Andover Outing Club
CURATOR’S NOTE- FROM THE ARCHIVES- DECEMBER 24, 2012… a story from USANS Ski Jumper, Chris Lamb about a season (and Christmas) spent with teammates Anders Johnson and Nick Fairall in Bad Mittendorf, Austria with “Coach Ernie.”
The winter we spent living in Bad-Mitterndorf Austria consisted of some of my fondest memories as a ski jumper so far. We all have some funny stories from that winter, and frequently reminisce about the good times we shared. We were blessed with a character of a coach who was well known in the town, which allowed us to become pretty familiar with some of the locals. Ernie (our coach) would drive us around town to all the “hot spots” so we could mingle with his friends. We got out to some pretty interesting places, and met some very entertaining folks.
Some of us spent more time living in that apartment than others, and I am pretty sure I was ranked among the top two for hours spent in Bad-Mitterndorf. If you spent any time in Bad-Mitterndorf you were bound to have at least one awkward or funny experience. Blake Hughes, Anders Johnson, Nick Alexander, and I had the pleasure of spending the Christmas holiday at our apartment. It was our first Christmas away from home, and we were all pretty excited about bringing on the Christmas spirit that year. A few days before Christmas, Anders, Blake and I were sitting around watching some Christmas movies, and maybe having a few beers, when we decided we needed to get a tree for our apartment. We did not want to buy a tree, so we decided we could find our Christmas tree somewhere in the woods behind our place. We grabbed a steak knife from the kitchen, and headed into the night. It took us a while to find our tree, but when we did I believe Anders was the saw master. I will never forget the three of us out there on our hunt for the Christmas tree. Laughing hysterically as Anders hacked down that spruce tree with a dull steak knife. It was a priceless moment, and one I am proud to have been a part of. We set up an impressive Christmas tree, and took some of our decorations from another tree set up in the hall of the apartment building. We all got each other some kind of funny gift, and made a good effort to have a proper Christmas.
Another special moment came later on in the season when Anders, Nick Fairall, and I took our first ski flying jumps in our “back yard” The world cup ski flying event took place just five minutes down the road. Because we had to drive at least 45 minutes for any kind of jumping that season, the day we got to jump the hill sitting right outside the door was very cool. I was a trial jumper, and set my personal best distance at 191 meters. I got to watch Nick and Anders compete in the world cup, and root on my childhood buddy as he scored his first World Cup points in two impressive competitions.