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Thousand Dollar Run

[Brief] Hap’s Grand Smile
Published 6-21-2022 | Last updated 6-19-2022
61.767, -149.309

[Unofficial name, no GNIS Entry]

The story behind Thousand Dollar Run is the type usually passed from person to person. Its natural habitat is sunshine and snow, beer and laughter. One of the rare times it’s been captured on paper was for a memorial to Hap Wurlitzer printed in The Avalanche Review, December 2020. For over 50 years, Hap was a mainstay of the Hatcher Pass ski scene as the founder and owner of Hatcher Pass Lodge. Fred Trimble, owner of the Gold Cord Mine and longtime member of the Hatcher Pass ski scene, recalls:

“Hap had climbed up to Hatcher Pass proper and was skiing down on some telemark gear. At some point on a steeper section of the terrain, he took a yard-sale fall. During the tumble, a piece of gear, most likely a metal edged ski tip, hit Hap in the mouth and knocked several teeth out and caused some other severe dental damage. He also broke a ski pole and his glasses. Hap had to take a trip to the dentist for extensive dental work. The resultant total for the carnage was exactly $1000. That’s precisely how the run got its classic name.”[1]

With gratitude to Fred Trimble and Tom Murphy for sharing their memories, and for permission to reprint the story.


[1] Trimble, Fred, and Tom Murphy. “Thousand Dollar Run, Hatch Peak, Hatcher Pass, Alaska” The Avalanche Review, December 2020.