|From noon, clockwise, Petri, duck, C. Hastings, McGrane, McGrane’s coat,
J Hastings, Konopacke, Volmrich, Palmer.
STORY No. 53
Ford Sayre Ski Club
I have loved reading all of these great stories. Ski jumping has given me so much; great friendships, experiences, and travels. I am extremely grateful to be part of that tribe of people who have experienced going off of a ski jump with a free heel. Here is my story.
In the fall of 83′ we were training in Kandersteg, Switzerland. A couple of days earlier Jeff Volmrich and I had gone down the valley to the town of Interlaken. In front of the main municipal building we had discovered a good sized pool filled with lunker trout and ducks. I don’t remember whose idea it was, but it was decided that catching one of those trout would be a worthy feat. Coach Erling Rimmeslatten was a big fisherman. If we couldn’t impress him on the take-off (we weren’t) we would try to impress him with our fishing prowess.
Quality fish nets in Swiss alpine villages are hard to come by, but we were a resourceful bunch and with a Swiss Army knife (god love the Swiss!) we got the next best thing which was the net from the Kandersteg community tennis court. We lost a man on this objective; Landis Arnold rolled an ankle, in retrospect a second degree ankle sprain, either way he was in considerable pain and clearly of no more use to us. We managed to get him back to the hotel and continued the journey down to Interlaken (Editor’s note- mark Landis’s injury here, it features prominently in tomorrow’s story).
I remember Dennis McGrane, Mark Konopacke, Zane Palmer, Matt Petri, Jeff Volmrich, brother Jeff, and I heading down to Interlaken. There might have been others, the details are a little fuzzy. I remember a few things distinctly; Jeff and I walking down an abandoned main street in Interlaken at midnight in our underwear (Eastern kids always keep their skivvies on) with a fishnet and passing right by a Gendarme who didn’t even bat an eye. I remember stepping into that pool and the unpleasant feeling of being waist deep in cold water and ankle deep in duck spoor. I remember the line of us working the net from edge to edge and, as we made our way across, the growing anticipation that at any moment that net was going to explode with some thrashing, healthy trout. And I remember the utter disappointment of making it all the way to the other end…and nothing! They had emptied the pool of the fish.
Matt Petri wasn’t going to go to all this trouble for nothing, so next thing I know Matt is jumping into the pond and grabbing one upset mallard. No easy feat and kudos to Peach who was quick in the water. We wrapped it in Dennis’ sweatshirt (never to be worn again) and quickly retreated back to Kandersteg with the consolation prize. Somewhere there is a picture.
With any great caper, there is that fine line between- “will we be laughing about this in the morning?”; or “will we get a plane ticket home?”. I know. I’ve gotten both. Jeff’s involvement was pretty good insurance. Either way, when we tossed that duck into the coaches’ room (Erling and Greg Windsperger) at about 1 am no one was quite sure if Erling was yelling “get the DUCK OUT OF HERE” or if he might of been saying GET THE F out of here”. Either way, he was stuck with the duck.
Editor’s note- The duck spent a comfortable night in Erling and Greg’s bathtub and was returned safely to the Interlaken pool the next morning. And nobody was sent home from the training camp! Landis Arnold’s injury netted him an epiphany that will be shared in his story tomorrow.