Like so many great enterprises, the outdoor industry rose from humble origins, growing slowly as Americans became more interested in being in the outdoors to camp, hike or ski. And ironically, had it not been for World War II, outdoor sports and recreational activities might not have flourished as they have. The war prompted the formation of the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division, a unit that exposed men to skiing, climbing and living outdoors. After the war, the skills some vets of the 10th Mountain Division used to survive in battle were applied to help shape the beginnings of America’s ski and outdoor industries.
Joining those active 10th Mountain vets outdoors were thousands of other GIs and war-weary citizens who sought solace in the mountains and backcountry. The more time they spent outdoors, the more they started needing better gear and apparel. And they went looking for it.
In this issue: George Rudolf, founder of The Ski Hut, Trailwise and Donner Mountain; Gerry Cunningham, founder of Gerry; LeRoy and Alice Holubar, founders of Holubar; George Lamb, founder of Alp Sport; Dick Kelty, founder of Kelty; Eddie Bauer, founder of Eddie Bauer; Lloyd Anderson, founder of REI; Leon L. Bean, founder of L.L. Bean; Jack Stephenson, founder of Stephenson’s Warmlite; and Colin Fletcher, author of The Complete Walker.