Lake Placid Ski Club around 1960- the legendary coach John Viscome and his red-sweatered crew. Life-long friends Chuck Berghorn and Jay Rand are in the middle row.
BACK Faker LaFountain, Phil Berghorn, Ricky Patnode, Bob Birk, Jim Speck, John Fagan, Chris Beattie, Bobby Peacock, Mark Hess.
MIDDLE Erik Hess, Jimmy Morgan, Chuck Berghorn, Corky Colby, Gary Grady, Rollie Torrance (peeking through), Jay Rand, Terry Dennin, Wes Stanton, Sandra Vitvitski.
FRONT John Viscome (coach), Mike Sweeny, Denny Jesmer, Joey Jesmer, Donny Colby, Tom Colby, Bud Colby (coach).
JAY RAND & CHUCK BERGHORN
Olympic Ski Jump Venue Manager & Assistant Manager in the 1980’s and 1990’s
Lake Placid, NY
EDITOR’S NOTE- Anyone who jumped in Lake Placid from 1955 through 2000 most certainly came to know Jay Rand and Chuck Berghorn who grew up first jumping and then managing the hills in town. Chuck was among the best hill prep guys in the US (possibly world). What follows was written by Jay Rand and documents a well-known incident in the early 90’s. Jay publicly “roasted” Chuck by seating him on a stool at the front of the ORDA Christmas party in 1992.
I was the manager of the Olympic Jumping Complex from 1979 through 1995 and through it all was fortunate to have a lifetime friend, Chuck Berghorn as my assistant manager. Chuck had a great jumping background and was one of John Viscome’s original Lake Placid junior jumpers. CHuck was also among the all time greats when it came to hill preparation ranking up there with such greats as Sig Evensen, Ed Brisson, and Snowball Severud. I think Chuck slept in his crampons while hugging his 4′ aluminum rake.
The Chuck Roast Poem describes a day that Chuck walked into the jump office below the K120 take-off dressed in his red one-piece jumping suit saying he was headed up. I encouraged him to start on the 20m since he hadn’t jumped that season. Insulted, he reminded me that he had successfully taken his first jump the previous season on the K90 and was going to raise the bar and head up to the K120. At first I thought he was joking, but…
Chuck Roast- Poetic Justice
T’was the day after tryouts in my office did stray
A short plump man in a jumpsuit of the day.
At first glance I giggled when I saw this sight
But he said don’t be foolish I still have my might..
I asked his intention
That he’d failed to mention.
He turned toward the window and lit up a smoke
Turned to me and said with a poke,
“I’m a man with a task, a man with the mission
Not golf, tennis, huntin’ or fishin’.
Though I look like Santa in my tight red suit
I’m going up the ninety, I don’t give a hoot.”
“Chuck don’t be foolish” I said with a nod
“For god sakes, look at your bod.
You’re not the man you used to be.
Hell, without glasses you can hardly see.”
If looks could kill I’d have been dead
For the terrible thing I had said.
He glared and then turned, quickly about
Said “this is it, I’m going out.”
Upon his shoulder he threw his skis
With nary a thought to my pleas.
The crowd they did look with wondering eyes
As he strutted to the elevator with those skinny thighs
For one last plea I yelled, “Chuck abort!”
But he looked at me and said with a snort,
“It’s not on a dare or ‘cause of more hair,
I gotta do it because it is there.”
I knew in a moment, I knew in my head,
That the next few minutes would be full of dread.
This difficult challenge could be a test
With enough pounding to put him to rest.
In the elevator up the tower he rose
Not once did he appear to have soiled his clothes.
Out of the elevator he did step
Full of vim, vigor, and lots of pep.
His eyes were in a wild glaze
As he climbed to the top through the thick haze.
Onto the start with the greatest of ease
Still ignoring all the desperate pleas.
He stretched and he growled
But the weather had fouled
Yet there was no way
Chuck would not jump that day.
He zipped up his suit
and tightened his boot.
All other points at this time were mute.
His bindings were fastened, his goggles he cleared
He didn’t look either frightened or feared.
Possibly a bit weird.
Threw on his helmet at the top of the site,
Came out of the start with all of his might.
Down the steep track rapidly he flew
Screaming “don’t worry Carl, I won’t sue.”
As he plunged the descent, his face did frown,
On the track he left a streak of brown.
Through the transition he did fly
About ready to enter the sky.
He hit the takeoff with all of his might
God, what an incredible sight.
His mouth wide open, his teeth were ajar
I knew in an instant he wasn’t going far.
The look on his face was totally blank
That’s when the arms began to crank.
His knees they came up, high as the chest,
He wouldn’t even fly over the hill crest.
The coaches they muttered
As this old war hound shuddered.
This guy’s in trouble
He’ll soon be rubble.
The skis they came up, then they went down
‘Yikes’ he screamed, “here comes the ground!”
Before he did land he started to spin
“Holy shit,” he yelled, “I’m going in!”
One ski flew east, the other west,
It was hard to believe he was once the best.
All watched in amazement as he tumbled and fell
All thinking the same, “He’s going through hell.”
I ain’t just a lyin’,
The snow was a flyin’
All you could hear was the crowd a cryin’.
He tumbled and flipped,
Cracked his hip,
Shattered his elbow tip,
Pounded his head,
As if it were lead.
The bones they did creak
As he let out a shriek
“Seems like I’ve tumbled for more than a week.”
Down the steep hill on to the flats
He left a red trail for the vampire bats.
He slid to a stop at the base of the hill.
The EMT screamed, “ Whoa, Chuckie, lay still!”
“No way,” he cried, as he rose to his feet,
“I’m a man among men, I can take the heat.”
Proudly he stared back up the hill
“Can’t wait till I get this doctor’s bills!”
Suddenly reality struck,
And standing no more was the flyer, Chuck.
He had passed out cold,
Didn’t look so bold
As on the ground he lay
As if there to stay.
Maybe next time he’ll listen to Jay.
Story Project 2013