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Southwest Life Health And the West is History Community Travel

Photo: Balligers at Lechner Field Ski Area – Ca. 1940

Father and son, Walter and Bob Balliger, prepare for a day of skiing at Lechner Hill (later Chipmunk Hill), located just south of the turnoff to Electra Lake on U.S. Highway 550. In 1939, the San Juan Ski Club moved a rope tow from Cascade Meadows (located where Cascade Village is today) to Lechner Hill. It became the primary venue for downhill skiing until 1943 when the tow was moved to Durango’s Third Avenue Ski Area, now Chapman Hill. Bob Balliger was born in Telluride in 1922 and besides playing a key role in the early development of downhill skiing in the area, was involved in many civic organizations and initiatives. He worked for the San Juan Basin Health Department for 36 years, retiring as director in 1984. He died in 2016 at the age of 93.<br><br>Ed Horvat for Animas Museum, edhorvat @animasmuseum.org