Lake Placid, NY
Northwood School, University of CO, US Ski Team, 1968 Olympic Team
Homeward Bound- The Odyssey of the Salisbury to Lake Placid Journey
A very memorable trip home from Salisbury to Lake Placid took place following the 1967 Annual Eastern Championships. It will forever be etched in my mind!
At that time I was attending Northwood School along with my close friend and jumping teammate Ulf Kvendbo, who was a member of the Canadian Olympic Team. Tragically, Ulf passed on a few years ago, but will forever have a place in my thoughts, and I’m sure he is fondly remembered by many of you jumpers who knew him. Ulf and I were fortunate to have our good friend, teacher and coach – Larry Stone (Stoney) guiding us through the very memorable high school years.
As a sidebar, Stoney had a free period prior to his Shakespeare class, which Ulf and I were happily a part of. Very often Stoney would try and use his free period to get a few practice jumps in at Intervale. Sometimes he would get back just in the nick of time for class. The classroom happened to be on the second level and could be accessed by a fire escape system. More than once we would lock the windows just as he got to the access platform so he couldn’t get in. Down the stairs he would fly mumbling something in an unknown language. Somehow we did manage to pass the class, but Ulf and I thought it was only because he didn’t want us to have to retake the class again the following year. (In all due respect Stoney was an excellent teacher and we learned quite a bit that year.)
In any case, as always, we had a great weekend of jumping at Salisbury even though it had been extremely frigid. Little did we know that the trip home would provide us with a new meaning of the word cold! I can still remember that the temperatures were predicted to drop to -30 degrees that evening. Following the awards and banquet, which I believe were at the Town Hall, we grabbed our bags from the White Hart Inn and boarded our luxurious carriage, a mini Volkswagen, which possessed a great deal of personality and charisma, but lacked what was needed most that night – a working heater. Ulf was a pretty big guy so I packed myself into the back seat with most of the luggage and he rode shotgun. Off we went with three pair of jumping skis tied tightly on to the back, sticking high above the roof like gigantic antennas, which gave new meaning to the name of the VW Bug.
OK, nothing could possibly make the situation more uncomfortable right? Wrong – Carbon monoxide fumes were pretty strong so we had to roll down the windows which, of course, added a slight wind chill factor of seemingly 100 below zero at the time. I can still see Coach Stone furiously scraping the inside of the windshield while trying to stay on the road. It was probably good that even when maxed out the speedometer never went above 60MPH. (Although that may not have been accurate either.)
Anyway about four hours later we arrived in Keene Valley dressed in full winter gear including hat and goggles covered with frost and barely able to move with only a bit over 20 miles to go. By then no one had much feeling anywhere from head to toe. The radio didn’t work and even Coach Stone’s humming of Rolling Stones tunes (no pun intended) had ceased.
We are almost home I thought, or are we? What was that glowing red warning light that had mysteriously appeared and what was that new hot smell. Yup – it was the engine warning light telling us that the Bug needed oil pronto! It was about 1am so no gas stations were open. What to do?
Not to panic, Coach Stoney mumbled, I’ve been here before and always carry a few extra quarts for emergencies. 10w30 that is! That’s great, Ulf and I both chattered, but then reality struck again. The engine was in the back and the skis were all tied firmly to the cover of it. Honestly, I don’t recall if it was a rack of sorts, but I do recall that we had a hell of a time getting them off with numb fingers. We actually just ended up cutting them with a knife, and it was easier to just open the sun roof and stick the skis through it so that is how we finished the journey -30 degrees, windows and now sun roof open. With winds whistling through our hair we drove down Main Street in Lake Placid feeling no pain and for that matter not much of anything – and that’s how it happened – the true odyssey of the Salisbury to Lake Placid journey by Coach Stone, Jay Rand and the late Ulf Kvendbo.
|Ulf Kvendbo from the 1968 Olympics in Grenoble.|
|Jay Rand (center row, 7th from left) in a Lake Placid Ski Club team photo from around 1960.|
|DUCKING THE ROPE. In March 2014 Whiteface Mt.opened a new run named in Jay’s honor.|