New England Ski Jumping Nordic Combined “College Ski Jumpers Reunion”
Mission Statement & Purposes
New England Ski Jumping Nordic Combined (NESJNC) will host and conduct a gathering of Ski Jumpers from around the world who attended American universities and colleges during their Ski Jumping careers spanning the years of 1954 through 2026. The gathering will be called the 2022 NESJNC College Ski Jumpers Reunion (the “Reunion”). The Reunion events will include activities that evoke attendees’ memories of Ski Jumping experiences and friendships during their college years as well as create new ones. The gathering will take place in the Upper Connecticut River Valley of New Hampshire Lebanon/Hanover/Grantham), September 23-25, 2022. NESJNC will recruit as many Reunion attendees who attended as many American universities and colleges as possible.
By so doing, NESJNC intends to rekindle the attendees’ passions for the sport of Ski Jumping and the camaraderie among Ski Jumpers experienced during attendees’ college years; raise funds for New England Ski Jump clubs’ programs and facilities improvements; and present current opportunities to reestablish Ski Jump programs for collegiate Ski Jumpers on a club basis within the United States. NESJNC also intends that the Reunion will heighten awareness of the history of college Ski Jumping in the United States as well as the way college Ski Jump programs have contributed to the development of Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined in the United States.
NCAA College Ski Jumping – Great Memories and Appreciation
By Tom Oddy, New England Ski Jumping Nordic Combined Board Member
I began Ski Jumping in Lake Placid when I was 9 years old and was fortunate to Ski Jump in college from 1971-75 at the University of Vermont and to coach at St. Lawrence University from 1975-77. NCAA College Ski Jumping for me provided the opportunity beyond high school to continue competing in the sport I cherish, while getting a quality education. I believe this was the case for thousands of high school age Ski Jumpers & Nordic Combined skiers dating back to 1954 through 1980 when NCAA Ski Jumping was eliminated.
I fondly remember and appreciate the efforts of coaches like Al Merrill and Jim Page, Dartmouth College; John Bower, Middlebury College; Chip Lacasse & Jay Rand, University of Vermont; Ralph Townsend and Bud Fisher, Williams College; Bob Axtell, St. Lawrence University; Bruce Jennings, Norwich University: Si Dunklee, New England College; Tom Upham & Rex Bell, University of New Hampshire; Bob Flynn, Bates College; Brud Folger, University of Maine. All these gentlemen not only encouraged and coached their athletes to be better each day, but they were always helpful to up-and-coming high school participants as well as team members from other colleges. These dedicated coaches were on the hill for training days, at college competitions and at the time USSA competitions, providing hill support, coaching and life lessons.
Ski Jumps were available for training at Dartmouth College, Middlebury College, University of Vermont, Norwich University, New England College, St. Lawrence University, Williams College, Franklin Pierce College, University of New Hampshire (Gunstock). Unfortunately, none of these jumps are currently in operation.
Ski Jumping at college “winter carnival” competitions were staged in a fun, electric atmosphere with teammates from the cross-country skiing and alpine disciplines as well as students from respective student bodies enthusiastically cheering on the Ski Jumpers. Many lifelong friendships were made with teammates and members of other teams, from all college skiing disciplines.
Our sport misses the coaches, Ski Jump venues, camaraderie, spirit and opportunities that college Ski Jumping provided. However, the Ski Jumping community in the United States is talented, generous, resourceful, dedicated and moving in a great direction. Thank you to everyone involved in making our sport better!
In conclusion, please note that a College Ski Jumping Reunion will take place September 23-25, 2022, in the Hanover/Lebanon/ Grantham New Hampshire region presented by New England Ski Jumping Nordic Combined, “Flying Further”. For more information, contact Tom Oddy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-318-1970 or click on this link for registration, and the schedule overview.
2022 College Ski Jumping Reunion Special Guest Announcement: Vinko Bogataj
Ski Jumper Vinko Bogataj, made famous on ABC’s Wide World of Sports, to attend the New England Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined College Ski Jumping Reunion in New Hampshire on September 23-25.
For ski jumper Vinko Bogataj of Slovenia it only took a matter of seconds to go on to provide one of the greatest signature moments in the pantheon of winter sports.
The day was March 7, 1970, when a little known jumper took a dramatic fall, captured by television cameras, at the West Germany ski jump at Oberstdorf. What followed later was simply straight out of a Hollywood script.
For a humble and good natured man who never dreamed of international stardom and unknown to him his path was to intersect with the talented production team at ABC Wide World of Sports in New York. The gifted Roone Arledge, the Executive Producer of ABC’s Wide World of Sports, along with Dennis Lewin, Coordinating Producer, were cutting a montage opening for their signature anthology show and came across Bogataj’s dramatic fall.
Looking to depict the “Agony of Defeat” moment, the now 73 year old Bogataj became an icon of bad luck and misfortune all while being completely unaware of his growing celebrity status in the United States. ABC’s Jim McKay added just the right touch of drama with the opening segment’s voice over and the opening played for decades.
Bogataj resides in Lesce, SLO and has two daughters. For years he was simply amazed how this opening affected his notoriety. Now, he prefers his quiet hours as an accomplished painter and remains active in ski jumping circles.
Organizers of the ski jumping reunion set for September 23-25, 2022 in the Upper Valley of New Hampshire decided Vinko Bogataj would strike the perfect chord with all former and present college ski jumpers, coaches, managers, trainers, family, friends and supporters attending the weekend gala. All are welcome!
Peter Graves, renowned ski sport announcer will be the event’s Master of Ceremonies and Vinko Bogataj will headline the banquet Saturday night, September 24. In addition, this reunion will feature a golf tournament on Friday, a social gathering on Friday night and guided tours of the “Big Nansen and Andover Outing Clubs ski jumps Saturday afternoon. Attendees can register for any one event or for the whole weekend. Rooms are available for attendees, at a reduced rate, at the Firesideside Inn and Resort but must be booked prior to August 23rd.