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09/25/17, 02:39 AM

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Lowell_Skoog
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"A Midsummer Ski Tournament"
« on: 06/01/17, 08:18 PM »

Eight years ago a group of TAY skiers converged at Paradise to commemorate the birth of recreational skiing on Mount Rainier. You can read about it in this trip report. Later I wrote about the original 1909 event in the first chapter of my book, Written in the Snows.

Here's a photo from that day:



2017 is the centennial of another historic event in Mount Rainier skiing, the first ski tournament ever held on the mountain. The 1917 tournament was scheduled around the time that the newly constructed Paradise Inn opened to guests.

The 1917 ski tournament was won by a 24-year-old Norwegian woman named Olga Bolstad, who beat all the men. Here's a photo of Miss Bolstad that appeared in a Tacoma paper shortly before the tournament.



I'm planning to commemorate Miss Bolstad's victory with an old-time picnic on Saturday, June 24. A few friends and I will be heading up there, and I'm planning to dress for the occasion:



The 233cm jumping skis in this picture belonged to my late friend Wolf Bauer. I have another, shorter pair of wood skis (less historic) that I'll probably take to Paradise that day. I'm hoping for sunny weather and I'm thinking I'll give jumping on those skis a try.

Since there are party size limitations in Rainier National Park, I'm not intending to organize a formal event. But if you happen to be heading up the mountain that day, feel free to swing by. If the weather's nice, you could even wear a dress. The original event was held on the east slope of Alta Vista, and that's where I'm planning to go with my old skis.

Here's a cool old print that appeared in the Tacoma paper after the 1917 tournament:



And here's the flavor of the contest, which became an annual event, in 1919:



« Last Edit: 06/01/17, 10:24 PM by Lowell_Skoog » Logged
davidG
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Re: "A Midsummer Ski Tournament"
« Reply #1 on: 06/03/17, 09:02 AM »

Looks like Miss Bolstad might be sporting an early pair of rockered skis..   Cheesy
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Martin Mudry
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Re: "A Midsummer Ski Tournament"
« Reply #2 on: 06/03/17, 09:40 PM »

Awesome- hope to see you up there!
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nordique
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Re: "A Midsummer Ski Tournament"
« Reply #3 on: 06/07/17, 10:34 PM »

Lowell, do you plan to revive the old massed-start downhill race, from Muir to Paradise?  One of the Seattle papers sponsored that crazy race which, I think, was cancelled after a fatality.  The race times, Muir to Paradise, were VERY impressive!  The race revival of course should be contested only on wood skis!  Now to see how many pair of such skis I can find in my garage!
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Lowell_Skoog
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Re: "A Midsummer Ski Tournament"
« Reply #4 on: 06/15/17, 02:44 PM »

Lowell, do you plan to revive the old massed-start downhill race, from Muir to Paradise?  One of the Seattle papers sponsored that crazy race which, I think, was cancelled after a fatality.  The race times, Muir to Paradise, were VERY impressive!  The race revival of course should be contested only on wood skis!  Now to see how many pair of such skis I can find in my garage!

A group of us reenacted the original Silver Skis race in 2005. You can read about it here:

http://alpenglow.org/skiing/silver-skis-2005/index.html

That page includes links to more history of the Silver Skis, as well as impressions of the skiers who participated in the reenactment in 2005.
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Lowell_Skoog
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Re: "A Midsummer Ski Tournament"
« Reply #5 on: 06/15/17, 03:03 PM »

I found an old ski trophy in the Mountaineers archives that has never been used.

I'm thinking it could be used to celebrate the centennial of Miss Bolstad's ski jump victory on Saturday, June 24.



The Mountaineers should hang onto this trophy, but we could have the face plate engraved somehow to commemorate the centennial.

Maybe title it "A Midsummer Ski Tournament" and commemorate some noteworthy accomplishment(s), such as:

* Longest jump
* Shortest jump
* Best crash
* Most authentic old costume
* Best man dressed as a woman
* Best woman dressed as a man

Your ideas?
« Last Edit: 06/15/17, 03:30 PM by Lowell_Skoog » Logged
Lowell_Skoog
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Re: "A Midsummer Ski Tournament"
« Reply #6 on: 06/15/17, 03:43 PM »

Earlier this week, I scouted the approximate location of the original 1917 tournament. I think it was near the arrow in this photo (taken by the NPS web camera). There's a little knoll here that seems about right for 1917 and matches the setting depicted in the Yngvar Sonnichsen's artwork above.



My thinking is to head up there a little after 9 in the morning to pack out the slope and such. I may look farther up the east flank of Alta Vista, but my impression (in the fog on Monday) is that the slope gets bigger and steeper pretty quick as you move farther up, and the original tournament was probably on more mellow terrain down low.
« Last Edit: 06/15/17, 03:50 PM by Lowell_Skoog » Logged
Lowell_Skoog
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Re: "A Midsummer Ski Tournament"
« Reply #7 on: 06/20/17, 06:44 PM »

Weather is looking great for a centennial ski jumping picnic at Paradise on Saturday, June 24. My brother Gordy is bringing our dad's old jumping skis. I'll have an old pair of skis from the Mountaineers Archives. (Modern gear is fine too.) We'll rendezvous at Paradise around 9am and hike to "Olga Vista" (see map), the approximate site of the old tournaments. Swing by if you're in the area. Even if you're not into jumping, there are some nice slopes for showing off your telemarks.  Wink





A competitor in one of the annual ski tournaments on Mt Rainier that began 100 years ago. I think this is the location I marked "OLGA VISTA" on the topo map.





Yes, we have medals!

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Robie
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Re: "A Midsummer Ski Tournament"
« Reply #8 on: 06/20/17, 07:35 PM »

I think you have pinpointed the spot correctly.
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Garth_Ferber
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Re: "A Midsummer Ski Tournament"
« Reply #9 on: 06/21/17, 10:19 PM »

Lowell - any further information about Miss Bolstad and what she did later in her life?
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Lowell_Skoog
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Re: "A Midsummer Ski Tournament"
« Reply #10 on: 06/21/17, 10:54 PM »

Lowell - any further information about Miss Bolstad and what she did later in her life?

Sadly, it appears that she died young, probably in some sort of accident.

A colleague of mine with the Washington State Ski and Snowboard Museum did some research on her in Washington state records and also during a visit to Norway.

She was listed in the June 7, 1919 Seattle Times getting a marriage license with Ottar Eggen (Eggan in Norwegian).  She was healthy enough to participate in the June 29, 1919 ski tournament a Paradise.  That was the third year of the annual tournaments.

She apparently died on August 21, 1919, but we don't know the cause. We would have to look up the actual death certificate to find that out.
« Last Edit: 06/21/17, 10:59 PM by Lowell_Skoog » Logged
ShailCaesar!
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Re: "A Midsummer Ski Tournament"
« Reply #11 on: 06/22/17, 10:21 AM »

Hoping to pop by and say hi! Driving from Kelowna, BC though and I'm not heading all the way down there and not going to Camp Muir. With the coming heat wave I'm going to start as early as I can (5-6:30) on Saturday. Will you still be at it in the early afternoon? Supposed to be 74 LOL me and my long drives and heatwaves...
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Lowell_Skoog
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Re: "A Midsummer Ski Tournament"
« Reply #12 on: 06/22/17, 12:22 PM »

Will you still be at it in the early afternoon?

I expect that we will.

When we arrive at the site, we'll need to pack out the hill and build a jump. This could easily take a couple hours, I'm guessing.

I'm bringing 3 shovels and I know that my brother and son will be helping. More help is welcome.

Bring a shovel if you'd be willing to pitch in.  Smiley
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ShailCaesar!
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Re: "A Midsummer Ski Tournament"
« Reply #13 on: 06/22/17, 01:29 PM »

Oh yeah! If I get there in time I'll help out with the teardown  Grin
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Lowell_Skoog
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Re: "A Midsummer Ski Tournament"
« Reply #14 on: 06/25/17, 10:49 PM »

Trip report here.
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Eric Lindahl
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Re: "A Midsummer Ski Tournament"
« Reply #15 on: 06/26/17, 12:45 PM »

Fun day Lowell.  Good excuse to get off my butt and spend some time with friends in the mountains on a stellar day.  Miss Olga must have been an impressive jumper.

 
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