Olson’s Chairlift Trivia

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Did you know that:  

K2 was once owned by Cummins Diesel. And later by Rubbermaid.

• Beatrice Foods owned Hart skis.

• Kingsford Charcoal owned Scott.

• Ski competitions were started by the British.

• A patent for a T-bar ski lift was filed two years before the first rope tow appeared.

• Bob Lange flew Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighter aircraft before going to Harvard to get his engineering degree. The first Lange boots had laces (Henke had a patent on buckles and Lange refused to pay the royalty to use them) and were made of Adiprene, a Dupont product that was not injected; it was poured into a mould and allowed to cure—a slow process. Members of the Canadian Ski Team were the first testers and adopters of Lange boots.

• Alden Hansen invented a plastic putty-like material that he sold to Bob Lange to make his ski boots more comfortable. “Lange Flo” problems caused many recalls, leading to financial problems and eventually bankruptcy and Lange’s sale to Garcia. Alden’s sons went on to found Hansen ski boots and, more recently, Apex ski boots.

•  Keen skier Ernest Hemingway wrote the conclusion to For Whom the Bell Tolls while staying at the famous Sun Valley Lodge in Idaho with others like Marilyn Monroe and Louis Armstrong. Although married at the time, his roommate, Martha Gelhorn, later became his third wife. Few people know the tragic story of Virginia Hill, recounted in Otto Lang’s memoirs, Bird of Passage. Hill was the ex-girlfriend of Vegas mobster Bugsy Siegel. She showed up at the lodge one day without a reservation but soon raised eyebrows by passing out $100 bills to bellboys. Hans Hauser, an Austrian instructor, became her teacher, banker and lover until finally they eloped. That set off a chain reaction in which immigration authorities deported Hauser, while Hill was investigated for her mob connections. After her mysterious income disappeared and she was stripped of her home and possessions, Virginia briefly joined Hauser in Austria. Their marriage didn’t last, however, and not long after Hill died of a drug overdose, an apparent suicide. Hauser hanged himself two years later.

from Winter 2022 issue

Martin Olson
To top