STORY No. 57
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Eau Claire Ski Club
|Billy Olsen and Keith Zuehlke help George Carter off the Pine Mt. slide at 1958 US Nationals.|
Following the 1958 National Tournament at the huge Pine Mountain slide just outside of Iron Mountain, MI, a picture appeared in the Iron Mountain News showing Billy Olsen and Keith Zuehlke helping an injured George Carter off the slide. It was the result of a mishap as Carter, skiing in the Junior Class, left the hut at the top of the 156-foot tower.
Typical of the times, Carter ran out of the top to gain more speed but suddenly lost one of his skis. Carter did the sensible thing, plunging into the sideboards in an attempt to break his fall down the slide. While he was tumbling, the loose ski shot down the slide, off the takeoff and continued down the hill. After being helped off the scaffold, Carter was taken to the local hospital for observation. While in the emergency room he was lying on a bed next to another man who had just arrived and was bloodied.
“What happened to you,” Carter asked.
“I was out at the ski tournament,” the man replied, “and some jerk lost his ski at the top of the slide and it came down the hill and struck me.”
The stranger then asked Carter what had happened to him. Thinking quickly, Carter replied, “Oh, I was skating and fell down on the ice.”
Carter related another humorous event- skiing on an all-natural slide at Wisconsin Rapids he got out of the track at the top of the hill.
“I couldn’t get back in the track so I just continued down the side of the hill,” he said. So far to the side that he skirted outside a grove of trees that ran alongside the landing hill, beyond the view of spectators, and then curved back to the outrun at the bottom of the hill.
“All the people were looking up the hill waiting for me to come down the slide and I just skied up behind them.”
Carter survived his ski jumping days with no serious injuries but holds some memorable moments.
Editor’s note- This piece was excerpted (loosely) from Ron Buckli’s book “Riding the Wind- Eau Claire Ski Jumping 1886-2008.”