|COVER SHOT- Dave Lantz made the cover of the 1976 US Eastern Nordic Championship program hosted at Gunstock (NH). As Dave points out, he was early to the V style.|
Brattleboro Outing Club, Newport Outing Club, Middlebury College, USST Nordic Combined
The setting is Brattleboro’s Harris Hill in the mid 60’s. Junior skiers galore helping prepare for the big tournament (back then we packed the hills top to bottom). Tiny Mastaller, one of the Brattleboro coaches, suggested today could be the day for several of us to take out first rides on the “Big Hill.”
“Ride the outrun one more time”, he said. This was after a number of rides down the landing hill. Down I went, took a severe crash in the dip, and humbly walked back up to the knoll. He looked over, gave me the thumbs up, and said “you’re ready.”
I was thinking, “How could this possibly be?” I just crashed, riding the landing hill. Dang, he must not have seen it.”
So….I headed up, pretty excited, very nervous, and made my first ride, landing at about 110 feet, (which was easy and safe on the hill at that time). But landing on the knob gave us some extra speed, so by the time I hit the dip, I was really flying.
Sarge (Alan Sargent who ran the show in Brattleboro for years) showed up a short time later, not pleased we were flying (well sort of) with the big boys and told us we were done for the day.
And, that’s how it began!
Some acknowledgements from Dave-
NEWPORT, NH Beyond our parents, probably all of us in the Nordic skiing world could say the most influential and important mentors and guiding lights in our lives would have to be our coaches. I would venture to guess that we are all who we are today, in large part, because of the wonderful acts of kindness and encouragement offered to us by our coaches as well as the awesome parents of fellow Nordic skiers during those competitive years. We learned to take risks, push the limits, and the ever essential benefits of hard work and concentrated focus.
I would like to pay tribute to several such coaches for me and many others: Alan Sargent, Millington Dix, Tiny Mastaller, and Dr. Phil Dunham of the Brattleboro VT Outing Club where it all began for many of us; Dave Anderson, our Brattleboro Union High School coach; John Bower, my Middlebury College coach (winner of 1968 Holmenkollen Nordic Combined and two-time Olympian); Roland Tremblay, our local coach, for whom the jumping facility in Newport NH is named following his nearly four decades of commitment to the young skiers in our area.
I would also like to thank my national coaches: Peter Robes, Adolf Koos, the “Silver Fox”, Al Merrill, and all the rest who simply kept encouraging us to come back the next week, always dreaming of those illusive rides to “the bottom”!
I am grateful to all who have made this sport such an important part of our lives.
Enclosed is the photo of me, wearing one of the early helmets on the Gunstock NH Big Hill. Note: I feel I was unknowingly a forerunner to the famous “V” style. My skis never seemed to stay together, and the judges never really liked that back then!
I would also like to offer a SPECIAL THANKS to Jeff Hastings for spear heading this fun return to a little history of the sport we all love so much. Carry on!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!
Check out the Jan 14 1975 Nashua Telegraph article referencing Dave and the 1975 Gunstock competition (which was probably the venue for the cover shot, above)- CLICK HERE