Over the years we’ve told you many stories about lodge guests, their families, and experiences. Today’s story is about a longtime guest to Alta and longtime friend of the lodge. Today’s story tells of many Alta adventures. Today, we introduce you to Hawley MacLean and the MacLean family.
The MacLean family has been skiing in Alta since the very beginning. In the late 30s, his mother and father spent their Alta ski days skiing with the one and only Alf Engen.
The story of the MacLean’s introduction to Goldminer’s Daughter Lodge is like no other. Gordon’s (Hawley’s father) relationship with Alf and the forefathers of Alta combined with his friendship with Mr. Walt Disney resulted in the creation of Ski Crazy, the first major Hollywood feature film on the sport of skiing, which premiered in 1955. During the filming of Ski Crazy, the Maclean’s met and became friends with Jim McConkey. Jim introduced Gordon to Jim and Elfriede Shane, and eventually the family began staying at Goldminer’s Daughter Lodge on their annual Alta vacations.
The Maclean’s lived in Incline Village in Lake Tahoe. Each winter they would visit Alta 2-3 times where the kids learned to ski with the best of the best. Hawley fondly remembers one of his early ski days at 3 or 4 years old. He recalls it was freezing cold. He compares the Alta rope tow to ice climbing a massive wall of sheer ice with 6’ snowdrifts. Armed with a pair of old metal head skis, lace-up boots and leather gloves that absorbed water like a sponge. Despite the conditions, Hawley’s brother didn’t hesitate to drag him up and down the rope tow all day long, nor did they hinder Hawley’s eventual love of Alta and skiing. Perhaps it was lessons with Alf Engen learning to mambo down mambo or the years spent skiing with Robyn Christiansen, or maybe it is just the Alta magic that captured Hawley.
Growing up, Alta felt like family – like a second home. Their annual trips quickly became a gathering of sorts with friends of the Maclean family filling the entire 2nd floor of the Lodge. During those days, it was hard to purchase alcohol in Alta, so they developed “Alta Kits,” a series of suitcases for everything you need for cocktail hour that they brought with them from Nevada. These Alta kits held cases and cases of wine. They would collect empty Utah wine bottles for the Utah sticker they’d need to add to their California wine so they wouldn’t get in trouble with the Sheriff.
Hawley considers Alta a destination for skiers. A place you go to go skiing for the week. As we’ve heard before, according to Hawley there is no place like it in the world for powder and snow conditions.
As an adult, Hawley has turned his love of skiing and adventure into a business. MacLean Adventures designs and coordinates ski trips all over the world, including Alta. MacLean Adventures will be visiting us February 3 – 10. If you’d like to learn more about Hawley and his years and years of experience skiing Alta, you may want to join them ?(add link to Ski Week flier.)
Alta Ski Week – February 3-10 – Join MacLean Adventures and celebrate Alta’s 80th birthday during Alta Ski Week! Hawley MacLean and family have been skiing Alta since the beginning. The Alta Ski Week is an amazing opportunity to ski with a longtime Alta skier and guest of Goldminer’s Daughter Lodge. The Ski Week includes lodging, meals, skiing, photos, fireside chats, a massage and SO MUCH MORE.