|The Chisolm Junior Ski Team (Rumford, ME) in the 60’s.|
STORY No. 73
Chisholm Ski Club, Dartmouth Outing Club, U.S. Ski Team [cup of coffee]
I have so many memories it’s tough to pick one. So I’ll send two.
As high school seniors in 1975 some Chisholm Ski Club guys from Rumford, ME were in Mont Ste. Anne, Quebec, in March with some of the world’s best also there. It was a 50m jump, good for us, fluff for the big boys. After the weekend we decided to beg, borrow, or steal our way to Thunder Bay, ONT for the next weekend’s tournament on the new 70m and 90m hills. Once out there the extreme cold prevented early morning skiing. One morning, sitting around the hotel, Gerry Austin, our coach, found the biggest star on the FIS circuit, Walter Steiner, in the lobby. He had entertained Walter with his stories and they became friendly. He “encouraged” Walter to accompany him to a hotel room of bored Eastern guys, myself, Steve Mickeriz, Michel Voboril, Bernie Wells, et al. Gerry knocked and was told to buzz off. Second and third attempts to enter were met with derision and mockery. Finally, after saying he had the World’s Champeen and he wanted to talk some jumping we opened the door and stared up at all 6’5” of the man. Walter graciously ran a clinic, answered questions, and laughed with us for an hour. An unexpected bonus and a lasting memory. It is hard to believe his legend could grow any more, but it surely did after that.
The second also involves Gerry Austin. It was late season following the Berlin, NH meet. The in-run tower didn’t hold snow the week after the meet, so we decided to build a jump on the knuckle of the knoll and get some air for those of us who hadn’t jumped anything bigger than a 50m. Gerry planned to drive from Rumford to Berlin with as many flyers as could fit in his GTO. We put 5 or 6 pairs of jumping skis on the rack, and fastened a piece of 4×8’ plywood underneath to use for a take-off platform. About 3 miles west of Rumford, ME, at 50 mph, the air tore off the ski rack. We heard a loud crash and looked back on Rte. 2 to see skis and plywood flying through the air before crashing down on the highway. At least two of the pairs were new end-of-season acquisitions and were now splintered beyond recognition. That ended our trip for that day, but gave us all a good laugh [some of us took years to laugh]. Our parents were not pleased with the extra cost of replacing skis, but all ended well. Just another day in a sport and “family” which has influenced and inspired me for life.