Barbara Lindh’s roots at Eaglecrest Ski Area outside of Juneau, Alaska, run deep, to before the ski area even existed, when the hill was a three-mile hike to a cabin in the middle of the woods with a rope tow and a ski jump. That’s where she mastered the snowplow at age 10, where she fell in love with her husband, where she raised her daughter, and where, at 69, she continues to ski five days a week. —Julie Brown
In high school, [ski racing] was the only sport available for girls at the time. We all stuck with the program and did the calisthenics and we had to run 100 miles in a month, but we ate jelly donuts, too.
There was a group of six of us girls, out of maybe 20 kids, that would hike up to this cabin. We’d hike up on Saturdays. There wasn’t any packing of the trails, or the ski run. We’d have to side-step up the mountain and the coach would set gates and we’d ski down and hike back up.
Eaglecrest officially started in 1976. I ended up marrying a guy in the forest service who came here as a snow ranger. One of his missions was to find a good place for a ski area…He spent time with the forest service going to different mountains and looking at terrain. They finally selected Eaglecrest because it had the most snow at the lowest elevation.
I remember we did a big hike just the two of us before the road was built…and checked out the area. We had a little girl, and at age 6 she hiked up the three miles to Third Cabin. I was there from the beginning and she was, too.
[In the beginning, Eaglecrest] was a brand new thing. Nobody really knew that much about what we were doing. I remember the first run, I was following some tracks down some deep powder and we kept going and going and I thought we were going the wrong way. It took us an hour to get back. I talked to someone later and they said, ‘Oh, you followed my tracks and we were going the wrong way.’
Eaglecrest is a very nice place where most people know who you are and they talk to each other. It’s how skiing used to be. You go to big areas now, and the lines are so big and the crowds are so big. This is a step back in time. It’s quality.
There is a whole group of us who used to ski the Second and Third Cabins. We usually sit at the same table at lunch. We’re still great friends and we have that strong bond. They’re the same group of people that we still see hiking on the trails and getting out doing things. That’s the sense of place. There’s nothing like Eaglecrest.