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In 1921, the Cle Elum Ski Club was formed by local residents, led by John “Syke” Bresko, opening what has been called the first organized ski area west of Denver, “a skiers paradise,” that attracted between 100 - 400 locals every weekend. The Club sponsored ski races, jumping competitions, carnivals, and special contests from 1924 until 1933, attracting spectators and competitors from all over the Northwest. Northern Pacific trains provided access to Cle Elum from Seattle, Ellensburg and Yakima, and Norwegian jumpers dominated the events. Sports fans from Ellensburg attended the Cle Elum tournaments from its early years.

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John W. Lundin


downhill skiing, Pacific Northwest, Ellensburg


United States History


John W. Lundin is a lawyer, historian and author with homes in Seattle and Sun Valley, and is a founding member of the Washington State Ski and Snowboard Museum. He has written extensively about Washington and Idaho history and is a frequent lecturer on history topics. His essays have appeared in Skiing History, Nordic Kultur, and, the on-line encyclopedia of Washington history. His first book, Early Skiing on Snoqualmie Pass, received an award as outstanding regional ski history book of 2018 by the International Ski History Association. His new books include Sun Valley, Ketchum and the Wood River Valley, (Arcadia Publishing, June 2020); Skiing Sun Valley, a History from Union Pacific to the Holdings, (History Press, November 9, 2020); and Ski Jumping in Washington - A Nordic Tradition, (History Press, January 2021). He learned to ski on Snoqualmie Pass in the 1950s, using wooden skis, leather boots, cable bindings, and riding rope tows, and was a member of Sahalie Ski Club that opened on Snoqualmie Pass in 1932.

Ellensburg Ski Club