KELLYVILLE, OKLAHOMA -- We're going back almost 50 years now, but Dwight Davidson can still make out the broad outlines of the only ski area that ever got up and running in Oklahoma.
Davidson points and says, "Between here and Heyburn road, this had been leveled out for parking."
Nestled in a little valley off Route 66 north of Kellyville, a man named Willis rented some pasture from the Goodman family, cleared it off, and brought in some snowmaking equipment.
he called the place Snow Valley and was ready to open in early 1971 while Davidson was on winter break from college.
"I stumbled into this," he recalls. "and I actually got paid a little bit, not a lot."
This old sign makes the enterprise sound a lot nicer than it really was.
The winter of 1970 to 1971 stayed pretty warm, but operators still managed to install one rope tow.
The wind blew the first snowmaking efforts into a drift across Heyburn Road.
"And into this rancher's field," explains Davidson.
They finally got it right on a weekend and Dwight recalls Snow Valley flooded with people, unused to skiing, or to obstacles like the rental hut.
"People ran into the concession stand," he says.
"It was tipped over."
Or the barbed wire fence at the bottom of the slope.
Dwight explains, "Being a farm boy you don't cut the fence. You cut the cloth to get people out of the fence."
"Yeah. You probably ruined some ski jackets," we observe.
"Their jackets are replaceable," agrees Davidson. "That fence was important to keep the cattle in."
Despite the mess Snow Valley might have survived longer had it not been for noise complaints from a war veteran who lived nearby.
"A young man at the time who'd just come back from Vietnam," Dwight explains.
A court injunction closed Snow Valley for good after an entertaining 2 to 3-day run.
"It made for a couple of interesting days," he smiles. "I wouldn't want to make a career out of it."
Short on pictures and snow itself, Snow Valley exists now in a few memories and some deserved gold medals for bravery awarded to skiers bold enough to tackle this hill.