Berkeley Ski Hut

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Jerry Dodrill

climber
Bodega, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - May 1, 2006 - 03:41pm PT
Roland Jacopetti works in the shop next to mine, and was reminiscing about working at Ski Hut with Allen Steck, Chuck Pratt, Steve Roper, and others. Anybody have stories about this place? Seems like it was a Berkeley institution from which interesting things evolved...
scuffy b

climber
Chalet Neva-Care
May 1, 2006 - 04:21pm PT
Sierra Designs, North Face, Class Five, Snow Lion all started by
Ski Hut people.
They had the best matchbooks. 843-6505?
mark miller

Social climber
Reno
May 1, 2006 - 05:13pm PT
What ever happened to Snow Lion equipment? They had some of the coolest graphics on their catologs.
Gene

climber
May 1, 2006 - 05:36pm PT
About 1977, while strolling around Taipei, Taiwan, I saw a small shop with a Snow Lion logo almost buried under the Chinese language signs. I cruised in and talked to the White Guy there. He was the factory rep/liaison/designer and let me buy a bunch of gear for next to nothing. I still have a jacket they made. Good stuff. Better people.
Weenis

Trad climber
Tel Aviv
May 1, 2006 - 09:49pm PT
Seems like fifty years ago... I bought a Sticht Plate and a Stubai hammer from them. Yeah cool I even used 'em in the Valley way back in...
woodcraft

Trad climber
Fairfax, CA
May 2, 2006 - 02:44am PT
I went there a lot from when I was 14. Drooled over the calalogue- great photos of the products. I saved my quarters and bought a backpack- hitchhiked back to Oakland with it. Got picked up by someone wanting to hear stories of my road trip. That was in 1970. I still have the pack, & it covered a lot of miles. I also have the goldline rope that we used at Indian rock. Used it just last week. (joke) A sleeping bag (Trailwise) is barely hanging on- have to shake the down back from the sides. I've been looking for a bag like it. I miss that place.
Was it called Mountain Traders that sold used gear?

When I started climbing at Indian rock, we would walk down to Solano Ave., and get sodas from the vending machine. We had filed pennies down to the size of the dime that it cost! We also all had fat collections of bus transfers. You would look at a bus to see what the color was that day, and get one out to save the fare (.25?). I also carried a piece of metal tape measure, which you would slide down the dime slot of the pay phone, then put a penny in the penny slot (!) to make the "ding ding"
sound, and make the call.
Now you may think that this is obsolete technology, but I currently carry
a booty tool on my harness made from 5 or 6 feet of tape measure with a wire hook taped to the end. I pulled a nut out of a deep crack on Nutcracker just recently.
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
May 2, 2006 - 03:30pm PT
The Ski Hut, wow, that's a name I haven't heard in a while.

Woodcraft, would that have been 1970 when you were hanging out at Indian Rock. that's when I started going there, also when I was 14 (1956 baby - Del Valle High School Walnut Creek)
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
May 2, 2006 - 03:44pm PT
I have a snow lion expedition down jacket that is still too warm. I've got an SL limited editon down bag, that I still use as a blanket,the baffels only wore out a couple of years ago. Both of those must have been from the mid seventies.
TYeary

Mountain climber
Baldwin Park, Calif.
May 3, 2006 - 12:48pm PT
Back in the dark ages I saw Galen Rowell do a show at the Ski Hut about the first clean ascent of the regular route on Half Dome with Robinson and Denny. Must have been around '74. Last time I was there was in '79. I was on the way to Mt. Hood, and my pack was either stolen or it bounced out the back of my truck. I bought a pack ( Wilderness Experiance Kletter Sac, which I still use ) an ensolite pad and gaiters to replace the lost items. I remember the shop fondly, like Neptunes in Boulder.
Tony
Jerry Dodrill

climber
Bodega, CA
Topic Author's Reply - May 3, 2006 - 05:07pm PT
When did it close? Roland said the owner, now deceased, had a big reunion party at one point for everyone who had worked there and a HUGE event of big names ensued up at Tilden. I always thought it was wierd that so much climbing history and manufacturors came out of Berkeley and suspect this is because of the UC, Sierra Club outings, Indian Rock, and now I think Ski Hut had a part to play (edit:) and of course the plethora of employment options. Has anyone written about what transpired in the E. Bay that contributed so heavily to climbing, and the climbing industry? Seems like a rich history.
woodcraft

Trad climber
Fairfax, CA
May 3, 2006 - 09:32pm PT
Patrick-
Yeah '70, actually '68 -'72. I was born in '54- Skyline HS, Oakland. Probably saw each other. I wasn't quite able to ever do watercourse. Still frustrated about that. Before sticky rubber...

Jerry-
Great self- portrait-- you looked more relaxed last night.
Jerry Dodrill

climber
Bodega, CA
Topic Author's Reply - May 3, 2006 - 09:40pm PT
Hey. Nice seeing you last night. (Rock Ice Mountain club, Santa Rosa). Yeah, yesterday was more relaxing.
nordicnerd

climber
May 4, 2006 - 10:51pm PT
Wasn't there some connection between Royal Gorge and the Ski Hut?
scuffy b

climber
Chalet Neva-Care
May 5, 2006 - 11:11am PT
Royal Gorge was started up by a long-term Ski Hut employee.
Brutus of Wyde

climber
Old Climbers' Home, Oakland CA
May 5, 2006 - 07:22pm PT
Allen Steck's birthday tomorrow. See any of you there?

Brutus
Jerry Dodrill

climber
Bodega, CA
Topic Author's Reply - May 5, 2006 - 07:36pm PT
Where is "there"? Ski Hut is, uh, gone.
Brutus of Wyde

climber
Old Climbers' Home, Oakland CA
May 5, 2006 - 07:42pm PT
Les & Bev Wilson's.
nordicnerd

climber
May 5, 2006 - 10:08pm PT
Please tell me that John Slouber never worked at a place as cool as the Ski Hut! I have worked there (RG) and have always wondered about the vague stories of the Ski Hut connection. Can you fill me in?
Jerry Dodrill

climber
Bodega, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 15, 2007 - 04:38pm PT
B-ump.

From Peter Haan on another thread:

Jerry D et al,

The Ski Hut was an amazing store, and would be thought so even today were it open. The owner was George Rudolph, who died, sometime in the 80ís perhaps. He was highly respected, very much appreciated by his people, and privately, a dignified, kind gay man. As part of the operation there was a wholesale and manufacturing facility in west Berkeley, called Trailwise. There, they made softgoods, down products. Vandiver and I spent the night there making haul bags for ourselves back in 1970. My golden retriever went crazy in there with the powerful smells of birds emanating from the down everywhere. Very funny, kind of a catnip response, really.

The Ski Hut was on University Ave, in Berkeley, about half way down towards San Pablo Avenue from Shattuck, on the north side of the ave. The store even had Klepper foldboats in there, along with everything else, plus all the climbing hardware available at the time. Basically their competitor back in the early 1960ís was a soon-to-be giant REI when I started hanging around the place. The staff included at one point or another just about everybody in the early cadre of Nor Cal. climbers. You never knew who you would see working in there, or just shopping. I think golden-era guys relied on occasional work there to keep afloat. It was a pretty intelligent place. I bought my first goldline and then my first perlon rope there, and of course the chrome moly hardware that Long was making, then Yvon. But my carabiners were from REI, the old cheapy Army surplus oval aluminum ones, covered with casting porosities and defects! For awhile, the Ski Hut even carried the Crack Jacks that Les Wilson and I made (covered in earlier thread).

Al was the manager for quite awhile I think. He had an education in accounting and was perfect for the position as he was also a major climber and great with people. Around this time, he acquired the nickname with some of us, Old World Allen, though this was behind his back. Nowadays, Inez and I, call him The Alien, and this to his face with tons of affection since he still climbs, still flourishes and still is a good friend to so many.

The location and perhaps the store, became a Copelandís Sport, and then disappeared altogether, and then George was gone eventually too. Fortunately climbing kept going and became the huge freakout it is now.
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder
Apr 15, 2007 - 04:53pm PT
RE:
" What ever happened to Snow Lion equipment? They had some of the coolest graphics on their catologs"

find out here:
http://www.oregonphotos.com/Backpacking-Revolution1.html

The guy who ownes the Wilderness Exchange store in Berkeley has a really good archive/museum in the store - better than you might expect. The big mystery brand is Class 5, Justice Baushingers brilliant concept - no one know what happened to him.

scuffy - his name might be misspelled, any input?

anyone else remember the exotic Class 5 poster with the nude female back?

way, way ahead of it's time.

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