I double-check my GPS to make sure this is the correct place for the ski library.

A woman steps out of the house in a gray T-shirt and jeans, waving me on. “Come on back,” she says. “I’ll show you the collection.”

This is Ingrid Wicken, professor of kinesiology at Moreno Valley College. She’s also the founder and head of the California Ski Library, and I follow her and her three dogs to a trailer with a woodcut snowflake on the side. As we step out of the blazing sunshine, I’m met with thousands of books and magazines, ski apparel, trophies and photographs. It’s like we’ve entered a different season…


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