STORY No. 25
Ford Sayre Ski Club, Hanover High School, UNH
25 yrs coaching at Concord High School (NH)
|John Fulton on Laconia hill +/- 1977|
The first time jumping the 50 meter at Dartmouth College was one of the scariest times of my life. Tom Dodds, Billy McLaughry, and I all were first timers on the same night. We were all 11 or 12 years old. I stood on the knoll and watched Tom and Billy successfully land their first jumps. Finally I climbed to the top. One by one the Dartmouth and Hanover High jumpers would encourage me to go, by saying things like “It’s easy. You can go in front of me”. I must have stood up top for an hour. I finally jumped because I was too cold to climb back down. Luckily I survived, and went on to many wonderful high school and college jumping experiences.
The picture above was taken while practicing on the big jump at Gunstock (K88?). It was on a Thursday before the National Nordic Combined Championships (1977?). The caption in the Laconia, NH newspaper named the pictured jumper as one of the National Nordic Combined team members, but it was me. I guess that was the closest I ever came to making the National Team. I had to hitch hike back to UNH after practicing that day. I had my skis in a homemade ski bag, and got picked up by a guy in a pickup truck. He wanted to know if I had a hang glider in the bag.
One other interesting story about Gunstock, it was where the UNH Team made the switch from the hands in front in-run position to hands behind. We happened to be practicing on the big jump and not the K50 when our coach told us to start using the new technique. The first jump was quite scary.
Editor’s note- You will note John’s sleeveless jumping suit made, I suspect, by his mother Effie. Before Reinhalter, Descente, and Meiniger everyone in the east had a suit made by John’s mother. John’s father, Elmer, was the small hill coach for Ford Sayre for years. With Elmer at the helm, it didn’t matter how much it had snowed the day before, the hills were always packed out to perfection when you arrived.