Soldiers on Skis
A Pictorial Memoir of the 10th Mountain Division
with Bob Bishop
Forward by Sen. Robert J. Dole
Soldiers on Skis is the first complete history of the 10th Mountain Division “America’s only troops specially trained for mountain and winter warfare” as told by the veterans themselves. Vivid personal accounts range from the humorous to the horrific to the heart-wrenching, and an outstanding collection of rare photographs captures the beautiful serenity of the division’s Colorado mountain training grounds as well as the stark brutality of the battlefield in Italy.
Soldiers on Skis follows the division from its formation, its rugged training at Camp Hale, and its first taste of battle in the Aleutian Islands to its triumphant deployment to Italy, where it spearheaded the victorious Allied drive through the Northern Apennines and into the Po River Valley.
The book also pays tribute to the role many of the veterans of America’s “ski troops” played in the phenomenal post-war rise of the skiing industry in America.
And then the war in Italy was really, truly, finally over. Throughout the country, people were stunned by the sudden end to the fighting. Church bells rang, civilians wept with joy and danced in the rubble-strewn streets. Weary, grateful soldiers got drunk….
On 3 June 1945, on the steep slopes of 8,927-foot Mount Mangart, where the borders of Italy, Austria, and Yugoslavia come together, the 10th’s best skiers challenged each other. First Sergeant Walter Prager, the former Dartmouth College ski coach, won. It seemed a fitting way not only to end a war but to begin a new world….
Six miles south of the Camp Hale [Colorado] site, at the top of Tennessee Pass, where the road cuts off Highway 24 to the small Cooper Hill ski area where so many troopers learned to ski, there stands a twelve-foot-high monument of red Italian granite, upon which are carved the names of all 992 men of the 10th who died on Kiska and in Italy.
Standing alone in front of this monument on a bright winter day, listening to the wind blowing through the towering pines that surround this spot, one can almost hear the lusty voices of long-departed young men marching along in their heavy leather boots and singing,
“Ninety pounds of rucksack,
a pound of grub or two,
he’ll schuss the mountains
like his daddy used to do…”
There never was a division quite like the 10th Mountain Division.
(from Soldiers On Skis, ©1992 by Flint Whitlock and Bob Bishop)
A superb book.
Stephen E. Ambrose
Soldiers On Skis is a comprehensive history of the proud traditions of the 10th Mountain Division, in which I had the privilege of serving. From its inception at Camp Hale to the war torn mountains of Italy, your book documents the valor, sacrifice, and determination of the many men who made up the 10th. Your thorough research and interviews made the history of the 10th come alive.
Bob Dole, former U.S. Senator, Presidential candidate, and
10th Mountain Division veteran
Add another to the list of books which every ski trooper will want for his library–Soldiers On Skis…. This 244-page volume represents the six-year effort of Flint Whitlock, Denver artist and author, and Bob Bishop, New York City photo authority (and the late Richard Avedon’s photo retoucher), who have collaborated in producing a truly memorable salute to the 10th Mountain Division on its 50th anniversary.
The Blizzard, official newsletter of the
National Association of the 10th Mountain Division
The story of the 10th has been commemorated in its 50th anniversary year by the fascinating book, Soldiers On Skis…. The book is an outstanding collection of rare photographs…while weaving together the memories of the mountaineers in a gripping oral history.
The finest, most comprehensive book ever written about the famed 10th Mountain Division.
Skiing Heritage magazine
The definitive book on the 10th Mountain Division.
Sun Valley Mountain Express
Soldiers On Skis is fantastic, magnificent, fabulous, and the 10th Mountain Division’s BIBLE! Congratulations! Mission accomplished! You and Bob have recorded our history in words and great photographs.
Sewall Williams, 10th Mountain veteran
Soldiers On Skis is wonderful! Certainly by far the best book published about any outfit that served in World War II…. My husband [James “Buddy” Hoff, a 10th Mountain veteran] usually eats supper and immediately falls asleep in the chair. Your book came yesterday and last night he read the book from cover to cover in one sitting!
Congratulations on a job well done! What a wonderful book! You have managed to chronicle the complete history of the 10th more comprehensively than has ever been done before and have captured the true spirit of the 10th! Your writing is almost poetic and the photos add great impact and authenticity to the book….
Clayton Anderson, 10th Mountain veteran
I have many books on the 10th, but yours is the best!
Bob Krear, 10th Mountain veteran
Your new book, Soldiers On Skis, is truly magnificent. It is without question the best summary and history of the 10th Mountain Division ever published. The photos and text were beautifully composed in a highly professional manner that resulted in what I consider a superb history of our great division….
Frank D. Gorham, Jr., 10th Mountain veteran
A most handsome and thorough book. Your documentation is impressive and the text reads very well. Particularly effective is the sequential development of your narrative and your dispassionate presentation of so many personal accounts by so many subjective individuals. A fine book that I value and that my children and grandchildren will value equally…. I confess to a lump of nostalgia as I review the book….
Bud Lovett, 10th Mountain veteran
You and Bob Bishop have collaborated on what I consider to be the finest narrative and pictorial history of the 10th Mountain Division ever produced! It is superb in every detail! It captures the true essence and spirit of the ‘magnificent men of the 10th.’ I chuckled, laughed out loud, and studied every photograph. And, at times, I had to put the book aside because it brought back so many memories of men and events that I had subconsciously erased from my mind. Yeah–there were tears….
Richard M. Wilson, Vice-President,
National Association of the 10th Mountain Division, Inc.