STORY No. 22
Blackhawk Ski Club, Brattleboro Outing Club, Lake Placid/NYSEF
|Don West- last day jumping in 2010 in Madison WI|
In the period from 1970 to 2011 I spent hundreds of days on the Intervale Olympic jumps in Lake Placid, just enjoying the sport but wishing that I was better at it. When people asked why I wasn’t afraid to jump the K-90 in my 60’s, I’d answer “I’ve had a thousand rides on that hill.” Those days have left me with many fond memories.
One such day I was skiing the 90 with Hans Johnstone but we didn’t walk up together and so didn’t converse much. Over on the 40 meter jump I could see two other guys jumping with a third watching. After lunch, they all came over to the big hill — it was Hans’s brothers Scott and Stuart and the watcher was dad Dusty Johnstone. I think that Dusty was a high administrator in US Biathlon for a while. The Johnstones were from Carlisle, Mass, over near Boston, not a hotbed of jumping.
It gave me a warm feeling to watch the pride on Dusty’s face as his three sons all jumped the 90 together. What a day!
A few years later, Scott was coaching in Lake Placid and one of his charges, Lyubim Kogan, was to ski the 120. I could see that Scott wasn’t cut out for this part of coaching. He was dying of fright that Lyuby would crash, but Lyuby was fine. After all, he had come up through an elite program in Ukraine before coming to the U.S. so I wasn’t worried a bit, except that Scott might pass out.
Years later, Larry Stone asked the rhetorical question “What do you think it’s like to flag your daughter on her first big hill ride from the top of the 120 in Westby?” When it comes to first rides on a bigger hill, it appears that parents are much more worried than the skiers. If not, the skier should probably not be up there.
Editor’s note- When pressed for age and a photo, Don responded:
Age now 75 and dying of cancer. I took my last jumps at age 73. Cycled through Blackhawk in Madison from young to age 27, then BOC for about 7 years, then Lake Placid until now. Toward the end, to jump on weekdays at Intervale I needed to join NYSEF and was the only one to fill in the blank for my health insurance “Medicare”. I think I should make this stuff into another story.
I’ve attached two pix from my final day of jumping. I decided to finish my career back in Madison at the Masters Nationals, 5 miles west of where I took my very first jumps but 65 years later. The takeoff shot is on the Blackhawk 30 meter hill and the pose is below the same hill after I took off my bib for the last time. I should make a story about that day too. I’ve made the pix medium size and medium resolution. You seem to use quite small pictures so maybe you’ll edit these some more.
Editor’s note- Don West- sizing the photo just right- still thinking of others first.