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Erling Strom (Courtesy Whyte Museum)

Erling Strom

(1897- ) Born in Norway, Erling Strom sailed to the United States in 1919. In 1927 he became the only professional ski instructor in the country, working at Lake Placid, New York. In the Canadian Rockies, Erling is best known for his connection to the Mount Assiniboine area and Mount Assiniboine Lodge. In his autobiography, “Pioneer on Skis,” he described the first time he approached the area: “Before us lay the most beautiful little valley one could imagine, and as well adapted to skiing as any we could hope to find. To the left we could see mount Assiniboine for the first time. My enthusiasm for this spot has no limits. Assiniboine itself, the most perfectly shaped mountain in the world, dominates the picture… Its shape is more nearly perfect than the Matterhorn and the foreground, with Lake Magog in the centre, is much prettier than that of the Matterhorn.” The Canadian Pacific Railway built Mount Assiniboine Lodge in 1928 and as its operator until 1975, Erling Strom pioneered cross country and ski touring in the Canadian Rockies. Being co-leader of the first ski ascent of Mount McKinley (Alaska) in 1932 was one of his greatest accomplishments. [Additional Information: Strom, Erling. "Pioneer on Skis". Central Valley: New York: Smith Clove Press, 1977] [See Mount Strom]