We Stand on the Shoulders of Giants

The history of ski jumping, and its sister sport cross country ski racing, in Washington largely parallels the history of the Kongsberger Ski Club.  Witness the two photos below from 1949, featuring Olav Ulland and Gustav Raaum, two of the founders of our club, with other Norwegian jumpers from Kongsberg, Norway.  Our club historian, Rob Corkran, has put an enormous amount of time and effort into compiling this valuable history and shares it with us below.  Such a cool story; such amazing athletes who came before us, who inspire us still!  As Rob points out, this is a living breathing document, and your input, your stories, your memories are very welcome; please share!

From left: Tormod Mobraaten, Olav Ulland, Petter Hugsted, Kjell Stordalen; photo from US Ski-Snowboard Hall of Fame

Four-man demo ski jump in Sun Valley.  From left: Olav Ulland, Gustav Raaum, Alf Engen, Kjell Stordalen; photo from KUOW.org

It is now almost a century since Olav Ulland, the lead founder of the Kongsberger Ski Club in 1954, began his remarkable run as a competitor, coach and Olympic official.  In the early 1920s, skiers in the town of Kongsberg, Norway, had developed a new “Kongsberger” style of jumping technique.  It enabled longer flights that also met the stylistic demands of the jumping judges, and featured bending at the hips with arms forward.  Olav was a beneficiary of that invention.  While the three Ruud brothers, also from Kongsberg, dominated ski jumping in the years between the world wars, Olav was among those who could successfully challenge them, even out-perform them.  Thus began a continuous record of national and international individual and team achievement among the founders of the club, its members and the juniors who skied there.  This list is only a partial record thereof.  It attempts to include results from those national and international races that might be illustrative of an individual’s accomplishment, as well as results from some major regional events with a national standing to the same effect.


Others who competed throughout the Northwest and British Columbia in club and regional events and did much to advance the cause of skiing in the Northwest are not on the list.  These might include names from the transitional period of the club in the 1960’s and 70’s when the club was changing from a leading jumping club to being an outstanding cross-country ski club.  John Berg, Fritz Peterson, Gunnar Hagen, Kjell Ulland, Asbjorn Nordheim, and Bjorn and Kaare Gjolmesli are representative of those members comfortable in both jump and cross-country.  

Olav Ulland’s extraordinary resume might impress but not surprise most Norwegians born between the wars.  Norwegian boys born in the countryside seem to have grown up skiing combined, as did the Hagen kids at Cabin Creek. Skiing was a more unified sport than it is today.  Thus an Ozzie, Kaare or Aase could teach Alpine in this country, if not  “right off the boat,” then soon thereafter.  It was one reason why one of the world’s best ski jumpers could assume the early management and direction of two alpine ski resorts that would thrive under his leadership.

Jostein Berg, Kjell Ulland, Odd Moen, Vidar Waerness, and Paul Kaald were among those who were also threats to win the club championship in cross country (in some years tantamount to a regional one!) or traveled long distances in the Northwest winning numerous medals and cementing the Kongsberger reputation in cross country in the division.  In the sixties, the club began accepting members whose primary experience and interest was cross country, mostly non-Norwegians.  Dave Newton, Jim Lindsey, Sam Baker and Bert Larsson integrated the Norwegian club early on, with names like Sam Flora, Eber Teter, Paul Sisson and later Victor Woo providing additional diversity through the seventies. Dr. Sam Baker and the late Dr. Jeff Clarke were the first doctors in the club.  Sam had skied for Dartmouth, and Jeff was a fine Masters World Cup competitor. One evening Jeff was in the cabin with his wife Karen and family when Suzanne Corkran shattered her ankle while sledding.  He immobilized the joint and gave specific instructions for its care.  At the hospital, a young intern ignored those, left the joint unsupported, then left the room. A spasm and Suzanne’s piercing screams brought medical staff on the run from all corners!  Jeff was many years later present coincidentally when, in the Methow, member Joe McNulty suffered a serious incapacitating brain event.  Jeff was critical in Joe’s early care.


As long-time members stepped away from competition, their willingness to volunteer helped sustain the club and the skiing community.  Kjell Ulland was Chief of Jump at the 1974 Junior Nationals in McCall.  He and his buddy Odd Moen were to be found at all Kongsberger races at critical places.  They were key in putting up the wood supply for the coming year.  Gunnar Unneland for years did essential painting jobs during the summer and is also responsible for much of the great picture collection in the cabin.


In the early years, women members in the club, with a few notable exceptions, did not race regularly. However, most KSC women skied and might join in one of the “tour races” such as the Stampede. There were wives who did not to come to the cabin, in Norwegian parlance, the “white widows.”  Pat Kaald has noted that women were not encouraged to race.  With the advent of cross country as the primary sport of the club, it was only a few years before women were more commonly active competitors.  

The Kongsberger women such as Shirley Newton, June Lindsey, Marlys Svensson,  Berit Lund, Helga Moen, Randi Valdok, Pat Kaald, Aase Gjolmesli and Joan Nordheim were the organizational backbone to the highly esteemed Kongsberger races, almost all for over forty years.  They also helped shepherd the occasional children’s races run by Dave and Shirley.  


The children rapidly became proficient skiers mirroring their parents  The Lindsey girls were gaining a division-wide reputation by the time they were ten and twelve.  The spirited competitive character of Berit Flora was soon manifesting itself in the precocious Flora kids.  Peter Newton and John Svensson, two talented young skiers, had a fierce rivalry.  In one kiddies race, the screams of little Billy Price were heard from the far side of the “Little Course."  Apparently one of the older girls had found him an impediment to her forward progress and had muscled him off the course and into a ditch!  Probably not a Moen, Kaald or Larsson, as that would have been out of character for any one of them….but maybe. 


In the early seventies, the club accepted to membership two novice skiers who were also high school ski coaches; Nat Brown, teacher at The Overlake School, and Rob Corkran, teacher at The Bush School. Novice skier and ski coach was probably a novel amalgam in the Norwegian competitive tradition, but the club, even its elders, accepted the young men and their skiers (one of them was Jim Slyfield with Overlake) into their cabin, which was then much smaller.  There was the stern and watchful eye of John Berg to ride herd on the youngsters and the elders could always slip away to the privacy of the “Senior Room,” now the sauna, and perhaps have a nip of something.  Kongsbergers in the ski industry, Olav at Osborne and Ulland and Jan Wessel of Fischer, were helpful in securing equipment at a discount.


As competition in cross-country blossomed, the club began to encourage participation of girls and young women.  The existence of an exceptional and receptive competition site at the Kongsbergers and a few other sites, as well as the the support of PNSA, played a role in two breakthroughs in American women's sports. Alison Owen’s selection to a PNSA junior national team led in the next year to the creation of a girls’ class at Junior Nationals. (Organizers of her first JN’s told her coaches that only boys could compete.  The PNSA rep present asked to see the rule, which did not exist.  Alison beat some of the boys, despite an ambulance having been placed in position in case she collapsed!). In 1970, Alison and KSC member Trina Hosmer were in the select group chosen to represent the US at the 1970 FIS World Championship, a first for American women.  Trina races to this day, and reliably finds herself atop the podium at Masters World Cup races.


Kongsberger facilities evolved to their present state over a period of about 35 years.  The current trails were for the most part completed by the early eighties and the cabin enlargement in 1990.  The area was originally conceived as a Jumping Center.  Initially three jumping hills were molded from the slopes.  This involved felling numerous big trees, dynamiting and erecting two scaffolds for the in-runs of the 30- and 50-meter jumps, that of the smallest jump being carved from the hillside.  It was hard work, and not without its dangers.  In the most retold incident, one member sitting on one end of a fallen tree eating lunch was catapulted high in the air when another tree fell across its opposite end!  Koll Hagen, a young teenager then,  remembers sheltering behind trees as dynamite blasts sent rocks and other debris flying past him. 


Many meets were held on the Kongsberger jumps.  One can still find old-timers around the Northwest with fond memories of jumping there. The complex never achieved the notoriety of other hills such as Leavenworth because of location, size of jumps and some difficulties posed by the 50-meter jump itself, particularly in the outrun where one could potentially wind up on the highway!  Its history is largely undocumented.  Nonetheless young skiers honed their skills on its slopes, including Koll and Halvor Hagen and the future two time All-American, Randy Garretson. 


The original x-c courses were foot packed near the jumping facility.  There not being time enough during the day to pack thoroughly both jump and cross-country course, there was often not even a pole track!  Koll remarks that the legs of juniors developed at the expense of the arms!   Eventually a 5k single lane loop was carved out of the forest.  It went northwest almost to the Stampede Pass interchange and back.  Corners were tight and there were numerous bumps and sharp downhill corners. On one such corner, Rob Corkran and two members of his ski team, skiing in the rapidly icing conditions of a late afternoon in spring, flew off the course and crashed.  Ozzie Nordheim was following.  He made a quick appraisal of the situation and concluded that he too could not make the corner!  In an amazing rapid fire and deft skate turn, without breaking through the crust, he skied by them and around a large tree, rapidly regaining the course and disappearing in the distance!  The three were left struggling to get out of their self-created bomb craters!  On that old course, skiers could become adept at skating long before its official advent.  Skating was still a fundamental part of classic technique.  One would step turn/skate tight corners and skate some downhill corners.


The trail crossed the Road beyond the present four-way intersection after climbing the slope and plunging down “Suicide Hill.”  Suicide featured an awkwardly banked corner and the risk of taking out a tourist on the Road. Though not formidable, it could be tricky to negotiate without the alpine skills of a Nordheim or Guttormsen or a Kaald’s inherent ability to stay on one’s feet. For high school skiers, sharing a story of a spectacular wipe-out on Suicide during a race or training was a rite of initiation. Later in the seventies, there were various iterations of the course, including such features as “Kill Hill.”  It was a nearly vertical drop which ended with a 90-degree turn against a huge tree stump!  These colorful, read morbid names were the product of high school imaginations.  In recent years, the long back hill on the present course was reputedly named “Strawberry Hill” in reference to its length by U-16 girls with thoughts of the  Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever.”  There is another more easily authenticated version which is also consistent with the junior obsession with morbid nomenclature.  Following the suggestion of her coach for something more positive, a young Ellensburg Ski Team member in the habit of calling it “Death Hill” settled on the name of the plant found on its slopes in the summer.  She and a teammate made signs announcing it.  Despite its shortcomings, the early course was a favorite much enjoyed by skiers; members of Jack Owen’s highly successful Wenatchee Racing Team loved skiing on it.  Important races such as junior qualifiers and the PNSA 30k Championship (six laps!) were held on it.


The trails were groomed by a snowmobile pulling a track sled.  After heavy snows, skiers had to ski and shovel ahead of the snowmobile in order to keep it upright on the sidehills.  That was a job that often called upon the high school skiers on Saturdays, who might start their weekend at the club with some hard work. The call for all hands might be made when there was a need to extricate the machine from a tree well.  Once, grooming Amabalis, a member rolled the snowmobile 150 feet down the steep clear-cut that is about a kilometer below The Saddle.  Jim Lindsey supervised the retrieval of the equipment the next day with a come-along attached to a tree. The member himself had walked back to the cabin late in the prior afternoon, clad in no more than his racing suit and arriving in a hypothermic state.  The formidable job of maintaining the machines is now done by Max Limb, Jeff Clark, Frank Harris and Don Brooks, with the addition of returning member and trail authority David Lindahl.  For quite a while it was done largely by one early member, another one of the Norwegian Giants in the Snow, Worm “Gil” Lund!


There was also an occasionally groomed trail that wandered further up and along along the slopes of Amabalis and out onto Swamp Lake.  Its primary purpose was for our culminating meet of the year held in March, the Stampede.  This trail had great vistas and the old-timers named features visible from it with names from the old country.  “Hallingskarvet” probably referred to the cliffs on the lower slopes of Amabalis.  Memorable Stampedes were held on that course, chief of which was that of 1975.  It was the year of the Norwegian-American Sesquicentennial, the 150th anniversary of Norwegian immigration in the United States.  The Ballard High School band was colorfully splayed out seated on the snow on the slopes beneath the cabin in their uniforms.  They played Norwegian and American anthems and tunes.  His Excellency, the Ambassador of Norway to the United States, inspected the course under the guidance of Paul Kaald.  Paul noted that he was a good skier!  June Lindsey, the creator of our Viking logo over fifty years ago, recently reminded us at the National Nordic Museum event that there was another colorful Stampede advertised by rustic poster that announced a “Shotgun Start at High Noon."  Indeed, the Sheriff of Kittitas County started us with a blast of his shotgun!  As the Forest Service gave more emphasis to its environmental stewardship, the Swamp Lake area was recognized as an environmentally important wetlands and became off limits to our machines.


In the early eighties, the club undertook the job of major widening, relocation and grading of its trails.  Mt Ozbaldy and a substantial area northwest of it had been clear-cut and parts of our trail needed to be reworked anyway. The advent of state grooming of the trails, albeit with smaller sno-cats than at present, coincided with this need. The “Big Course” became the “The Viking," Suicide Hill was cut out and “Femur Hill” added. The “Little Course” was lengthened and became “The Berg.”  New features such as “Lake Lindsey” appeared.  Mt Ozbaldy was added; it originally featured a second tight corner, this one to the right that concluded with a sudden steep, but short, uphill onto the existing Viking below the present Ozbaldy trail exit. A favorite spot for middle school skiers, they could achieve a lot of air there, almost as much air as high school skiers could coax on the remnants of the little jump hill.  On that hill they would cajole still young Billy Price into testing their take off.  With no crash, they would jump themselves; if Billy wound up in a heap, they would make further modifications to their take-off!


Jim Lindsey spearheaded that major effort to remake the courses. He remembers meeting with the Ranger in the USFS Cle Elum office and sealing the plans with a handshake. Nothing of record having been written down, the courses are now deemed unofficial and no further additions or major changes can be made without the considerable effort of funding an environmental review as well as securing the permission of the USFS. An  application for funding a review got well through the process, but the club did not have the additional funds needed, as did some larger organizations, to secure a grant.   The Kongsberger Ski Club will continue to work on achieving official recognition for its great trails.


The club’s long history of projects under the permission and supervision of the USFS has been incredibly beneficial to KSC members and to the general public.  The club maintains wonderful trails and, thanks to grooming contracts issued by Washington State Parks, they are available to the general public freshly groomed most days of the week.  Some of the best races in the Pacific Northwest, especially some with an emphasis on junior skiers, are held on its courses.  Two ski clubs offer junior programs for kids on both the East and West sides of the Cascades.


The general thrust of the modern Forest Service has been to reduce the imprint of private permittees on its public lands. There may come a time when it concludes that the presence of the KSC cabin no longer contributes to the overall welfare of the general population that the agency serves and/or is detrimental to the wild environs. Whether or not that should happen, the Club, its members and its guest skiers leave an extraordinary record of achievement and public service in Nordic skiing in North America and Europe, as well as one of significant advancement of cross-country skiing in the United States.  Happily, the club’s cabin permit was recently renewed!






KSC Club founder, 1954

US Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame

Olav grew up in Kongsberg, Norway; he became adept at the Kongsberger style of jumping with hips bent and arms forward

Hill Record Holder at Holmenkollen

Combined Champion of Czechoslovakia

Four-Way Champion of France

Fifth in World Jumping Championships, Oslo, 1930

First man to jump beyond 100 meters (103.5m)   March, 1935, at Ponti di Legno, Italy

National Team Olympic and FIS Championship Jumping Coach

       Italy, 1936, Garmisch-Partenkirchen

       United States, 1956, Cortina

       United States, 1958, Lahti

Chief of Jumping Competition, 1960 Winter Olympics, Squaw Valley

Co-founder of Osborne and Ulland

A Founder of the Ski Industries of America

1957 Julius Blegen Award, US Ski and Snowboard’s highest award, for distinguished service and outstanding achievement




KSC Founder

United States Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame

Junior Division Champion, Holmenkollen, 1946

Having trained secretly during the war near Lillehammar to avoid Nazi sponsored sports, he took Norway by surprise!

Norwegian National Jumping Team

University of Washington Husky Hall of Fame, the only skier so enshrined

NCAA Ski Jumping Champion, 1947, 1950

All-American, 1950

Manager, Jackson Hole Ski Corp.

President and CEO, later Chairman,  Big Sky Corp.

Chief of Jumping Competition, 1980 Winter Olympics, Lake Placid

Chairman, FIS Jumping Committee for 16 years.

1971 Julius Blegen Award. US Ski and Snowboard’s highest award, for distinguished service and outstanding achievement




KSC founder

(nephew of Olav, and as of April, 2023, very much alive!)

US Junior National Champion, 1955

Tied hill record at Leavenworth

Jumping aficionados in Leavenworth regarded his style as the most graceful of all!

On occasion out-jumped his uncle Olav as a teenager!

US National Team 1956 Winter Olympics, Cortina, Italy

(Injured in practice)

Mastered the Finnish “torpedo style," which was a variation of the early modern style gaining popularity in the fifties




Coach, Yugoslav National Jumping Team, 1930’s

Over the years, his style evolved. In his later career he became a practitioner of an early modern jumping technique.

Gunnar honed his technique on the largest hill in the world at Planica, then in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and now in Slovenia.

There is a picture of Gunnar in mid-flight where his command of the modern technique and his confident countenance compare favorably with a photo of the perfect flight of Norwegian FIS and  Olympic Champ Toralf Engen.  That technique featured the body nearly flat to the skis, arms to the side against the body and parallel skis. It prevailed until the 1980’s when the V-style, which with its much longer jumps enabled the skier to overcome the low style scores that the judges initially gave it.

On the Planica jump, Josef Bradl of Austria was recognized for the first official jump over 100 meters (101.5m) in 1936 because Olav Ulland had touched his hand to the ground on landing at 103.5m the previous year in Ponti di Legno, Italy.

Gunnar remembered one episode when the Norwegian National Team visited Planica.  One of the great skiers of the period between the wars, a Ruud brother, fell upon landing. The Norwegians promptly declared the hill unskiable and removed themselves from the competition. During several subsequent appearances, they were roundly booed and eventually there was a fist fight!

Gunnar’s son Koll was a leading junior jumper in the US, but changed emphasis in sport and starred as a walk-on member of the University of Washington football team.  He was accorded all-conference honors and labeled a “Husky Great."  Younger son Halvor played in the NFL for six years and is in the Weber State Hall of Fame!  Both grew up at the Kongsbergers on winter weekends, exhausting themselves foot-packing the jump and jump training in the mornings on the hill, then repeating the process in the afternoons on the x-c course!




Ozzie skied four-way (jump, x-c, slalom, giant slalom/downhill) for Denver University under the most accomplished ski coach in US history, Willy Schaeffler, who recruited him.

With Ozzie, DU won the 1961 NCAA Skiing Championship. (Schaeffler and DU won many times without Ozzie; no doubt a more difficult proposition!)

Two-time NCAA All-American

Winner of The Silver Cup: he made his age group marker 15 times in the Norwegian Birkebeiner.

Ozzie was for decades one of the leading masters skiers in the Pacific Northwest.

Over the same period he led the roller ski parade within a parade for the club at the annual Syttende Mai celebration in Ballard.

The christening of his second crab boat was a memorable intersection of the skiing and fishing communities.  The tables were groaning with Scandinavian fare and Ozzie’s mom, flown in from Norway, was magnificently decked out in traditional garb as she christened the boat!

Mt Ozbaldy on the Kongsberger Viking Trail was given Dick Arkley’s moniker for Ozzie, maybe because it was mostly bald on top during trail construction in the early eighties but more likely because nobody skied it as well as Ozzie!


EINAR SVENSSON (half Swedish!) 


Einar was a leading Norwegian competitor in Nordic Combined before his emigration to the US.

He was the victor in eleven Masters World Cup races!

Winner of the Holmenkollmarsj in the 50+ age class,  for which he was honored by King Olav!

Awarded the Olav Ulland award in 1993 for being the “Outstanding Nordic competitor in the PNSA in the prior year.”

Einar was once caught with his pants down at the start of Vasaloppet.  Warm-ups, that is, and perhaps only figuratively.  Surprised with his skis sideways, he was immobilized when they were run over by a number of skiers as his group started before the gun went off!

An assiduous student of technique, he kept abreast of developments and wrote one of the first books on ski skating, the lavishly illustrated “Ski Skating with Champions.”

Einar was an intense competitor who made meticulous preparations for a race and expected the same from race organizers.  If there were failures, he was sure to let them know about it!  The totally unflappable and diplomatic character of his wife Marlys undoubtedly played a role in his successes.

Einar’s Christmas camp for juniors in 1975 was of great assistance to the young coaches.  Marsha Hoem later noted that it “was pretty formative for me, and for Coert (Voorhees), I think.”

As befitting a leading authority on technique, Einar’s son John was by age 12 an elegant skier in the classic style. It was the goal of the Bush high school skiers to defeat John in a race.  A senior finally succeeded!  



Bert was on the podium at Masters World Cup a number of times, and could be counted on to deliver a strong showing at Vasaloppet in his native country.

He was of a strong and durable physique and one of the earlier skiers mastering a powerful double pole.

He skied, raced and spectated in most major ski venues in the US, Canada and Scandinavia.

Bert befriended people in all of them, even earning the friendship of the King and Queen of Sweden, whom he led on their daily tour of the trails during the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics!

If you did not know Bert Larsson, you probably were not a very active player in the North American cross-country skiing scene.

Once, in the days leading up to Vasaloppet, he searched all of central Sweden with Einar Svensson to find their perfect pre race meal….bison!  The cut they found proved to be so expensive that Bert’s mom refused to cook it, leaving them to fend for themselves!  That tale was told by Einar at Bert’s Celebration of Life, attended by scores, maybe hundreds, and one of the more memorable events in Kongsberger history.


DAVE NEWTON (American born!)


Four-Way Skier at the University of Maine

One of the leading Nordic Race Officials in the United States 

Started Kongsberger races for almost fifty years, with his wife Shirley hand-timing them for many of those years.  Shirley worked many of the same races as he did and was also well versed in USSA and FIS rules.

Technical delegate to regional, national and international races

Worked as a volunteer or lead official in five Olympics

Longtime Nordic director the Pacific Northwest Ski Association

Ken Comfort Award, 1974, “For outstanding service to PNSA and the sport of skiing””

Chief of Stadium, 1980 Winter Olympics; in that capacity, he corralled the world’s top skiers with a rope, including American icon, Bill Koch.  It was an early, and successful, attempt to stop skiers in a false start before the advent of modern timing methods.

Dave’s good cheer in the start area, where he would sometimes revert to the pronounced accent of a Maine native and often rest his hand gently on the competitor’s shoulder until the moment of start were endearing aspects of a sterling and firm character seemingly born to be Chief Of Start and Finish.

The meadow below the KSC cabin, in winter the colorful and packed start area of races, was named the “Dave and Shirley Newton Stadium” in a ceremony honoring them in October, 2021.






US Ski Team

Member, first American women’s team at a FIS World Championships, 1970 

With her husband Dave Hosmer she was a KSC member during that period, when he was a graduate student at UW.

Also one of the Falcon Track Club’s (Seattle Pacific) great runners

In subsequent years she has been on the podium at the Masters World Cup many times. 

In relays, she has often skied two to four age classes down in order to form a winning American team at Masters World Cup!

In F10 (75-79), she could in 2022 still ski a 17:30 minute 5k classic race!




United States Track and Field Hall of Fame

World Record, 3,000m

Five times world champion in cross-country running

Coach, Falcon Track Club, Seattle Pacific University

Doris brought her track team to the cabin annually for a weekend introduction to x-c skiing.  That yielded Pat Engberg Guttormsen’s startling rise to the US Ski Team!




Winner of the 1970 John Craig Memorial, Sisters, Oregon.  In that race Gunnar defeated two-time Olympian Jay Bowerman  when Jay was between his Olympic appearances.

The John Craig took the name of a mail runner between Eugene and Bend, who skied the route across the Cascades in the 19th century.  The race itself crossed the Cascades at McKenzie Pass, east to west, snow line to snow line, about 35 kms.

In the seventies it was the ultimate race in the Pacific Northwest, with something of a national standing.  The gas price crises of the period reduced it to a race from the snow line west of Sisters to the Cascade summit and return.

In the 1972 edition, a number of skiers got to claim an unusual distinction, that of having defeated an American record holder in the mile.  Dyrol Burleson, former U of O track star, liked to enter the occasional ski race, though without much expertise.  Giving up on his skis, he passed a number of skiers while running and carrying his skis!  At a certain point that was no longer viable and he put his skis back on.  Some skiers were able to repass him!

Gunnar himself wound up on foot out of necessity in one of the great races, the Norwegian Birkebeiner. Already over 80 years old, Gunnar collided and crashed. A binding separated from a ski. Not far from the finish, he walked the final kilometers!  The first his KSC buddies learned about it was when they asked him at dinner how his race had gone.  The reticent Gunnar only then explained!




Junior Slalom champion of Norway, 1961

US Ski Team regional x-c ski coach for the Pacific Northwest

Kris was the primary Kongsberger mentor of Pat Engberg, later his wife, in her rapid rise from her background in track to leading US cross country skier.

He was also generous in his time working with individuals on the high school teams.  Marsha Hoem was particularly appreciative.




Ginny has for years been one of the dominant skiers in her age class at the Masters World Cup, on the podium and winning multiple times.  She won her age group at the Norwegian Birkebeiner in 2022!

Ginny has been the winner of the Kongsberger Ski Club’s signature distance race, the Gunnar Hagen, no fewer then ten times!

Early in her racing career she was part of the first substantial group of Kongsberger women who enjoyed competing against each other and in the wider ski community.  That group included Berit Flora, Berit Lund, Terry Wolber, Karen Clarke and Suzanne Corkran.

Ginny’s husband and former KSC member as well, Ted Young, has been active in ski racing since he was a junior skier, with many successes to his credit.




50k Champion of the United States

US Ski Team, 1972 Olympics

2nd in individual cross-country, NCAA Championships

Joe is yet another KSC skier from the storied New England tradition of cross-country skiing.  He was one of Middlebury College’s great skiers from the time when it was not infrequently a force in NCAA skiing.  

He was plucked from Midd’s team for the 1972 Olympic team and his first instructions were to get a passport! ( story from Spider)

He competed in world championships and World Cup races, his highest finish in Europe being 12th. Nonetheless he was sent home in 1973 because of “dismal results.”

In 1974 Joe was “forced off the US Team to make way for younger skiers.” He noted that he was “in good company”; the others so booted were Mike Gallagher, Bob Gray and Mike Elliot, the entire constellation of early American male x-c stars!

Joe later directed the Waterville Valley Ski Touring Center, one of the first areas emphasizing quality groomed tracks.

Co-authored with John Caldwell et al, the Eastern Professional Ski Touring Instructor’s Manual.

He attended The Tuck School of Business, assisting the Dartmouth ski team while there.

Subsequently he founded Chicago Cross Country, an urban touring center that was “a complete business failure.”

Arriving in Seattle in 1988, he reestablished a tie from 1974 with the Newtons and he and his wife Susan Bogert joined the KSC.

Joe has been director and treasurer of PNSA Nordic and is a font of knowledge about technique as well as the history and personalities of American cross country skiing.




3rd, US 50k Championship, 1976

The second to join the club from the great New England tradition in x-c skiing, after Dave Newton. 

John, first known to the club as “Spider," skied on an illustrious Putney, Vermont, high school team with a Koch and some Caldwells.  He would seem to be one of the few on his team not to do have become an Olympic skier!

His coaches were John Caldwell and Bob Gray.  Only a few years before, Bob Gray, skiing for Colorado, had a great rivalry with KSC member Ozzie Nordheim skiing for Denver.  At the 1961 NCCA’s, Gray prevailed but Ozzie’s DU team won!  Gray is the American-born skier for whom Ozzie has retained the greatest respect.  Bob is now a legendary competitor at the Masters World Cup (where some time ago he defeated Ozzie again!).  He was on the podium at the Masters World Cup in Seefeld in 2023!

Spider was another in the Norwegian and New England tradition of four way skiers!  Though he was recruited at Middlebury by John Bower, winner of the King’s Cup in combined at Holmenkollen in 1968, he attended Evergreen after a year in Finland and joined the KSC. 

Spider proved to be one of the most capable in the club at maintaining a level of extreme exertion.  As a young man you could hear his breathing from a distance of 100 meters!




US Ski Team

4th, United States 30k championship, 1976

6th, United States 7.5k Championship, 1978

19th, Lahti World Cup, 1984

2nd, 1984 American Birkebeiner, behind Vigdis Roenning of Norway


 Pat was a graduate of Seattle University and worked for three years before beginning her cross country ski racing career.  She was an early expert in computerized health information services.

She remained a member of the Falcon Track Club associated with Seattle Pacific University, whose coaches Ken Foreman and Doris Brown Heritage were among the leading track coaches in the United States. 

Doris was a KSC member and took her women’s team to the KSC cabin each year for a weekend of instruction in x-c skiing. Pat joined them in 1975 for her introduction to skiing and by the fall of 1976 was training with the US Ski Team on the Dachstein Glacier in Austria! In the early winter of that year, she was 4th and the first American to finish in a race in Telemark, Wisconsin.  She was a few seconds ahead of Alison Owen, then returning to racing from a hiatus and working to become one of the world’s great skiers, which she would do in the next two years!

Pat attributed her rapid rise in skiing to her strength.  American coach Marty Hall called her “the strongest woman I have ever seen!”  Technique came more slowly, but steadily, under the tutelage of Kris Guttormsen, later her husband.  Kris had been junior slalom champion of Norway and had come to the US for an education as a civil engineer. He was also a regional coach for the US X-C Ski Team.  Pat skied several preseasons in West Yellowstone with KSC member Einar Svensson, one of the more discerning analysts of technique in the United States.

Pat was very personable and had a ready smile.  “She was a joy to be with,” says Marlys Svensson.

Despite having as mentor an alpine skiing expert, Pat never became comfortable on the downhills.  Kill Hill in particular bedeviled her.  It was so steep that little Billy Price’s parents had to lower him into position and carefully direct his skis before his first descent.  He got to the bottom on his feet but crashed on the turn. He eventually mastered the hill but Pat never did.  Marlys reports that she was “delighted” when it was removed from the course.

Pat was on the US Ski Team for six or so years, sometimes hobbled by health issues.

Her one World Cup start currently listed by the FIS was at Lahti, no less, where she finished 19th.  A creditable finish, it is made a remarkable one considering that Pat started skiing at age 25!



Per might be called a Master of the American Birkebeiner.  He has been the winner in his Birkie age group multiple times and, not surprisingly, is an authority on the history of the race.  Per is in a select group; he has been in almost every running of the classic American race and his wife Sandy has also skied many Birkie events.  Originally skiing the Birkie as a resident of Wisconsin, he continued the tradition after his move to the Pacific Northwest.

Not only traveling thousands of miles annually to race in the Birkie, he and Sandy have commuted for years from their home on the Olympic Peninsula to the Kongsbergers!  Together with former and early club members Sam and Martha Baker, they might be considered the “Olympic Chapter” of the Club.  That foursome has trained together early season at Silver Star for years.

Per received the Olav Ulland Award in 2000 and 2003 as the “Outstanding Nordic competitor in the prior year in PNSA.”  He is also one of two KSC affiliated skiers to win the Olav Ulland Award twice!

Per has been a discerning and thoughtful mentor of skiing technique to many.  Knowledgable on ski training, he has also been the leader of innumerable training outings with club members.




Member,  winning team, Ski to Sea Race, paddling leg

(the “aa” is pronounced as a sort of long “O” as in the Irish prefix O’) 

Kaare and his wife Aase have done more to shape the modern club than any.  He supervised the club volunteers and acted as general contractor in the 1990 expansion of the cabin.  He has done needed maintenance of the cabin for the entirety of his active membership.  

For years Kaare and Aase, with help from other KSC stalwarts, organized, purchased, prepared and served refreshments offered post-race to competitors, a key function at the conclusion of a great race.

Another annual function that they provided over the years was the barbecuing of chicken for the annual luncheon following the trash pick-up and collection along the Road and I-90.

They have led an active life outdoors, instructing alpine skiing, camping, x-c skiing, ski jumping, hiking and canoeing.  They are also longtime members of the Seattle Canoe and Kayak Club.




Member, winning team, Ski to Sea Race.  First leg, when it was uphill run/downhill ski 

Though a student leader and a promising student in high school, he suffered a breakdown in college.  For most of his life, he worked as a gardener using manual tools.  His work ethic was such that he was much sought after in the Mount Baker neighborhood, among others.

Dick had terrific stamina on the course, though his garb could be outlandish.  Skiing, even racing, he might wear plaid wool pants, sometimes with socks in the manner of plus fours.  His wax kit was kept in a bucket.  Though of modest technique, he could on some days beat the best in the club. All of us were sure to hear about it into the indefinite future!.  He attached sobriquets to certain of the club such as “Ozbaldy” for Ozzie Nordheim,“The Boss” for Paul Kaald, “Chairman Woo” for Victor Woo and “The Mad Turk” for himself.  One could hear through his stammer a very earnest man of considerable intelligence.  When he saw humor, his speech might devolve into a tee-hee or a cackle.  In the overall picture, his fine character showed through his illness and his eccentricities did not prevent widespread respect and affection for him among the membership.




Winner of the short race, 10k free, in his class at Masters World Cup, Canmore, 2022

He has teamed with his friend Barry Makarewicz of Salt Lake City for impressive results at MWC relays.

With Barry leading off in classic and Kent skating anchor leg, their US team was third to Russia and Finland at Beitostolen in 2019 and first at Canmore in 2022.

Kent was a long-time member of the club and now lives in the Methow.  When he lived in Fall City, he led long roller ski training tours on Saturdays on the surrounding roads.




Rune finished on the podium in all four of his races at World Masters Cup, Canmore, 2022

He was second in the 10k Classic and the 45k classic to the world’s best skier in his class, Gian Joerger of Switzerland.  Third in the 30k classic, he supplied eleven of the 39-second margin of victory over Canada in the relay.  In that race he skied two classes down!

Lamenting his choice of skis for this year’s event, given the deplorable conditions he found at Seefeld, he nonetheless finished sixth in one race in an extraordinarily competitive field.

Rune will be found at Cabin Creek on Wednesdays finishing a 30k workout early mornings as others arrive! When not training, he holds down a job and as current president of the KSC, advocates for improved grooming on the ski trails of the Snoqualmie corridor.


MARTIN ROSVALL (Another Swede!)


A leading Swedish marathon skier, he was perhaps for a while the best amateur among them.

He is  a Swedish academic in the sciences at the University of Umea on the Gulf of Bothnia.

Martin was a guest member of the club for two years while on sabbatical at the University of Washington.

He once forged into the lead of Vasaloppet at the 88th kilometer! He said he reveled in his minute or so at the head of the train of over 10,000 skiers in the climactic moments of the race as it approached the finish, but he knew he could not maintain the pace of the pros in the final sprint.






The Dean of Kongsberger Masters World Cup skiers.

Paul has probably appeared in more MWC races than any other Kongsberger, racing in most since the first American MWC in Telemark, Wisconsin.  After several decades of skiing in regional races all around the Pacific Northwest, winning medals and contributing to the growing reputation of the Kongsbergers in cross country skiing, Paul turned his attention to MWC events.

As he has aged, he has appeared with increasing frequency on MWC podiums.  He will be the first to tell you that the inevitable diminishment of the field in his age class has played a major role in that fortuitous circumstance, but he was also quick to remind us that in the MWC race last year at Canmore ,where he placed third, there were four skiers in the race!  Neither he nor we should discount his strength, durability, and fitness and their role in his success!

Pat Kaald, his long-time loyal support group, jumped into the MWC competition scene a few years ago.  Both have been lauded as the oldest skiers in their genders.  The Minneapolis Star-Tribune made much of it in 2018 and proclaimed Pat “Matriarch of the Games.”  The oldest male in the Minneapolis races, Charley French of Sun Valley, ceded bragging rights to Paul in 2022 in Canmore when Paul was 88, but again showed up at Seefeld in 2023, skiing one race of 5k at the age of 94!  Paul raced all three at Canmore, 5k, 10k and 15k.  Paul relates that Charley himself is responsible for Class M13.  Placing second at age 90 in M12, he refused to take his place on the podium!  Team Leader and AXCS National Director JD Downing made sure that there was an M13 class the following year!




In the last two years of her five campaigns, starting in 2011 at Sovereign Lakes, Suzanne has been a podium finisher at MWC in M9, acquiring all three medals!

Chasing Norwegian women around for most of her first three years, she made steady progress in her skiing fitness and now has a strong double pole.  Suzanne’s class, like Paul’s, is diminishing in numbers and can be dominated by a small group of exceptional women, former Kongsberger Ginny Price being one of them.  Suzanne calls them the “super skiers!”  By working herself up through the ranks, Suzanne is sometimes the Best of the Rest and might be in contention for a medal.




Sam was 2nd in the10k classic and 3rd in the 5k classic in M11 at the Masters World Cup in Canmore, Alberta in 2022.

Sam and his wife Berit were Kongsbergers in years around 1980 and are still racing!  They are the parents of Erik, Lars and Bjorn, who first learned racing skills in the KSC kiddies’ races organized by the Newtons.  Lars was on the US Ski Team and Erik on the US World Juniors team.  Erik is now among a handful of top coaches in the United States, coaching the Elite Team and running the extensive program at Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center.





US Ski Team, 1956 and 1960 Olympics, 1958 World Championships

Skiing for Western State in Colorado in 1951 and 1952, he had 27 podium positions in NCAA competition. His collegiate career was interrupted by military service.

1954 NCAA Skimeister (Cross-Country, Jump, Slalom, Downhill,  scored together!)

1957 NCAA Cross-Country Skiing Champion

17th, 1960 Olympic 50k, best US Olympic finish before Bill Koch in 1976

 Mack is in the Western State University Hall of Fame; his coach was the legendary Sven Wiik.

He was a teacher and administrator, rancher and junior ski coach, living in his native McCall, Idaho.

Among his junior skiers were Lyle Nelson, US Biathlon Hall of Fame, and Glen Eberle, US Biathlon team and inventor of the stock used on the modern biathlon rifle. 

Mack would show up at KSC for junior qualifiers after a ten-hour drive with members of his junior team, among them his kids, fine skiers both, Karla and Ralph. He raced himself and if you were there you could be in the presence of three of the most distinguished classic skiers in the country; Ozzie Nordheim, Einar Svensson, and Mack!

Mack was the technical delegate to the 1978 Junior Nationals in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  There were a few skiers there who had not made the transition from three-pin bindings, his own daughter among them!  The organizer’s track-setting sleds did not set individual tracks wide enough to accommodate the flanges of three pin bindings.   Mack bent out the flanges of a pair of three-pins and then skied behind the track setter to make a fair course for all!

Dick Mize, Olympic biathlete, described Mack as “extremely hard working.  He loved to train hard-the harder the better.  He was serious and always helpful, always beyond himself.”

Though a beautiful skier in the classic technique, he gave it up with the advent of freestyle.  He discovered groomed snowmobile trails and began skating scores of miles a day.  The distances he is reputed to have covered in a day are so long that this author cannot repeat them without straining credulity! 

Returning to competition at the 2008 Masters World Cup in his native McCall, Mack had some great races. His 15k free in M10 might be one of the more exciting in WMC history. The top five finished within ten seconds of each other, with Mack in second place three seconds behind a Norwegian!




US Biathlon Hall of Fame, as a member of the 1972 Olympic biathlon relay team

US Biathlon Team, 1968 in Grenoble and 1972 Olympics in Sapporo

 In the 1972 Olympics Jay was recovering from severely torn ankle ligaments and was lucky to make the team. His teammates included Dennis Donahue and Terry Morse, two of Rob’s student work associates in a dining hall at Middlebury College (along with John Morton!). According to Jay, his three teammates in the 4x7.5k relay had “the race of their lives” and he had a “very good race.” Anchoring the team he was the only one to miss a shot and fell behind a Swede during his 200m penalty loop.  The team finished sixth, a milestone in US Biathlon history.  That race also included another successful American attempt to stop a false start. (See above: Dave Newton!). Peter Karns, lead-off skier for the US and in the midst of an obvious false start, stood his ground with much trepidation. He waited for the entirety of the rest of the field’s first 2.5k loop!  Officials eventually adopted his resolution and halted the race for a restart!

Jay was a track and field competitor in high school and at Oregon, where his father was a noted

track coach and eventually a co-founder of Nike. Bill Bowerman also taught his son to shoot and Jay was something of a marksman,  Jay took up biathlon while serving in the army in Alaska.  “I really had to study to ski on those narrow, wooden slats.”

Jay skied at Kongsbergers a number of times.  He won the 1970 PNSA 30km championship there, as well as the first running of the Gunnar Hagen 30k in 1980.  

Jay was a strong proponent of junior skiing and was of great assistance to the Bush team and its coach. He ran great Thanksgiving camps at Mt. Bachelor. That of the snowless 1976-77 winter was memorable for the Bush team. The team came prepared with roller skis.  A middle school skier got them out immediately upon arrival but failed to account for the occasional patches of ice.  Team attention was soon diverted to trying to extricate him from his position wedged under the van!  There being only three inches of light fluff on Dutchman’s Flat, Jay rounded up some three  dozen brooms and in a few hours we had a trail of three hundred meters on which a track was set.  It proved ideal for filming and many rolls of Super-8 film were subsequently developed.  Another Bush middle schooler was the inadvertent star of the films.  A great little skier, he was showing off for the camera.  He brought a ski so far back that the tip stuck in the snow.  The tip became a fulcrum and the ski a lever.  The back of the ski arched over and grabbed the back of his neck, slamming his face into the snow.  The tik..tik..tik..tik of Super 8 in slow motion highlighted the inevitable progression of the accident and the resultant spray of snow particles from the impact of his face! It was a Bush film staple for years thereafter.

Jay was biologist to John Gray’s early attempt at the eco-friendly development, Sunriver.  Jay also had a role in the creation of that gem of a museum, the High Desert Museum.

Jay was among the early notables at Mt Bachelor Nordic for whom a trail was named.  Upper Jay’s was a wonderful trail with short, steep ups and downs through a lava field.  It was one of the most fun race trails in PNSA.  Lower Jay’s featured the typical Mt Bachelor long climb, only steeper. Upper Jay’s was obliterated when the ski area thought it necessary to speed access to the parking lot. Jay himself was of the habit of skiing the trails before daily opening.  The corporation was annoyed and renamed Lower Jay’s the “Blue Jay Trail!”  With Jay’s election to the Biathlon Hall of Fame, grievances have been forgiven and there is once again, some several decades later, a Jay’s Trail at Mt. Bachelor!




US Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame

US Ski Team 1972, 1980 Olympics

US Ski Team 1970.  FIS Championships.  At seventeen, among five first American women in Nordic to ski at World Championships or Olympics.

2nd Holmenkollen, 1979

12 time United States champion

1st in the first World Cup for women, Telemark, WI. 1978.  It was later designated a “test” race by the FIS.

7th World Cup overall, 1978-79, also designated a “test season.”  Alison finished behind five Russian women later suspected of doping!

In placing second at Holmenkollen, she was that year among the best skiers in the world, as the rest of the 1978-79 season also proves.

5k and 10k champion, 2nd in 20km. F7. Masters World Cup, Lillehammar, 2004

 Alison, whose initial impediment to participation at JN’s was men, credits men as key to her successes. First among those was Marty Hall, her coach at the 1970 FIS Championship. The blunt and opinionated Hall looked out for his charges and eased their path to competition in Europe. Alison found him a key to building her self confidence as an international level skier. The regard is mutual.  Hall later stated that Alison “had all the components” of a great skier.

Two other men were key to her success, Herb Thomas and her father Jack Owen.  Herb Thomas had been a Middlebury skier and biathlete.  In 1964, upon his return to Wenatchee and the family apple business, he announced the formation of a junior x-c ski team.  Jack showed up with sons and daughters in tow.  By the time Jack had taken over the program, he had learned well his lessons from Herb.  He is reputed not to have been a great skier himself, having learned as an adult (with which this writer identifies and sympathizes, and this editor also!).  A  parent of two skiers in the program, Vern Christiansen, noted however that Jack “had an extraordinary eye for technique.”  Supporting this appraisal: Alison was once featured in a Norwegian technical manual as an example of classic technique and several Scandinavian World Cup skiers traveled to Wenatchee to seek his advice!  

Jack led his team in demanding training hikes in the near vertical world of the Icicle Range. Those who violated his “no whining” edict might find themselves left behind on the next outing.  He also used the Kongsberger cabin for at least one summer camp. Note the picture in the KSC cabin.  Jack shared training ideas with the great track coach Bill Bowerman of Oregon while fly fishing together on the McKenzie River.  Jack’s team raced at KSC many times.  This writer remembers being intimidated by his formidable presence waxing wooden skis full length with klister using a large canister of propane and a 10-foot hose that threw a flame about a foot long!  

The Wenatchee Racing Team assembled by Herb and Jack was within a few years one of the best junior teams in the country.  When Alison acceded to the US Ski And Snowboard’s Hall of Fame in 2022, 58 years after the founding of the Wenatchee Racing Team, Herb Thomas was there as a presenter!

Alison was for some time married to one of the first wax gurus, Rob Kiesel (co-inventor of the modern wax pocket in 1976, a story told by Marty Hall).  Living in Sun Valley she was a coach for the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation.  The long-time head of the program, Rick Kapala, credits her with bringing new rigor to the team in teaching her skiers how to think, train and ski “like champions.” Her children with Rob are also strong skiers.  Their daughter was a two-time All-American at Montana State and their son was on an NCAA champion team at Utah!   Her brother Hugh skied at Wyoming and still enters KSC races and Masters World Cups. At the 2018 Minneapolis event, Hugh came charging out of the start area several minutes before his start. The unwieldy contraption used to test pole length had failed his poles! Unfortunately his eyes first landed on this writer, maybe eight inches shorter than he.  Hugh chose to cope with my poles!

It took racing at European venues and the coaching of Marty Hall to assist Alison in reaching her full potential as one of the best skiers in the world.  Undoubtedly ski racing at KSC on the old course was one small part of her success at arriving on the international scene in 1970 at age seventeen!



to follow:




Note:  This is a work in progress. There are edits, changes and additions to be made.  Do not be modest if you have a top  national or international level result that should appear on this list, especially if you are or have been a Kongsberger!  There will be a section on skiers who learned to ski on the KSC courses and also references to other juniors skiing there, as well as a section on great skiers skiing at the Kongsbergers. Alison Owen Bradley (who straddles sections!), Jay Bowerman, Mack Miller, others?  

There are a number of Junior skiers who skied a number of times on the KSC course for whom I have little information. That would include skiers from the high school programs, from very early times (remember Phil Peck?) from Wenatchee and Leavenworth,  Snoqualmie, Oregon Nordic, Mt Bachelor, Methow, et cetera. 

Criteria for inclusion generally include national team selection, podiums or high finishes at JN’s and NCAA’s and potentially other great finishes and achievements  AND skiing during qualifying races or others at the Kongsbergers!!  Accompanying brief stories will be welcome and might be mentioned/included.  Contact Rob at robcorkran@sbcglobal.net or Debbie at xcskigirl04@yahoo.com.


Rob Corkran, with the editing help of his publisher, Debbie Kolp.  Thanks, Debbie!

May, 2023