The first ski tow in the United States began operating in Woodstock, Vermont, on January 28, 1934. Five years later, Marion Post Wolcott came into town and photographed this simple image of a car with skis strapped to the back of it. How are these two events connected? You’d be surprised.
While skiing for transportation has been around for thousands of years, it took until the mid-19th century for recreational skiing to appear—first in Norway, later in the Alps, and finally popularized in North America. By the dawn of the 20th century, skiing had emerged as a popular leisure option for those affluent enough to participate. However, there was one big frustration among skiers: the trek uphill after a blissful downhill run. Over in Europe, the problem was eventually solved with ski lifts or cable cars. In New England, however, it was a different story. Dealing with small, bumpy hills and tiny ski towns made it difficult to imagine building—let alone funding!—these high-tech solutions to the uphill climb. Instead, the small town of Woodstock, Vermont came up with a new solution: the ski tow. The ski tow was a rope, a series of pulleys, and a motor, set up so that skiers could grab onto the rope and be pulled up to the top of the hill in a single minute. That tow became the first continuously operating ski tow in the United States.
The full title of Marion Post Wolcott’s photograph is actually “Woodstock, Vermont has nine ski towns and is generally very crowded with skiers on weekends”. Shortly after the ski tow was invented, ski tourism began to grow in Vermont. It only increased during and after World War II when the general mindset toward leisure activity shifted—access to recreational time was celebrated as one of the freedoms this country fought for. The popularity of ski tourism has continued to grow steadily to this day, bringing in $750 million dollars for the state each year.
We like to think the unseen skiers in this car are headed home from a day spent on the slopes. There’s not a single person in sight, but the contextual details tell such a good story. That old-timey town! Those queued-up, curvy thirties-era cars! But there’s more than a moment in transit in this image. There’s the suggestion of a destination, of a whole mood. The cronch of fresh snow, the frosty kiss of alpine air, the buzz of a great run down a black diamond, the promise of a cozy lodge in which to warm your woolens and sip hot chocolate by a fire—it’s almost enough to make you forget how long it takes to put chains on your tires ... Read more on the blog!
+ Limited-edition, exclusive to 20x200
+ Museum quality: archival inks, 100% cotton rag paper unless noted
+ Certificate of authenticity signed and numbered by our head curator is included
+ Handcrafted custom-framing is available
Our quoted dimensions are for the size of paper containing the images, not the printed image itself. We do not alter the aspect ratio, nor do we crop or resize the artists’ originals. All of our prints have a minimum border of .5 inches to allow for framing.
Innova Fibaprint Warm Cotton Gloss
8"x10" | edition of 20
11"x14" | edition of 200
16"x20" | edition of 50