1. Mike LeBlanc

    Nice article Doug

  2. Dave Norby

    I hear you Doug. Times have changed considerably. It is tough to bring some of the old good things along but that is just the way it is. People don’t want to live in the past, especially kids. Shaping a knoll, landing and transition with a rake and shovel while on a pair of skis is probably not worth learning anymore. Countless times have I said, “Through ski-jumping I learned many unmarketable skills”. As I observe the luxury cars and SUVs that fill the club parking lot at Blackhawk it becomes apparent that people want a great experience for the kids and w-o-r-k is not one of them!
    Think back about some of the trashy junk hills that dared to be called “ski-jumps” that we learned on. We laugh about it now. We are better off encouraging a kid to hop up the stairs one more time rather than lugging another basket of snow up the tower. They would agree.
    Thank you for bringing this interesting topic up. For sure, I don’t have all the answers either but we live in a different era.

  3. Jahn Sandman

    Wow. I hear ya Doug. I think it should be a requirement for every ski jumper today to have to experience the exhilaration of barreling down the inrun of Silvermine hill, on the flat solid mass of ice shavings WITHOUT a track cut. And Thanksgiving would be a great time for a training camp in Eau Claire. Let’s do it!

  4. Darryl Landstrom

    Kudos’s to Doug for his candid comments! He is absolutely correct about early jumping opportunities missed with today’s athletes. Back in the 60’s we couldn’t wait to prepare the jumps at Chester Bowl – even when snowfall was limited, the city would truck in snow scraped off of the iced in lakes and dump truck-full by truck-full at the top of the landing hill. The coaches and athletes would then move the snow by hand, gunny sacks and skiis to prepare the jump and landing so that we could kick-off the season with huge smiles.

    Doug, thank you for your continued support!

    Darryl Landstrom

    1. Danny Watt

      First off, Hello Doug Maki!!

      I will agree with what Darryl said as far as snowing in the ski jumps at Chester Bowl. We had to first put snow over Chester Creek which we got from the pond above the dam. I remember many cold nights hauling gunny sacks of snow up the scaffolds of Little Chester and Big Chester. Putting the sacks on your back and having snow fall down inside your ski jacket. The rule of thumb was, if you didn’t help snow in the jumps you didn’t jump.

      Then of course there was snowing in Fond du Lac our 70 meter jump. Lots of snow was needed on the landing hill, along with pine tree branches to fill in the natural spring hole in the middle of the landing. I remember the piles of snow on the knoll area that snowplows gathered. We would then put on skis and slide it down the landing. If some of you remember the landing was narrow and steep.

      Those were the ” good ole days” We could not wait for the first snowfall to get the jumps snowed in.

      Doug, thank you for the nice memories. A lot of friendships were formed ski jumping.

  5. Kurt Mangseth

    Back in the 50’s the youngsters including myself carried many gunny sacks half full of snow up the tower (full sacks were left for our dads) and if we didn’t, we didn’t ski. My how things have changed with our younger generation.

  6. Rick "Armstrong" Anderson

    Here is a follow up to Doug’s story. On December 15th we called for a work party to snow the inruns of our 20 and 40 meter jumps. Our process is fairly efficient and doesn’t take much expertise or time. It just takes some bodies to shovel snow and do some raking and screeding. We were done in 2.5 hours. Our workforce demographics will make one wonder how we could do more than just stand around, drink coffee and talk about the good old days. Our workers included a 78 year old, a 76 year old, a 67 year old, a 63 year old, two 62 year olds, a 60 year old, three or so skier parents younger than that, and a handful of young skiers who did their best to have fun while “working”. Unless things change, next year we will have (hopefully) a 79 year old, a 77 year old, a 68 year old, a 64 year old, two 63 year olds, a 61 year old . . . . See where this is going?

    Now we have to cut, clean and water the tracks. Once our crew heals from the initial work party we will take on this task. I hope they are straight this year! After that is done, maybe we can than stand around, drink coffee and tell stories about the good old days. Meanwhile, we hope the kids can get a few jumps in before Christmas!

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