|THE TRAVELING SKIS- Bill Erickson says goodbye to the skis he inherited in 1969 from the great Norwegian ski jumper, Bjorn Wirkola. The newly plastic’ed Eau Claire hills are in the background.|
Flying Eagles Ski Club
Eua Claire, WI
In 1969, Bjorn Wirkola came to jump in the Eau Claire Ski Club annual ski jumping championship at the old Hendrickson Hill. There were a number of the US Ski Team members and Norwegian jumpers participating, a very strong field of participants. Of course, Mr. Wirkola was the tournament favorite, and as expected he was the winner. However, during one his jumps, he out-jumped the hill and practically landed on the flat and de-laminated one of his skis. The skis were damaged to the point where Mr. Wirkola no longer could use them. However, not damaged enough to be trashed.
|Bjorn Wirkola, World Champion on both the large and normal hills in Oslo 1966,
and world record holder at 146 meters/475 ft. and three time winner of the Four
Hills Tournament (’67, ’68, and ’69).
Wirkola in flight. The great Norwegian made a tour through the USA in 1969
and left a pair of skis. That’s half the story.
Bjorn and I had a conversation about what to do with the damaged skis. He did not see any reason to take them back to Norway, so I suggested he’d leave them here in Eau Claire and let one of our skiers use the skis, which worked out well. Bill Erickson, one of our local skiers, ended up with the skis and jumped on them for another two or three years before hanging them up.
Forty-three years later at the 2012 Ski Flying World Championship, Vikersund, Norway, I again met Mr. Wirkola and mentioned the old skis. Bjorn thought it was great to that Bill Erickson still had the skis and wondered if he could have them back. He want to show them in a local ski museum in northern Norway. I called Bill and asked if he would let Wirkola have the skis back and, without hesitation, he said yes. The skis are now in my garage waiting for the trip back to Norway, to their original owner.
Quickly, I’m Norwegian and came to this country and Eau Claire in 1966. I was very active in the Eau Claire Ski Club until 1973, at which time I moved to Colorado. After 38 years in Colorado, three years ago, I moved back to Eau Claire, and once again I’m getting active in the Ski Club.
Editor’s notes- To see Bjorn Wirkola’s bio- click here
Arne Jorgenson was born in Norway and came to the USA (Eau Claire, WI) in 1966. He was very active in the Eau Claire Ski Club until 1973, when he moved to Colorado. Arne moved back to Eau Claire three years ago and is once again active in the ski club.
It was 1968 that Bjorn Wirkola came to Eau Claire not 1969.