Downhill skiing really took off in the 1940s with the installation of the first “lift”, the Cadillac powered rope tow on Slalom.
Twin rope tows on Slalom Hill, Camp Fortune in Chelsea, Quebec. Crowd gathered at right along outrun of “Lockeberg Ski Jump” at Camp Fortune, Quebec.
“While the trend during the 1930’s was definitely from trail to downhill skiing, the trickle became a torrent only after the erection of the first ski-tow on Joe Morin’s Slalom Hill in 1940. In March 1940 a rope tow was installed, powered by an old Cadillac motor which had been dragged to its site by horses. Although the tow was immediately popular and performed usefully, its efficiency left much to be desired. Despite its defects, the ski-tow’s drawing power was such that the Slalom Hill soon became too congested for safety, comfort or convenience. Widening was undertaken as a solution in 1945, but the widening of the Slalom was not sufficient, and two new hills were opened that year, The ‘Morning After’ and the ‘Malcolm MacDonald’.” (Herbert Marshall, “How Skiing Came to the Gatineau”, p51-55).
Information courtesy of the Canadian Ski Museum