Jahn Sandman in 1986- laying on ’em and flying 109m in Westby, WI.
Tri-Norse Ski Club
I looked down the icy track of a briar-laden in-run, my skis seemed so long they could almost reach out and touch the take-off. Knees knocking, I began to ponder just how I let some crazy Norwegian named “Ole” talk me into strapping on the planks (8’ Northland Hickory skis with cable bindings) and actually jump when I got to the end of the takeoff; assuming I would make it that far before crashing. Reluctantly, I inched forward until the force of gravity took over and the weight of the planks caused them to fall into the tracks with a very audible “slap”. There was no turning back now as I was sent hurdling toward the take-off. Remembering what Ole had taught me to do on dry land, I made an effort to jump when I reached the end, only to feel the resistance of what felt like two cement blocks holding me close to the ground. It seemed like an eternity before my hind end and claw-like fingers would finally drag me to a complete stop in the outrun area. Ole hollers, “Nice ride! Pick ‘em up and get back up here for another one…”
The year was 1973. The place was Dyracuse Mound, home of the Tri-Norse Ski Club in Wisconsin Rapids, WI. I was 8 years old. The crazy Norwegian was Ole Arneson, Jr., son of Ole Arneson, Sr., one of the founders of the Tri-Norse Ski Club. His unbridled enthusiasm for the sport of ski jumping was contagious.
Fast forward to 1986…Westby, WI (109 meter competition jump pictured)
Little did I know at that time (in 1973) this experience would lay the ground work for a lifetime travel, meeting friends for life (you know who you are) and building characteristics in me that would be the foundation for success in my career and raising a family. This is the ultimate benefit for the privilege of being a part of this elite group, an organization known as the Ski Jumping Society.
It is a culture, a way of life and a passion for the sport of ski jumping that brings us together. I am proud to be a part of this community and hope to contribute more to the future of this wonderful sport that I have benefited so much from in the past.
See you slope-side soon!
Shot from the 2009 Masters Nationals hosted by Tri-Norse with the inspirational Ole Arnesen at far right. Actually there are many inspirations pictured in this photo- from left: Tom Ricchio, Archie Lowman, Tim Denisson, Earle Murphy, Don West, Bob Keck, and Arnesen.