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The Ski Camp At the ‘Old Mill’ Site”

Eilif Haxthow’s Hollyburn Journal (October 1924 - January 1928)

Ski Camp at the 'Old Mill' Site, Hollyburn Ridge, 1925

Eilif Haxthow's Hollyburn Journal
As Translated by Jorgen Dahlie
To open/download a pdf copy Eilif's journal, CLICK HERE.

Vancouver (mid-October, 1924)

Arriving in town I had a look through the place. The air was moist and the weather foggy, the streets wet and shining in the street lights. Reminded me a lot of a late afternoon in Kritiania [Oslo]. As it was soon bedtime, I looked for a hotel which looked inexpensive enough, then checked the time and who should I meet but an old friend, Johs W. Kahlen, who had crossed the Atlantic with me. Gets one to think that the world is not so small after all.

Ski Camp at the 'Old Mill' Site (December 9, 1924)

Vancouver is a good place to live. The city is big enough, is rather attractive in and of itself and has a lot of amenities. Stanley Park with it animal enclosure is the best I have seen of its kind. It is right on the ocean, just outside the main city. But it has its disadvantages, too. The worst this time of year is the fog and the rain. One can hardly see the sun the week through but then one is also spared the bitter cold that one meets in the rest of Canada.

As expected, there are problems finding jobs here in Vancouver. Around the Employment Office men by the hundreds looking for work. I finally met up with a man who offered me a job in the woods near Vancouver but in the meantime I met Verne so I let that opportunity go. About this Verne. From Kahlen I had gotten his address at the Scandinavian Bureau counter and went there to arrange for my mail to be forwarded. Rudolf Jules Verne is Swedish and had been in Canada over 15 years. It is seldom one meets such a nice, friendly man. He said that he had rented an old logging cabin on Hollyburn Ridge just outside of Vancouver and had plans to start a ski camp there for the winter. Fix up a couple of buildings, rent out skis and sell coffee and sandwiches. Would I be interested in that? I thought about it, what could suit me better? A companion who needs some help and friendly to boot. We found a good comrade in Hjalmar Fahlander, another Swede.

For a week we have been busy getting things ready. There has been a sawmill operation here before so there was lot of material to work with. We fixed up a little shack to live in for the winter, with double walls, floor and a roof, insulated with tar paper so it will be dry and warm. It is almost finished. Then we will fix up a bigger shack to be used as the “restaurant.”

From Vancouver one takes the ferry to West Vancouver, about a half hour trip, and from there one has to climb up the mountain. The camp is about four miles from W. Vancouver and at an altitude of some 1800 ft. {2500 ft.} so the climb is rather steep. All stuff must be carried up on your back: food, tools, building paper, cement. Even though the camp is close to Vancouver, it still borders on wilderness and there are no building out there. But there is no shortage of bears in the area. Some weeks ago five of them were shot. Shame on them! But there are none here.

It is costing something to start this new venture. True that we are both putting our last cent in this undertaking, however, I think there is hope that we will get it all back. That we will see in good time. Now it is just a question of pressing on so we can finish by Christmas. Here the snow has come, in Vancouver only rain and mist. Here is the way life should be. I am my own boss!!!

Ski Camp at the 'Old Mill' Site (December 22, 1924)

Time flies quickly. We have already moved into our little cabin, which is rather nice, tight as thermos flask. The fireplace and chimney have been made from fireproof stone, naturally it takes some time to heat things up. But once it first becomes warm, oh boy! We dry stuff in the afternoon and at the moment it’s warmer than the devil’s kitchen! There has been no shortage of difficulties, but the “restaurant” is now as good as finished and we hope to have it going just after Christmas. But difficulties for us over inadequate time or snow is not a problem, only that there is absolutely no money. Our capital has not only sunk to zero but below zero! But a glorious Christmas we will have just the same. No doubt Jules Verne, Kaftein, and Hillstrom will show up. We have had great weather for a week now. A few days ago we had minus 15 degrees [C] and this cold they have not had for many years. Otherwise the temperature has been quite comfortable. Between five and ten degrees (C) and sun and blue skies every day!

Ski Camp at the 'Old Mill' Site (Christmas Eve, 1924)

Now it is Christmas Eve again. Time has gone quickly, yet it seems like a lifetime has gone by since last Christmas and now. Just as the sun sinking in red and gold beyond the mountains on the other side of the Fraser River. It is growing dark outside and the lamp has been lit so I actually see that Christmas Eve is here. I found a small spruce tree today with some difficulty. It now stands on the table in front of me. All is in order for the feast, just the guests and Christmas food is missing. But that will come. Fahlander went to town to get food and a lot of other things. Have waited all day for him along with his companions. Something must have delayed them, but still, they must come.

Now I hear a mouse in our “mouse safe” food cupboard. I shall try to capture it alive! That would be a fine Christmas present!

Ski Camp at the 'Old Mill' Site (December 29, 1924)

Christmas was feted with revelry, Christmas porridge, bacon, coffee, cigars and good stuff, presents and mail, song and a lot of fun. Guests were Jules Verne, editor and skating king, also known as Ivanowitschi, Kaftein or Westeberg Ski King and numero uno, also called Hillstrom. Guests filled our room to overflowing!

Christmas has gone and the new year beckons and that cannot be denied The two inhabitants of Hollyburn Ski Camp are beat and all of that. Some snow came at Christmas. It is now beginning to melt and we are almost despairing . In the new year we must get started! Jules Verne wrote an item for the Vancouver newspapers about this place. How that will turn out, those who do not starve to death will find out!

Ski Camp at the 'Old Mill' Site (January 11, 1925)

Now we are going! Now things are moving! For a long time it seemed hopeless. We have had five opening days that were a disaster. But today, Sunday the 11th of January,1925 we were surprised early in the morning as people streamed in more and more. The restaurant was not ready for such an onslaught but the skis-nine pairs, got used the whole day. Snow made the difference but the Canadians were the heroes.

They climbed up the hills, slid down with arms and legs flying, sat down on their seats, shouting and laughing!

As we said, we were not ready for this onslaught but we took in probably $8.00. Next Sunday should be better, given the excitement we had today. But this happened just in time. For a couple of weeks we have subsisted on some flour and oatmeal. We did have a rabbit steak. That was the result of my snare. We have shot some flying squirrels. They have unusually fine skins ; they now decorate the walls in our front room. But now to sleep after a good days work. LOTS OF FUN.

Ski Camp at the 'Old Mill' Site (January 28, 1925)

But on the Sunday after the rain came, at least it did in Vancouver and thus very few came up here. The $8.00 had to go a long way and it meant another couple of weeks on crusts and oatmeal porridge. It was too much, or too little for Mr. Fahlander . He has a case of scurvy. In fact, he has not been well lately. From stomach pain to headache, sore throat, and sleeplessness.

But hurrah! Now we see better days again. Last Sunday we had good weather. This time we had 12 pair skis, and the restaurant was ready for a large group - and they came. We had between 100 and 150 guests and we took in over 30 dollars. Last week we had some woodworkers up here. They used our big cabin and for that they left us their food after. Now we live in richness and overflowing opulence. Feasting on ham, pork, butter, and cheese!!.

Last Saturday there was big article in the Province with sketches of the ski camp and details of winter sports on Hollyburn Ridge. That is by no means poor advertising! Now we just have to have good weather for Sunday!!

Not too much happens during the week. Our days are taken up with some small jobs. Get wood, wash clothes, repair the used skis and so on. And in the afternoon we study our respective correspondence courses. We are also planning some longer trips in to the mountains. So far, nothing has come of that but it will in time.

Ski Camp at the 'Old Mill' Site (February 12, 1925)

Some small changes have occurred. Ahlberg, a Swede, has joined the company. So now we are three. Business has been bad the past two Sundays - poor weather. But now something else has to be tried. The idea is to start with dances in the Rococco room [restaurant] every Saturday. In this way we can entice people to come up here whether it rains or not, and once we get them up they won’t get away without paying - you bet you! But then we must also get an orchestra. My two partners are in Vancouver to buy a gramophone without any money. That will be difficult but they might do it. Yesterday afternoon they were at Mary’s in West Van. Hope they have taken a cake or something like that . Now it will be exciting to see how this is going to go. I think the idea is a good one.

Since last Sunday the weather has been good. Monday we took a trip over to the lake but we have not gotten any further. Fahlander was lucky with some sharp shooting and got a rabbit. We had that for our dinner yesterday. Today we have the finest weather, bright sunshine. I think I will take a trip.

Ski Camp at the 'Old Mill' Site (March 3, 1925)

Time goes by; it can’t be otherwise but that’s all right. The weather has not been so good but the business is still doing well. The gramophone does it job. The record for a weekend so far has been $60.00 and never under what we need to live on. I manage to put some aside as well so am satisfied.

The dances go full blast in the Rococco hall every Saturday. By one or two in the morning our guests are in their bunks and on the floors as we stay away. Poor souls - they look a bit bedraggled Sunday morning but they get value for their 40 cents and that is all right. Last Saturday I had a great moonlight boat trip with Ida, Lee, and Flo. Otherwise there have been few trips lately. Got another rabbit in the snare the other morning. Got myself some traps also so now it’s become dangerous here on the mountain! Nothing really of importance happens here for the time being. I can sense that spring is slowly on the way and some summer plans begin to take shape. They are numerous and rather grandiose but will have to see what transpires.

Ski Camp at the 'Old Mill' Site (April 7, 1925)

Spring has arrived. The sun is warm and the snow is disappearing. Skiing is pretty well done for the year, at least around the camp here. There have been fewer people here lately and business has slumped. But we are not in need, rather the opposite, we live like knights. Easter comes at the end of this week and that will bring extra doings. Yes, next Sunday Captain Westeberg is off to the States, to San Francisco. We had a farewell party for him in the cabin last Saturday with rum and lot of good things! A huge party!!

My great plans for the summer have come to naught. The Banff job that I had banked so strongly on went to hell. Got a reply from them that they had no use for me. So much for that. It also looks like the job with the oil company in Vancouver has gone so I find that I rather like the place where I am and may as well stay. Selling „ cold drinks „ and such , that may get people to come here during the summer as well. Hope only that one of my dear “partners” gets a job so that there will only be two of us here for the summer. Took a trip up to Hollyburn Peak last week under sunny skies. Up there it is still 15-20 feet of snow and what a view!! I can’t really describe it but Vancouver has some exceptional vistas.

Ski Camp at the 'Old Mill' Site (May 14, 1925)

The middle of May already. Around the cabin everything is green. Full summer and baking warm during the day. But here above the ocean the now is still 6-8 feet deep.

Here we have made some changes. The hotel has been made bigger. A short time ago I went to the manager of the company with the result that we are now in complete charge. So we have fixed up the “Upper Cabin” with bunks so that we now have a sleeping room for about 20. There we have [a] place for all the men and the women can stay in the kitchen - place there for 12-15. My gramophone has arrived from Timiskaming and every Saturday there is a big dance in the restaurant. Last Saturday we had about 25 guests. But arrivals on Sundays have been fewer than ever. It is to getting too warm for people to come up to the place. As the skiing has come to a stop, our income has gone down to about $25.00 per weekend. It will no doubt go down even more in the warmest part of the summer. I think it is possible to continue to live up here. However, the lack of money and the wanderlust could induce me to leave this great life at least for a period of time. I say “great life” because it is hard to imagine any better place as far as day-to-day life goes. The weather is clear and warm, the sun is up by five in the mornings. When I poke my nose out the sleeping bag at seven, it a full daylight - no need to linger any longer. When one comes out on the verandah., stretches oneself and breathes in the fresh morning air, then one feels like a million!!

Perhaps one can hear the thrumming of a grouse in the valley. Then one takes the rifle, and on moccasin-clad feet, moves quietly forward to where the bird is sitting in the tree top. It is often a long shot but not so seldom it happens that the game falls to the ground.

Ski Camp at the 'Old Mill' Site (May 28, 1925)

Not much happens here. If one were to write of only great things, then nothing would be written. Have taken a lot trips lately, mainly to try fishing. Fishing luck has been poor. In fact, I haven’t had any luck at all. That is the biggest failure I have had here on my dear Hollyburn. That can’t continue, therefore I will see if I can get the government to plant some trout fingerlings in the lake above the plateau - will see how that will go.

Well, the trips were fun just the same. One trip along Cypress Creek was rather hard but another one to the Capilano River was worse. Was on the go from five in the morning ‘til dusk. And what awful terrain! It shifted from snow to swamp, and from the steepest cliffs to virtual jungle. Right in the middle of this rough area I found a little creek that was filled with loose stones. In several of these I saw glistening metal!! It turned out to be small flecks of iron pyrites. It [the mine] might be worth looking into once the snow goes.

Ski Camp at the 'Old Mill' Site (July 27, 1925)

Two months have gone by and in that time a lot should have happened. In one month we had work, real work for a logging company, “Lions Shingle Mills” who were cutting cedar on the east side if the ridge here. The shingle bolts were shipped down to a sawmill in West Vancouver through a flume. The flume needs water and that is what provided us with work. First we had to repair the dam up by the first lake. Thereafter the dam had to be opened and closed each evening. The after [After that] we repaired all the dams and dikes further along the plateau in order to move the water down to the first lake. When that was done, most of the snow had melted and the dikes were soon dry. The first lake never did get filled but the company was glad to give us the work so they could keep going 2-3 weeks longer than usual. After that there was repairs to the old flume which goes along the whole ridge from Cypress Creek to Shield’s camp. Eight men were put to work [including us] and everyone was in our camp. Ahlberg, who was the cook, was run off his feet trying to prepare enough food for all. After three weeks the job was done and Cypress Creek was almost dry! An inch of water moistened the flume a short distance down. And so the company had to quit for the summer because of a water shortage, after having spent 7 to 8 hundred dollars on an old flume!!

Our work was not very interesting; first we worked with a pick and spade, after we had to carry planks along the flume but what won’t a man do for fifty cents an hour?

That’s enough about the work. Lately we have had a number of good trips: the Peak, Mount Strahan, Cypress Lake. When one gets up high enough one finds a real Norwegian high mountain landscape. Short, scrub timber, and heather, and here and there snowflakes, and small ponds. And the view! To the south and west one looks over the ocean, beyond the horizon clad in blue, jagged mountains – that’s Vancouver Island. To the north the “Lions of Vancouver” rise up, two giant lions. And further to the north and east are the snow capped mountains, one after the other as far as the eyes can see.

The lost mine we have looked for in vain but in the dryer valleys we have found good signs of minerals. It looks mostly like copper or iron but what else might one find? The area around Cypress Lake and the debris from Mount Strachan seems to be the richest, so there we will go the next trip.

Now it is the height of summer, dry and warm. Since the middle of June we have had nice weather, blue skies nearly every day and if there is a rain shower now and then, it doesn’t last long. Hope it continues for a couple of months yet. The blueberries are ripe and there are a lot of them in the camp area. The bushes are as high as a man and the berries can get as large as grapes! These blueberries are good for picking. We do that and make blueberry pies by the dozen. The black bears move around here as well. Once in a while we meet one but they are neither fierce nor afraid, just nose about and go on as though nothing is happening.

Because of the dry weather we have had some forest fires in the area. The nearest one was up in the Capilano Valley. We were up in a camp on the plateau so we had an exceptional view of it. Great plumes of smoke rolled up from the valley into the air. There was the noise from trees breaking and the rocks cracking because of the heat . The fire moved up the mountain [on the other side of the valley] and flames shot up to the top of the 200 foot trees which became flaming torches. That was some scene to behold, especially at night.

Business has been dreadful. Very few people are coming up because of the heat, but thanks to our job with the logging company we are fine for the summer. The outlook for the winter is good so why complain? And I am not doing that either.

Ski Camp at the 'Old Mill' Site (October 13, 1925)

Home again some two or three weeks ago but haven‚t got started to write  til now. The weather on the prairie did not improve and I am glad I left because they now have winter.

A lot has happened since I returned. We - Ahlberg and me- have decided to build in the spring, a small hotel of logs up in the clearing. Christensen has drawn up plans along the old Norwegian model. Verne is not too excited about this, though it  should not hinder his plans to build up at First lake, if he could just get going and get some capital and have something underway soon. We shall soon see how that is going to turn out.

Last Sunday we had some important guests up  here: Vancouver journalists  and the Council of West Vancouver. Together  nearly 70 had lunch at the camp.I think it was a big success. The kitchen was decorated in colour, heather and plants , a  large horseshoe shaped table, with seating for 30, all decked out with new tanle settings bough for this occasion. There was a speech by the mayor and others with high spirits all round. This was no small affair, stuff had to be packed up and  when Erik twisted his foot the beginning of last week, I had the fortune to have to take on the job myself. One day I made two trips up and carried some 120 pounds.

We got ourselves in debt for approximately $70 and things looked rather bleak when the rain poured down Saturday morning. But , look! It cleared up during the day and Sunday was glorious! We took in ca, $100. Record!!

Last week a logger, an old friend of Pogue's shot a black bear up on the plateau. We got most of the meat and it was not bad! I will have get a bear and smoke it for the winter.

Ski Camp at the 'Old Mill' Site (November 30, 1925) 

Time goes and not much has happened. But three weeks ago when Erik was in town ,and while the rain poured and sounded on the roof, I was surprised to hear footsteps on the verandah. It turned out to be Bill who had just arrived from the prairie. I haven‚t mentioned Bill earlier.  William Beck is his name.  I met him at Park's place in Craik and hired him to help us over the winter. He is from Ontario and is a good fellow. Twenty-one years old, tall and stringy but strong and hardworking, really a good marksman with a rifle and revolver.

Another newcomer has also joined our group. It is Pogue. When the rainy season started in earnest, he and his tent just about washed away. When he didn't want to move back to town, Bill and I fixed up a little cabin just above our place and that is where he is set for the winter. It is good to have these men up here. But I haven't mentioned the fifth member of our company! He is Jerry. Erik got him to look after when his family was off to Florida for the winter. Jerry can sit on his haunches and say woof! That's when one holds a piece of chocolate to his nose, but otherwise he is not good for much.

I have got a hold of a rifle now, a 38-55 Winchester. Bill has his own and we have tramped about a lot lately but without any results. It is too late for the bears, there is a foot of snow on the plateau now, and that has driven them in for the winter. Other animal tracks I have seen a lot of so with a little we should be able get some game in time.

Business has been terrible lately, mainly because of the steady rain. We have ordered two pair of skis for now! But we have arranged it  so we can get credit  at Marine Grocery until the season opens, so we can use what we take in with the skis.

Concerning the building of a hotel, I have decided it is difficult to start anything when one has no cents to ourselves, so time will tell if anything develops.

Ski Camp at the 'Old Mill' Site  (April 21, 1926)

Summer again. Winter was alright despite the lack of snow. Last winter was the mildest in the district for some twentyyears. We used the skis for the most part upon the plateau and it now the end of skiing for the year. At Christmas  we owed ca. $100 to Marine Grocery. That is now cleared up and I have ca. $50 to the good so I have no grounds to complain. It has been a rather busy winter. We now have five cabins in use and Bill and I have worked to keep them up, especially with the packing of goods.

After that Bill and I have done some trapping by Cypress Lake. We started a little late in the beginning of January to build a small timber cabin amongst the big tree on the north side of Cypress Lake and have a trap line with about 20 traps. The cabin was needed since the trail there was seven miles through difficult terrain, it took a long time to check the traps, so we had to have a place for overnighting. It was not a wholly unmixed blessing to take those trips in the rain and the wet snow, just before we had our little cabin finished. The take was two live martens, one marten skin, one raccoon, two ermines[weasels] and one skunk skin. The three martens amounted to $75. For my part of this deal I bought myself a good Winchester 38-55.

On Grouse Mountain, our competitor have started to build  an automobile road  and a hotel. It supposed to be finished by summer. Don Munday who has been upe a couple of years,has a $10,000 interest in the company and a good position. It is a good thing that some one is lucky. The camp here has been sold to Verne and  he will take over on May 1st. Hollyburn Ridge has also made some progress. Two years ago almost no one knew about it but last Friday there were about one thousand people here.

In a week's time I will in reality leave my little kingdom here and head out on the road again. Not much more do I know about the future so will just have to see how  things develop.

P.S. It is true! I have found some scattered iron pyrites from Black Mt. which appear to have gold! Before I leave  I will get a mining engineer to follow me up there and look it over.  Who knows, maybe I will be a millionaire before I add to this account?

Vancouver (May 29, 1926)

Now I am taking up my pen again but I am a long way from being a millionaire. There are traces of gold in the minerals at Black Mt. But they do not amount to much.

Now I have spent a couple of weeks in Vancouver and looked for suitable work but it is hard to find.  A couple of good jobs have slipped through my fingers. I was certain one day I would be hired by an American who was going to hunt grizzly, ˜five dollars a day plus free board !

Had I been out earlier I could have shipped out in the Baymaud which was ready for an 18 months trip to the Arctic coast. Damn it all!

Now I am so fed up with hanging around town I have decided to take a  trip up the coast. The boat leaves at 11:45  today and I have bought a ticket to Powell River˜that says all I know about that. 

Vancouver (August 29, 1926)

Here again after three great months in Powell River. It took a week for my foot to get better but after I worked steady until I quit last week. On Sundays  I worked from 10 to 24 hours. That became monotonous in the long run, especially when the nice trips and the fishing awaited me, but it was bearable with the half- monthly cheques. I had my fillings done with silver and a gold crown on one. (Now I am soon 100% American!)

When the dentist's money lust had been satisfied and the dollars started to dwindle in my purse, I got an offer of a job in Christensen's office and I took that. Quit my millwright job in Powell River just as I began to feel at home in that occupation and had the satisfaction of being offered five cents more an hour to stay. I did not stay and don't regret  that. Down here I have bought myself some new clothes and things, found a good room  and started the  first white collar job I have had in this country. Christensen is an architect and General Contractor and my job in the office is some typing and a little drawing. It is going well.

Went up the mountain today to say hello to Pogue and  family and some other old friends. These days Verne has sent up some men to tear down the old camp and move it up on the plateau. That was a big surprise, so there is still hope that his plans and dreams can become a reality.

Vancouver (March 17, 1927)

 Built myself a little cabin on Hollyburn  last fall and that has been a Saturday night place to stay during the winter.  All of a sudden Leif's smiling face showed up at the place. He had come back after a doing well with two months harvesting. He came to me on Hornby Street where I was living, and said all was well with the work place; he had managed to find  a steady job lately.

Christmas Eve we celebrated in fine style on the mountain, singing well into the morning. In the new year another well known character sowed up on the landscape, the dear old paterfamilias, Finn. Well into the spirit but in good humour.

For good financial reasons we found a small three room place to rent on Main Street and began to cook for ourselves. And here we live in fine style and enjoy it. During the winter Leif and Finn worked three days for Christensen but that was all. Leif has now started as typesetter for Canada Scandinavian  and Finn earns room and board at a fine hotel in town but that was only to last five days so I am waiting to hear from him tomorrow.

During the winter  I have taken a course in prospecting and mining, very interesting and well worth the money, you will see, there will be use for this knowledge in the future.

In the meantime, "Hans. C Christensen,Ltd." has grown and is one of the best of its kind. He had  grown too fast for a while but has overcome that and is now doing quite well. It is the case that H.C.C. Ltd. started up a rather grand lumber yard, "Lions Gate Lumber Co.", but when the finances were insufficient and it began to fail, luck would have it that he got rid of it and all is well again.

Otherwise must say that  an office job is not too exciting nor rewarding, but as they say, it is great to be young and able!

Vancouver (June 3, 1927)

All is well. Summer has come, a bit late but in fine form. I continue as secretary, Leif the bookkeeper, and Finn is busy doing nothing.

In a burst of optimism and a big man's madness, Leif and Finn went out and bought a used automobile (for zero down and $15 per week) and since then we have lived the life of gentlemen in happy and trouble free days.

On Sundays we travel out fishing or to the beaches where we while away the day.

Vancouver (January 18th, 1928)

This has been a long break and a little bit of everything has happened in the interval. Let me see if I can recall the more important items.

In June  of last year I was lucky to get a job with Boyles Bros. Diamond drill contractors. So I quit Christensen.  A month later Christensen went broke, had taken on too much. I worked at Big Ledge Mine, near Upper Arrow Lake, B.C. We were for a time up at the 7000 ft. level, where the snow was several feet deep. On July 1st we had  an extra unsympathetic snow storm. It was  an interesting life, but a lot of  work to make things comfortable. 10 to 12 hours shifts, no stops for Sunday or anything else. It was scenic, with the long, narrow Arrow lake a long ways down and the view over the Lardeau  area on the other side. The drilling went quickly, despite a lot of moving the camp and machinery, and in August the contract was finished.

After two days in Revelstoke, we were on the way to Vancouver again. There I found Leif and the rest of the boys from Cardero Srreet. Finn had been hired on a Swedish ship and was now somewhere near Australia.

So there some good days for a while, spent at English Bay and the town' s many "Beer parlours".  I waited for a new job with Boyles Bros. but nothing came of that.

In the meantime I ran into Haddeland, a well to do timber owner from Telemark I tried to get him interested in muskrats and that seemed to be fine. However, he had just arrived and wanted to see a bit of the country. He bought a car and took a trip northward through B.C., up the new Cariboo highway, right up to Prince George, westward from there to Burns Lake, south over Francois Lake to Grassy Plains.. There we found some exceptional farm land that can be bought cheaply and some for next to nothing . I would stay here if I was thinking about farming.  On the way back we took the old Telegraph Trail between Vanderhoof and Quesnel in order to see some large bogs and marshes. This road was more like an overgrown path and it was not without difficulty that we covered the 125 miles to Quesnel. But it went well enough.  We were back in Vancouver  after some two weeks. Nothing became of the muskrats. The Cariboo is a huge and interesting region that I would like to learn more about in time. There are now few white men there but the Indians are numerous. Her are some of Canada‚s largest cattle ranches and the last of the  „ wild west „ with its cowboys and wild horses. The individual mountains and the sand hills have all kinds of colours-gold, red green, and blue. Here one also finds many tools and reminders of the  gold rush period  1860-1870, when this region produced  millions of dollars.

Well, I came back to Vancouver. Leif's job had ended and he went back to the harvest. I had  lost the chance for a job with Boyles in Anyox. So now it is a matter of finding something else.

I became a painter, simply a dabbler==painted houses both old and new, outside ans inside. I got  together with Osmund and Fladmark on Cardero St. where we lived a peaceful working life On Saturdays we often went back to Hollyburn, where the woods still echoed with the  sound of our drinking songs, now an empty ring.  Leif and Loberg  came home from the harvest. The painting went well

 In November Chris  Stensbinde came in from Wigwam where he had been drilling all summer. Here there was little work to be found. I brought up my old idea of a ski making. That seemed to catch on. So I quit my painting job; it looked to be dying a natural death anyway, as there would be little painting during the winter.

Well, we rented a shop, bought some tools, a stove and some other things and sat about making a place to manufacture skis. None of us had seen anything like this before, Stenshinde had not even seen a ski!

After a couple of weeks we had everything ready and could begin production. It looked promising for the time being.  A number of orders and the promise of a larger order from Grouse Mountain.

 We worked late and early, Sunday and every day. We made mostly hickory skis, and they were better than what could be bought in town and decidedly cheaper˜ No B.S.!

And the more curses !!

We were four who had to live by selling skis. Kahlen and Leif did not have jobs so many skis had to be sold each week in order to get them to show up. We were too late to sell to the sports stores in town; they had already bought their supply from companies in the east. We got some individual orders but not enough, we could not advertise.  Grouse Mtn. held back their large order to see how the season would go. We went broke. We closed up, sold for a spot price the skis we had to an auctioneer, and closed the shop. That was then and we now have 3-4 weeks to find something new.

Damn the bad luck but just wait!

Well, Christmas,New Year, and other occasions were celebrated with due concern and many drinks. It has become quite the custom on these festive times to take a swim in English Bay, therefore we went in both for Christmas and New Year.

Seaman Hanson paid a visit to  Vancouver a week ago. On that occasion Leif was hired  on the same ship and is now homeward bound via Japan..

Here with the end of this account and the last for 1927. 

To see Eilif Haxthow's Photo Gallery, click here.

Eilif Haxthow Biographical Notes 

Eilif Haxthow (1905-1965) was an enthusiastic and accomplished outdoorsman, skier, fisher, hiker, wood carver, oil painting artist and photographer who took the time to chronicle his commercial activities, leisure time and mining career. He was born on April 13, 1905 in Oslo, Norway. In 1923, at age 18, Eilif came to Canada and eventually settled in the Vancouver area in 1924. During the fall of that year, Eilif, along with a fellow Scandinavian, Hjalmar Fahlander, fixed up a small shack, (which would be their home), at the abandoned Nasmyth mill on Hollyburn Ridge in the fall 1924 renovated the former mill cookhouse. In doing so, Eilif & Hjalmar created the first ski camp and “Restaurant” on the North Shore Mountains, which was opened for business in early January, 1925. They also started a ski rental business. The skis were fashioned from the timbers on the mountain.

That same year Eilif was appointed “Honorary Fire Warden” for the Hollyburn Ridge District by the Forest Branch of the B.C. Government on June 16, 1925 with authority to hire up to “five men” for fire protection services.

In a newspaper article, "The Hollyburn Trail", published in the Sunday, October 4, 1925 Province 1925, Pollough Pogue wrote,

“…the exertion of climbing that far gives you a healthy appetite for lunch, which is served at the ski camp maintained by two popular Scandinavian sportsmen Eilif (Haxthow) and Erik (Ahlberg). Both are expert ski-runners and specialists on winter sports. Both are splendid woodsmen and familiar with the mountain country for which their camp is a base, and are available as efficient guides for parties who wish to explore the almost untouched field of mountains behind Hollyburn Ridge. During the winter the ski camp which these excellent sportsmen have established is a headquarters for snow sports of all kinds, but chiefly ski-running through the enchanting white forest and ski jumping on the big slide at the old mill.”

 That same year, several Hollyburn articles written by Pogue that made reference to Eilif and his companion were published. These two also proposed to build Hollyburn’s first commercial recreation property. A preliminary sketch outlines a front elevation of a two story hotel and first floor plan drawn up for them by Vancouver architect H. C. Christensen.

Eilif captured on film a number of interesting events and places including photographing many of the men and women who shared the Hollyburn story. His photos are dated starting in 1924. In 1934 he married Helen Mae Taylor of Vancouver. They met on the mountain.

Eilif went on to a successful career in the mining industry throughout B.C. and Ontario working for Boyles Bros. Diamond Drilling Ltd. of Vancouver, B.C. and ended his career with them as the Manager of their Port Arthur (Thunder Bay) office and plant. He was involved in many of the mining era’s storied events and just after retiring participated as a drilling consultant for the famous Ripple Rock removal explosion in 1958, the world’s largest non-nuclear explosion up to that point in history.