The History Of Moose Creek Ranch
Moose Creek Ranch didn’t start life as a glamping resort. It once was the Victor Ski Hill.
Victor Ski Hill
In the early 1930s after losing out on a ski area sponsorship from Union Pacific Railroad, Teton Valley residents—with the aid of $5,000 in Works Progress Administration (WPA) funds—cleared a protected slope about 1 mile south of Victor in the Allen Creek Drainage during the Depression-era winter of 1936-37.
The U.S. Forest Service donated a log cabin located at Mike Harris Flat to be used as a warming hut. This had to be taken apart and transported to the new ski area site and put back together. The hill itself was on public land, though the level area at the bottom of the slope was owned by a man named James Ingram.
Harold Holmes stated, “Jim let us put the cabin there and we gave him the payment from the food in exchange.” The ski hill, known as the Victor Ski Slide, was three quarters of a mile long and 300 feet wide, with a vertical drop of 782 feet and a grade of 17 to 22 percent.
The laborious task of clearing the hill was rewarded the following winter when the Victor Ski Hill opened with great fanfare. The first special snow train brought skiers from as far away as Pocatello. They were greeted at the train station by the Victor High School band and whisked to the Hill on horse-drawn sleighs; bobsleds were also employed to transport skiers to the run’s summit.
The locals thrived on the excitement of their new ski hill, holding their first community ski meet less than a month after the grand opening. There were downhill, slalom, and short cross country races into town.
A group of Teton Valley skiers formed the Teton Ski Club to promote these local events and also to travel to other area ski hills, such as the rope tow off Teton Pass where the Dartmouth Ski Team trained during the early season. They also attended a meet at a little ski hill south of Pocatello.
The winter of 1940-41 was the area’s heyday, when it unveiled an improved access road and a new power line that furnished electricity to run a high-speed electric rope tow and lights for night skiing. Only a month after the start of the ski season, the rope tow was so popular it reduced the number of spectators and converted them into skiers.
Perhaps the only thing that could dampen the enthusiasm was a war. When the United States entered World War II, a lot of Teton Valley’s young men – the core group of avid skiers – bundled off to serve their country.
The ski hill did operate for a few years after that but with sharply reduced participation, enthusiasm for its support dwindled.
Moose Creek Ranch carries forward the torch for local recreation, but replaces ski lifts with other natural amenities.