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March 28 @ 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Hemingway and Skiing with John Lundin

Historian and author John W. Lundin will explore Ernest Hemingway’s relationship to skiing, from the Alps to Idaho, and how skiing was an important part of the writer’s life, key to his coming of age, and provided themes he incorporated into his later writings.

Hemingway developed his love for skiing in the Alps during the 1920s while dealing with gruesome injuries suffered during World War I and living as an expatriate in Paris as a member of the “lost generation.” Between 1922 to 1926, he spent winters in the Alps, perfecting his craft and writing his first works, and skiing in the afternoons with his first wife Hadley Richardson. Hemingway threw himself into skiing, excited by the physically demanding nature of the sport in the 1920s, the challenge of climbing mountains using skins, and racing down glaciers in untracked snow, experiencing avalanches and crevasses, perhaps as a way of dealing with troubled memories of his traumatic war years.

His association with Sun Valley, Idaho, began in 1939 when he accepted an invitation to stay at the resort compliments of Union Pacific in exchange for its right to use his image for publicity. He fell in love with the area, returning often over the next twenty years. His fourth wife Mary Welsh learned to ski in Sun Valley, while Hemingway skied on Bald Mountain a few times with friends, but was more often found writing. His athletic pursuits and writing were affected by failing health in the 1950s before his death by suicide in 1961.

John W. Lundin is a lawyer, historian and author, founding member of the Washington State Ski and Snowboard Museum, and splits his time between Seattle and Sun Valley. He is the author of numerous magazine articles and four award winning books: Early Skiing on Snoqualmie Pass (2017); Sun Valley, Ketchum and the Wood River Valley (2020); Skiing Sun Valley: a History from Union Pacific to the Holdings (2020), (recipient of three national book awards); and Ski Jumping in Washington State: a Nordic Tradition (2021). John helped organize two exhibits on ski jumping: “Sublime Sights: Ski Jumping in Nordic America” at Seattle’s National Nordic Museum in 2021; and “Skiers in Flight: Sun Valley’s Ski Jumping Roots” at The Community Library’s Regional History Museum in 2022. He won the 2023 Western Heritage Prize from the Far West Ski Association and Steamboat Springs Resort for his multi-year “Work to Preserve Ski Jumping History, Expressing Norwegian Identity and Its Role in the Development of Skiing History.”

Ernest Hemingway and friends posing on skis in Schruns, Austria. L-R: Frau Lent (wife of Walther Lent, ski instructor), Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, Gerald Murphy. Winter, 1926. Courtesy of Ernest Hemingway Collection. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. EH07962P.


March 28
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
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The Community Library
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The Community Library
415 Spruce Ave
Ketchum, ID 83340 United States
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(208) 726-3493
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