The Life and Times of Wiley Patroller

We admit it. We’ve been neglecting the blog. Due to some technical glitches and then a platform upgrade, we’ve been unable to post anything recently. That’s all about to change. For the next few weeks, I will be posting original Bill Steel cartoons**. If you’ve ever read the Auger Poster in the Snorting Elk, then you’re familiar with Bill’s work. Bill also spent time in the Korea Combat Artists Program, where he was a soldier and artist. He also served in Vietnam.

A Greenwater local, Bill has performed nearly every job at Crystal Mountain. From ski patroller to Planning Director, Bill has been with Crystal since the beginning. He’s also our local historian. His cartoons depict the daily life of Wiley A. Valanche, a fictionalized, and often hapless, ski patroller. Mostly created in the mid-70s, Bill’s cartoons depict a golden era of patrolling, when the snowpack was heavy, the avalanche control was constant and the crew was as tight-knit as a Wapiti Woolies sweater.

Enjoy. Bill_Steel_cartoon_cornice

**Use or reproduction by permission only

8 thoughts on “The Life and Times of Wiley Patroller

  1. Dave Gast

    As head of the Pro Patrol back in the early/mid 1970’s, I remember Bill and we did have quite a crew that included Jerry Johnson, Russ Lamb, Buzzy Franklin, Tim Neun, Charley Johnson and sister Hurley (first female pro patroller I think), Brent Gray, and Avi crew Leo Scheibleiner, Audi Weisensteiner, and Deiter Oberbichler. Lots of great memories and I really enjoy your blog. Best regards, Dave Gast


      1. Dave Gast

        Kim, I’ll go through my boxes in the garage but most of my recollections are in my mind and they are all great memories. Crystal’s early growth as the best ski area in the NW was started by Don Christiansen, my first boss, and then managed by Ed Link, 10th Mountain Division vet, as was my dad who started the Mt. Hood Ski School after the war. I’ll give you more info from my time there and dig out some pics. I know Brent Gray was an avid photographer/member of our patrol and would have some great early photos and movies but I haven’t stayed in touch with him.
        Best, Dave Gast


    1. A REPLY FROM BILL STEEL SENT TO ME BY EMAIL: This is excellent, getting to hear from Dave Gast, Russ Lamb, Gerry Johnson, Buzzy, Brent, Charley & Hurley, Leo, etc.. Names from yesteryear, wow! These were all people in my pier group. So many things are running thru my mind…

      Keep it going Kim, and what can I say about the artist. Got to love him!

      Bill Steel


      1. Dave Gast

        Hello Gerry! I thought of Dick after I sent my note to Kim – also Don Gore and Rich the cat driver. I’m sure there are others too.


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