in vehicle accident
By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer
Three months after helping Soldier
Mountain Ski Area celebrate its 55th birthday in February, the ski areaís
co-founder, Bob Frostenson, died last week in an automobile accident near
Gooding. He was 94.
Even in his 90s, Frostenson, a life-long
Idahoan and Camas Prairie farmer, maintained a youthful wit and said in an
interview last winter he believed a day without learning a lesson was a day
wasted. At the age of 92, he learned how to jump off Bald Mountain while
dangling beneath a parasail. He said he would have done it every day if could
So perhaps it wasnít a coincidence that an
appreciation for flight helped draw him to skiing in the 1940s.
"It was the closest recreation to flying
like a bird," he wrote in a history about the Soldier Mountain Ski Area.
The accident that claimed Frostensonís
life occurred Thursday, April 17, on Highway 46, just north of the Gooding city
According to Jerry Pierce, Gooding County
Sheriffís Office Chief Deputy, Frostenson was driving south in a 2001 Toyota
Camry when he crossed a rise on the road and collided with the rear of a
slow-moving pickup truck that had just pulled out of a driveway. The Camry
flipped, and Frostenson, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected.
He was pronounced dead at Gooding County
Memorial Hospital, Pierce said.
Frostenson was born in Manard, Idaho, on
Dec. 4, 1909 and was raised on a homestead on the Camas Prairie. He attended
school in a one-room schoolhouse.
After graduating from high school in 1930,
Frostenson married Gladys Hall from Ola, Idaho, on June 15, 1932, and the two
settled on the Camas Prairie to farm and raise their family.
In the summer of 1948, after watching the
1948 Winter Olympic tryouts in Sun Valley, Frostenson and his friend, Harry
Durall, decided they couldnít turn their backs on the sport of skiing. They
raised $10,000, began work on a base lodge and purchased two rope tows, the
first powered by a 1938 Chevrolet engine.
They cut timber, installed lifts and built
lodges by hand. The building years were among Frostensonís most notable memories
of the ski area.
"It was a hell of a lot of work,"
Though it took 10 years to get the
operation in the black, steady expansion and a growing awareness about skiing in
general eventually paid off.
"When we started, if we had 20 people up
here, we had a crowd," Frostenson said. "When I quit in 1973, we had lots of
buses of school kids coming. Once the school kids were skiing, well pretty soon
you had the whole family skiing.
"We always catered to family skiing. We
figured the family that skis together stays together, and I think thatís true."
For his part, Frostenson said he was
merely happy to have contributed to the sport of skiing.
"Iím just glad itís still here," he said.
"It makes you feel good."
Frostensonís life was a lot more than
When he was in his 70s, he began to write
articles for the Fairfield newspaper about pioneering days on the Camas Prairie,
and he was recently compiling the columns into a book.
He was a member of the Fairfield Community
Church, the Hailey Masonic Lodge and the Shriners. He continued to drive his
farm machinery until the day before his death, "enjoying the fresh air and blue
skies of his beloved Camas Prairie," according to his obituary, which appeared
in The Times News on April 20.
Frostenson is survived by his wife, Gladys
Frostenson; two sons, Ted (Marian) of Bend, Ore, Jack (Linda) of Fairfield; one
sister, Anna Hyatt of Fairfield; seven grandchildren and eight
great-grandchildren. His parents; one daughter, Polly Jo Kramer; two brothers,
Sten and Peter; and two sisters, Swanhild and Alice preceded him in death.
Funeral services were held Tuesday at the
Fairfield Community Church.