Tales from the Tread: Winter Film Series returns

Candice Bannister
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Jim Temple, Olympian Buddy Werner and John Fetcher, circa 1958

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Back by popular demand, the Tread of Pioneers Museum’s Winter Films Series returns for another season. Films will screen at 6 p.m. the second Wednesday of each month, December through March.

Instead of hosting the event in-person at the historic Chief Theater, due to COVID-19, we invite everyone to join us online on our Youtube channel and Facebook page to see all the fascinating films we have in store for you. All films are free to access, and once posted, they will remain on the museum’s Youtube channel for six months.

“Steamboat, There’s Only One” — 6 p.m. Dec. 9

Experience the groovy good old days of skiing in Steamboat Springs in the 1970s in this award-winning promotional film produced by Wilson-Griak of Minneapolis for LTV Recreational Development, Inc., parent company of Steamboat Resort at the time. In this marketing film, local legend and Olympian, Sven Wiik, portrays Carl Howelsen’s arrival to Steamboat in 1913 by stagecoach (in reality, Howelsen arrived by train). Producers used locals, including Steamboat Olympic medalist Billy Kidd, to set the scene filmed in the Brooklyn neighborhood. The remainder of the film is an entertaining contrast of “cowboys” and “hippies” skiing and having fun at the Steamboat resort.

Surprise curator election — 6 pm. Jan. 13, 2021

Museum Curator Katie Adams will surprise you with never-before-seen historic film segments of local events and interviews with local legends. Our museum collection is filled with rare local film footage and other treasures that captures the history and heritage of our town and valley.

If you go

What: Tread of Pioneers Museum’s Winter Film Series

When: 6 p.m. second Wednesday of each month December through March

Where: Tread of Pioneers Museum’s Facebook page and Youtube channel

Cost: Free; donations appreciated


“Stormy: The Story of a Mountain and a Man” — 6 p.m. Feb. 10, 2021

This film traces Jim Temple’s story of founding and developing the Storm Mountain ski area, now Steamboat Resort, and includes rare ski area footage. Through interviews and exclusive footage shot by Temple himself, experience the struggle and excitement of building the ski area from the ground up.

Temple and investors began purchasing land at the base of Storm Mountain in 1957. After several feasibility studies, mountain explorations, and the forming of the Storm Mountain Ski Corp., Temple broke ground on the ski area July 6, 1958.

The film showcases the work required to build the first ski runs and hold ski races.

“When I held races on the mountain those first few winters, we had Jeep Cherokees to take skiers up the mountain (before chair lifts were installed),” Temple said in a Steamboat Pilot & Today interview. “We did that for the winters of 1958, 1959 and 1960.”

Temple said he was not surprised at what the ski area has become today.

“My vision was that it would be a year-round resort,” he said. “I knew it was a great mountain and a great site. It took some time, but it grew pretty nicely.”

“From Cow Town to Ski Town” — 6 p.m. March 10, 2021

Local film producer Frank “Smokey” Vandergrift created this celebration of 100 years of Steamboat history for the town’s 100th anniversary of incorporation in 2000. Vandergrift spent many years in the 1980s and ’90s recording priceless oral history interviews that are now a part of the Tread of Pioneers Museum’s archive.

In the film, he weaves these interviews with storytelling and historical film footage and photographs, many from the Tread of Pioneers Museum’s collection. The footage includes early winter carnivals, ski jumping competitions and vintage Steamboat Resort ski marketing. “From Cow Town to Ski Town” is one of the best films on local history.

“It’s an irreplaceable record of the personalities who shaped the place we call home” wrote Tom Ross of the Steamboat Pilot & Today.

Candice Bannister is executive director of the Tread of Pioneers Museum in Steamboat Springs.

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