Skiers’ Gazette is born.
Doug Tompkins and Kenneth Klopp open The North Face, a small outdoor retail and mail order shop in San Francisco. They go on to make their own line of mountaineering apparel and equipment, which you now own some of.
Both the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and National Trails Act are signed into law.
Bob Gore develops expanded polytetraflouroethylene (ePTFE) and releases it under the trademark Gore-Tex.
The Environmental Protection Agency is formed, the Clean Air Act is signed into law and the first Earth Day is held.
The first production-model avalanche rescue transceiver, the Skadi, is released and quickly becomes standard equipment for ski patrollers and others at risk of avalanche burial. Before the Skadi, avalanche safety protocol involved trailing a piece of cord that would theoretically float to the top of the snow in the event of an avalanche.
Bill Briggs makes the first ski descent of the Grand Teton.
Telluride Ski Area officially opens in December with five lifts.
John Denver records “Rocky Mountain High.” It was released the following year and eventually moved to #9 on the Billboard charts.
An essay by Doug Robinson in the Chouinard Equipment catalog proposes the revolutionary idea of clean climbing, which eschews hammered-in pitons for removable, non-scarring climbing protection. The essay, along with the game-changing Stoppers and Hexentrics built by Chouinard, forever change the climbing world.
Therm-a-Rest releases the first self-inflating air mattress for climbers and campers.
Mike Moore, publisher of Skiers’ Gazette, meets with George Stranahan to discuss the future of the magazine. Moore and Stranahan agree to morph the Skiers’ Gazette into a more generalized magazine called the Mountain Gazette.
The I-70 Eisenhower Memorial Tunnel opens to highway traffic, literally paving the way to Summit County for untold numbers of Front Range skiers.
The Endangered Species Act is signed into law by President Richard Nixon.
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center, funded under the direction of the U.S. Forest Service, begins to issue statewide warnings of high avalanche danger. In 1983, the Center becomes part of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. Funds are secured from a consortium of public and private sponsors.
The “Climbing Smiths” — father George Smith and sons Flint, Quade, Cody and Tyl— set the first record Colorado Fourteener speed record by climbing the by-then-accepted 54 Fourteeners in 33 days. They then continued on to California and Washington and climbed the then-accepted 68 Fourteeners in the Lower 48 in 48 days, a record that still stands.
The first Telluride Bluegrass Festival is held in Telluride, CO with only three bands and around 1,000 people. This summer marked the festival’s 39th year and the fest’s 10,000 tickets were sold out in early February.
Edward Abbey publishes “The Monkey Wrench Gang,” a book so influential it creates a new verb, as well as inspires an entire generation to participate in civil disobedience in the name of the environment. The first chapter appeared in Mountain Gazette #29 the year before and was titled, “Where’s Tonto?”
To celebrate America’s Bicentennial, several skiers at Vail found the Colorado Ski Museum. A formal dedication is held in 1977 with the first Hall of Fame members inducted.
Skier visits at Vail soar over the one million mark — a first for a Colorado ski area.
After 48 issues, Moore resigns his editorship of MG and moves onto a position with Outside magazine. Gaylord Guenin takes over as MG editor.
Jake Burton, the “father of snowboarding,” moves to Stratton, Vermont, to pursue his dream of designing snowboards. He makes 350 boards at night after bartending during the day. Friends sneak up the mountain at night to test Burton’s radical products because snowboards were not allowed on the slopes. Those first boards sell for $88.
President Jimmy Carter signs a bill legalizing homebrewing in the United States.
Aspen Skiing Corporation is acquired by Twentieth Century Fox. The 1,080,000 outstanding shares of Corporation stock are purchased for $48.6 million or $45 per share, the largest transaction in the history of skiing.
Colorado’s first microbrewery, Boulder Brewing, begins operation in a goat shed.
The Skier Safety Act is passed by the Colorado General Assembly. The bill establishes reasonable safety standards for the operation of ski areas and defines the duties and rights of skiers using the areas.
After 77 issues, a lack of ad sales forces Mountain Gazette to close its doors.
Originally started as a telephone recording at Alta Ski Area in the late-’70s, the Utah Avalanche Center becomes a fully funded program of the U.S. Forest Service.
Crested Butte holds its first annual Fat Tire Bike Week, now the oldest mountain bike festival in the country.
Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) established 13 new national parks, 16 new national wildlife refuges and two new national forests, adding 56 million acres to the National Wilderness Preservation System, including the largest wilderness area in the system, Wrangell-St. Elias, which now includes 9,676,994 acres.
Specialized releases the Stumpjumper, the world’s first commercially produced mountain bike. It originally sold for $750, had touring-bike and modified-BMX components, no suspension and weighed just under 30 pounds. An original is now on display at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C.
The first of Colorado’s 10th Mountain Division huts, the McNamara and Margy’s huts, are completed. The hut system now comprises 30 huts connected by 350 miles of suggested travel routes.
“Red Dawn,” starring Patrick Swayze, Lea Thompson and Charlie Sheen, in his feature film debut, is released. Considered by many to be the worst movie ever filmed in Colorado, “Red Dawn” was shot almost entirely in the Arapaho National Forest. The film was actually entered into The Guinness Book of Records for having the most acts of violence in any film up until that time.
Rim Cyclery in Moab, Utah, begins renting mountain bikes and guiding tours on an old motorcycle route called the Slickrock Trail. Over the next few years, the desert surrounding Moab slowly builds momentum as a world-class destination for the burgeoning sport.
Dick Bass, owner of Snowbird Ski Resort, summits Mount Everest, making him both the first person to complete the Seven Summits and the oldest person to summit Everest.
The coldest temperature in Utah history, minus-69, was recorded at Peters Sink on Feb. 1.
The coldest temperature in Colorado history, minus-61, was recorded at Maybell on Feb. 1.
The Moab Chamber of Commerce decides to hold a “World’s Most Scenic Garbage Dump” contest in an inventive attempt to lure tourists to town. It worked, and Moab shared top honors with Kodiak, Alaska. The two became sister cities thanks to their lovely landfills.
Bayern Brewing, Montana’s oldest operating craft brewery, opens for business in Missoula.
The Yellowstone National Park fires burn a total of 793,880 acres in Wyoming and Montana.
Frenchman J.B. Tribout establishes To Bolt or Not to Be, the first 5.14 rock climb in the U.S. at Smith Rock, OR.
Charlie and Ernie Otto open the Otto Brothers Brewery (now the Grand Teton Brewing Co.), Wyoming’s first, in Wilson, WY.
Greg Stump releases the seminal ski film, “Blizzard of Ahhhs.”
New Belgium Brewing begins production in Fort Collins, CO.
Looking for a new way to access the backcountry, Utah snowboarder Brett “Cowboy” Kobernik begins experimenting with the first splitboard prototypes by sawing snowboards in half in his basement. With the help of Voile owner Mark “Wally“ Wariakois, his design eventually becomes the world’s first production splitboard, the Voile Split Decision. Kobernik is now a forecaster with the Utah Avalanche Center.
Lynn Hill makes the first free ascent of The Nose on Yosemite’s El Capitan, a feat many thought to be impossible.
“Aspen Extreme” is released in theaters. Heralded as “Top Gun on the slopes,” the movie features big-mountain skier Doug Coombs as the skiing stunt double.
The first Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race is held in Leadville, CO. Featuring a grueling out-and-back course that includes a 3,000-foot hill climb, the race now draws 1,300 riders to Leadville every summer.
The South Canyon Fire, perhaps Colorado’s most infamous wildfire burns 1,856 acres on Storm King Mountain, near Glenwood Springs. The fire, which was caused by lightning, took the lives of 14 firefighters, most of whom were from Oregon.
66 gray wolves from Canada are released in Yellowstone and parts of central Idaho in an effort to repopulate the species in the Northern Rockies.
President Bill Clinton designates 1.9 million acres in southern Utah as Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, effectively killing a proposed coalmine for the area. The announcement was made at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Holding the event in Utah would have posed a safety risk for President Clinton, as the decision was unpopular among many rural residents at the time.
Colorado has its first winter free of avalanche deaths since 1968.
“Into Thin Air,” Jon Krakauer’s first-person account of the deadly 1996 season on Mt. Everest, where eight climbers were killed during a massive storm, is released. The book thrusts the mountain into the mainstream limelight and begins an ongoing media frenzy for the high-altitude shenanigans surrounding the peak.
“South Park” — created by Colorado natives Trey Parker and Matt Stone, debuts on Comedy Central.
ESPN holds the first Winter X-Games in Big Bear Lake, California. The event draws around 38,000 spectators and is broadcast in 198 countries.
Members of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) set off a series of firebombs within Vail Ski Resort that cause an estimated $12 million in damage, at the time the costliest act of eco-terrorism ever committed.
Mt. Baker Ski Area near Glacier, WA, sets the world record for most snowfall in a season with 1,140 inches, which equates to 95 feet.
For reasons unknown, snow BMX racing fails to catch on and is discontinued as an event at the Winter X-Games.
Rolando Garibotti sets the speed record for the famed Grand Traverse of Wyoming’s Tetons with an astonishing 6 hours and 49 minutes. The traverse enchains 10 of Grand Teton National Park’s major summits with climbing difficulties up to 5.8, and entails around 14 miles of travel and 12,000 feet of elevation gain.
Amendment 20 passes in Colorado, legalizing the production and consumption of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
After two-and-a-half years of meticulous planning, scouting and training, Ted E. Keizer, aka Cave Dog, set the current Colorado Fourteener speed record of 10 days, 20 hours, 26 minutes. Keizer experienced strong winds on 12 peaks, lightning on three, falling snow on four, snow on the ground on 12 and five summits coated with ice. He spent 29-percent of his time on the trail at night and spent 67-percent of those 10 days, 20 hours and 26 minutes actually hiking and climbing. Aided by a five-person support crew, he enjoyed a total of 138,558 of vertical gain on the trip.
A team consisting of George Stranahan, Curtis Robinson and M. John Fayhee resurrects the Mountain Gazette. Issue #78 comes out in November.
“Flyin” Brian Robinson becomes the first person to hike the Triple Crown (Appalachian, Continental Divide and Pacific Crest trails) in a calendar year. Robinson burned through seven pairs of shoes on the 7,400-mile, 22-state journey.
“Comeback Wolves: Western Writers Welcome the Wolf Home” is published. Included within its pages are essays from MG alumni Laura Paskus, Craig Childs, B. Frank, Mary Sojourner, George Sibley, Michele Murray, John Nichols, Gary Wockner, Hal Clifford and M. John Fayhee.
Mountain Gazette is sold to GSM Publishing.
In an effort to bypass the complicated planning process required by the Grand County government, the Winter Park Town Council annexed part of Winter Park Ski Area — up to 12,060 feet, making it the country’s highest-elevation municipality.
Colorado unseats California as the #1 beer-producing state by volume.
Chris Sharma completes the first ascent of Jumbo Love at Clark Mountain, California. The route, rated 5.15b, stands as the most difficult rock climb in the U.S. and one of the hardest in the world.
Salt Lake City activist Tim DeChristopher sneaks into a BLM oil-and-gas-leasing auction, where he makes false bids on 14 parcels of land in the Utah desert, some adjacent to Arches and Canyonlands national parks. The auction is postponed when he is discovered, and later only 29 of the auction’s 116 parcels are deemed legal. DeChristopher is sentenced to two years in federal prison in 2011.
GSM sells Mountain Gazette to Skram Media, which also owns Climbing and Urban Climber magazines.
Rock climber Steph Davis free solos the North Face route on Castleton Tower in the Utah desert, then BASE-jumps from the summit.
Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. signs legislation legalizing homebrewing in the Beehive State.
The first railcars depart the Moab Uranium Mill Tailings Superfund site, carrying away a fraction of the 16 million tons of uranium waste sitting on the banks of the Colorado River. The town’s toxic legacy is moving to a safer resting place at Crescent Junction at a cost of over $800 million.
Skier Shane McConkey, known as much for his extreme skiing as his zany antics, dies in a ski-BASE accident in Italy’s Dolomites. McConkey, widely revered as the father of modern powder-ski design, first tacked ski bindings onto water skis to ski big Alaskan peaks and later helped create the Volant Spatula, the first reverse-camber, reverse-sidecut ski.
Skram Media is sold to Active Interest Media, which also owns Backpacker magazine. Mountain Gazette is spun off and acquired by Summit Publishing of Charlottesville VA, which also owns Blue Ridge Outdoors, Elevation Outdoors and Breathe magazines.
Wolves are removed from the federal Endangered Species List in Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Utah by a congressional measure. One of the West’s most enduring controversies returns to center stage.
Shaun White wins snowboard superpipe at the Winter X-Games for the fifth year in a row, with a first-ever perfect score of 100.
Check out the 60 best excerpts from Mountain Gazette over the last 40 years!