John W. Lundin, founding board member of the National Nordic Museum, with U.S. Olympic Skier and medal winner Phil Mahre, Mahre is holding John’s book Early Skiing on Snoqualmie Pass at the October 2017 anniversary celebration of the museum. Profits from the book go toward support of the museum.
Skiing Sun Valley: a history from Union Pacific to the Holdings, published by The History Press in 2020, is an in-depth history of the country's first destination ski resort where modern skiing in this country began. The book authored by John Lundin includes more than 180 historic photos from a variety of sources.
It tells previously untold stories from original Union Pacific documents, oral histories of individuals involved with the resort from its beginning, and histories of Union Pacific and the Harriman family.
The book discusses the history of Sun Valley, the country's first destination ski resort built in 1936 by Averell Harriman and Union Pacific in the wilds of Central Idaho for $1.5 million. Harriman intended to regenerate rail passenger traffic that had been decimated by the Great Depression.
The resort was designed to bring European ambiance to the U.S., and was called America's St. Moritz. Sun Valley had an ultra-modern lodge with big city amenities, a ski school with Austrian instructors that made skiing sexy, and chair lifts invented by Union pacific engineers based on a system to load bananas onto boats.
Skiing Sun Valley explores Sun Valleys' relationship with Averell Harriman and the Union Pacific Railroad, Harriman's personal involvement with virtually every decision made about the resort, and how its role was governed by railroad economics. It demonstrates how Harriman used ski tournaments to make Sun Valley an international resort.
Skiing Sun Valley explores the unique history of our first destination ski resort that introduced modern skiing to this country. Developed as an economic asset of the Union Pacific Railroad, Sun Valley became a cultural icon and influenced many other ski resorts developed afterwards.
The book is based on previously unpublished sources about Union Pacific, Sun Valley and the people who developed it and made it famous.
Ski racer and author Dick Dorworth in his review of the book in Skiing History magazine said the following: "Skiing Sun Valley is a deeply researched, scholarly book about the connections between the Sun Valley of today and the people, places, cultures, economics, wars, inventions, wilderness, ecology, risks and personal relationships in the 19th and 20th centuries that made it what it will be in the 21st.
"Every aspect of the story is accompanied by an abundance of photos that on their own are worth the price of the book. Every person with a connection to and love of Sun Valley will be better informed, inspired and wiser after reading it."
During the Covid-19 quarantine period John Lunden also published two other books about ski history: Sun Valley, Ketchum & the Wood River Valley and Ski Jumping in Washington State: a Nordic Tradition, which is a companion book to an exhibit on ski jumping at the Nordic Museum that he helped prepare.
He also wrote Early Skiing on Snoqualmie Pass that was published in 2017. It and Sun Valley, Ketchum & the Wood River Valley received Skade awards from the International Skiing History Association.
John was born and raised in Seattle. He received B.A and J.D. degrees from the University of Washington and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from The George Washington University.
He practiced law in Washington, D.C. and Seattle as a federal attorney and as a private practice trial attorney in federal court.