You may not know the name Marion Lacy, but if you’ve been to Whitefish or Whitefish Mountain Resort, there’s a good chance you’ve seen his photos.
Lacy was a nationally acclaimed photographer who produced thousands of photos of Northwest Montana during his career, including many iconic black and white images of the early days of the resort.
From the pioneering members of the Hell-Roaring Ski Club to the awe-inspiring snow ghosts that adorn the upper elevations of Big Mountain, his lens captured scenes from the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s that endure in our collective memory today.
Lacy was a master of his craft — and a dedicated one, too. After opening his photography studio in Whitefish in 1944, he developed a penchant for skinning up the Big Mountain and other peaks carrying 40 pounds of camera equipment. He later rebuilt an old camera to trim weight from his pack, and was sought after for his darkroom expertise.
According to the book “Hellroaring: Fifty Years on The Big Mountain,” Lacy broke a leg skiing one year but continued hobbling around the mountains using a sled for his casted leg — just so he could keep making photographs.
Lacy’s portraits, scenic images and commercial photography helped put Whitefish on the map and captured the natural beauty of nearby places like Glacier National Park. He also served on the boards of the resort and the Glacier National History Association, and was awarded one of the highest honors in his field — a master of photography degree from the trade group Professional Photographers of America.
Lacy died in 1980, but his work still reminds us of our rich skiing heritage.
To learn more about Lacy, see more of his photos and dive deeper into Whitefish history, check out our history page and pay a visit to the Ski Heritage Center at 725 Wisconsin Ave. This season the museum is open 12-5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.