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View Full Version : Ski Villa & Camp Kinder Ring (Carbon Canyon, CA)



silverstate55
10-11-2009, 11:04 AM
Shirohniichan, have you been here, or have any additional knowledge of these sites?

When I was growing up in the early 1980s, my friends & I found a place in remote NE Orange County, California, called Carbon Canyon. It was at the time very remote and mysterious. What added to the mystery was a large concreted hillside, with plastic tiles still lying all over....numerous foundations of large buildings, fountains, pools, and overgrown junipers surrounded this concrete hillside.

Rumors abounded of this being an old artificial-surface ski slope from around the time of WW2, but I was never able to find out anything more. We explored the area numerous times, in spite of it being posted No Trespassing (dumba$$ teenagers!), and I found it quite intriguing. Some of the buildings had partial walls left, and remains of fountains and pools. It appeared at the time to be a housing development, and I could never figure out how the whole place would just be abandoned like that, especially with the steady growth California has always enjoyed since the Great Depression (ala Tom Joad, et al).

Well, at long last my questions have been answered. The Carbon Canyon Chronicle blog featured an extensive article about the artificial ski slope, called Ski Villa, at http://carboncanyonchronicle.blogspot.com/2009/02/year-round-skiiing-in-carbon-canyon.html. Seems it operated only one year in 1966, and was built next to Camp Kinder Ring, which explains the foundations & ruins in the adjacent area (http://carboncanyonchronicle.blogspot.com/2008/08/carbon-canyon-history-camp-kinder-ring.html).

In the late 1920s, the Los Angeles chapter of the Workmen's Circle (a Jewish organization "founded in 1900, [and] fosters Jewish identity and participation in Jewish life through Jewish, especially Yiddish, culture and education, friendship, mutual aid and the pursuit of social and economic justice") purchased the Carbon Canyon property and built Camp Kinder Ring, and according to the CCC post "the facility was geared towards children as a summer season extension of their education, although families generally spent much of their summers at the camp. In 1947, an adult section was created to expand the services that Camp Kinder Ring had to offer. Unfortunately, providing water was always a difficult situation without piped-in supplies and, by 1958, it was decided to close the camp and sell the land."

In the 1960s an unnamed developer purchased the Camp Kinder Ring property (complete with buildings) and built Ski Villa, opened in 1966. According to the CCC blog, an article about it ran in the August 1966 issue of Sports Illustrated, and also stated " ...'It may be 85, but they're skiiing in Carbon Canyon, 45 freeway minutes [slightly lengthened 43 years later] east of Los Angeles.' According to SI, the ski run on seven acres cost $750,000, after the hillside 'was graded to the desired contour, covered with two inches of mastic cement and topped with 1.3 million interlocking 6-inch square tiles of plastic bristles with a 1-inch nap.' There were three tow ropes leading users to levels at 300, 500, and 900 feet and a total run of a quarter mile."

I've visited it firsthand back in the 1980s, and it was quite fascinating then...apparently it still sits there, is viewable from satellite images, and you can see fairly current area photos on the CCC blog post above. I always thought it a bit unusual to be so close to the SoCal urban sprawl, yet still in existence!

shirohniichan
10-12-2009, 01:31 PM
I've only driven through Carbon Canyon on my way back from Chino once, but I've never seen nor heard of Camp Kinder Ring until now.

1966?! :confused:

Generally I'm looking for ghost town remains that are older than I am. :D

dwinslow
10-12-2009, 02:10 PM
I live about 10 minutes away from this place. Most of that area burned in this years Yorba Linda/Brea fires that wiped out a lot of homes and buildings in that area.