The Early Years: A Truly Intimate Experience

Olympian Corey Engen refines the ski technique of future Olympian Patty Boydstun on Brundage Mountain in 1963.

During its first decade of operation, Brundage Mountain Ski Area was a small, hometown ski area for locals.

Holiday weekends attracted skiers from the Boise area and from Lewiston and eastern Washington, but even then, crowds were sparse.

Forest Service Ranger Wally Lancaster said, “I can remember weekends with fewer than 25 cars in the parking lot . . . nowadays, there are more than 1,000 cars.”

Dick Lynch, who worked at Brundage in the 1960s, said it was typical to have just eight to ten skiers a day, midweek. General Manager Corey Engen often would head out and ski with anyone who showed up on the mountain.

Typically, everyone present on the mountain skied together midweek, and to save money, Engen would shut down the lift once the group unloaded, and start again when everyone reached the bottom.

These are just some of the amusing anecdotes you’ll find in our new book, Brundage Mountain: The Best Snow in Idaho. It traces the early years of skiing in McCall, the creation of the Little Ski Hill, and the evolution of Brundage Mountain from the early days described here to present day and beyond.

We invite you to join us for our book release party on Saturday, October 6, at Shore Lodge, from 4-7 pm.

In Boise, the release party is on Tuesday, October 9, at the Idaho Historical Museum at noon. Author Eve Chandler will be available to sign books at both events.

Those not able to attend these events can order a book on-line here.


  1. Ellie Anderson says

    Hello Eve,
    Would love to attend this fun and exciting event of the book signing, but that is the date of the UI Homecoming game and we will be having family and friends here for a fun and busy weekend.
    Best Wishes and Congratulations!
    Cheers, Ellie Anderson

  2. Jeff Garland says

    I was 5 years old when Corey Engen helped me adjust my ski boots and gave my first day of skiing a friendly, positive start. Years later, I realized that he could have been shmoozing with jet-setters at one of the big, famous resorts, but he chose to share the pure joy of skiing with families at quiet, relatively obscure Brundage. Over the 40+ years since, I have skied at many great mountains throughout the country and Canada, but for fabulous snow with a low-pressure, family-friendly vibe — Brundage will always be my favorite.

  3. Linda Dobbs says

    My family, who was from Weiser, would often make the trip to McCall to spend time at the cabin in the winter. My brother and I learned to ski at the old Club Hill when the lodge still existed before the fire. Often the hill would not be packed, so we would help side-step pack with others who showed up to ski.
    While in college, my future husband, Jim Dobbs, my brother, Rod Stanford, and I were there for opening day at Brundage. There were times when we rode a bus up the mountain because the roads in the spring were too muddy to allow cars. Sometimes there were only as few as 10 people on the bus, but the mountain was still open for those willing to make the trip to the mountain. Thank you for many memories Brundage Mountain!!

  4. says

    My family was from Nampa and Cory Engen gave me my first ski lesson on Brundage when I was 11 years old. We were on the mountain most every weekend after that during the late 60’s and into the 70’s. Our family fell in love with Brundage, the small and close family ambiance, the usually short lift line, and the great snow. People were friendly and unpretentious, as I can still remember the day that I finally realized that this woman in the fur coat with whom I had ridden up the chair with several times this season was JR Simplot’s wife, and the guy who came by once in a while to check on her was JR himself. You’d have never known they were well known or important, just nice people. Cory Engen was always the most graceful and easy to pick out skier coming down the slopes, just something unique about his style and form, very smooth and methodical. I can remember many a day when it snowed so hard you could barely see five feet in front of you, the light was flat, and terrain was indiscernible, and the ski patrol just wanted to shut it all down as everyone was in the lodge except the four Myers boys who couldn’t get enough of it. The patrol was so patient to just keep following us down the mountain run after run as we laughed and screamed in delight with every new run. What great memories. We love Brundage Mountain.

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