We Stand on the Shoulders of Giants_Updated!

[updated January 30, 2024]

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.  It 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.  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 at the club.  The following list of competitors is only a partial record.  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.


Olav Ulland’s extraordinary resume (below, “Viking Heroes”) 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 the club’s Cabin Creek facilities in the fifties.  The original event at Holmenkollen, the first of the great Scandinavian ski festivals, was a combined jump and cross country meet.  The winner was given the most prestigious skiing award in Norway, the King’s Cup.  In both Norway and the United States, the four-way skier competing in both alpine and cross country for the title of ski meister was not unusual.   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 major alpine ski resorts that would thrive under his leadership.  It was also a reason that the Kongsberger Ski Club could readily make the transition from a jumping club to a cross-country club in the 1960’s.


Until the 1970’s, ski jumping was a major spectator sport in the Pacific Northwest, as well as most of the rest of the country where there was adequate snow cover.  There were or had been jumps at Snoqualmie Pass, Mt Hood and Mt Shasta, for instance.  Cle Elum and Leavenworth had major jumps that drew thousands to watch the sport. Some jumps had been in place, periodically modified, since the the 1920’s.  The multiple jumps of the Kongsberger Ski Cub comprised the last jumping complex constructed in the Pacific Northwest but were only used for a dozen years or so.  Nonetheless, some notable skiers jumped there.  The large hill record was 183 feet (so Paul Kaald remembers) and was set by Torbjorn Yggeseth of Norway, fifth in the 1960 Winter Olympics  For comparison, the hill record at Leavenworth is 351 feet, set by Adrian Watt of the US in its last years of use.  Prior record holders at Leavenworth included two of the greatest Norwegian jumpers, Olympic Champions Toralf Engen and Bjorn Wirkola, as well as a Kongsberger junior, Ragnar Ulland.  The Kongsberger hills were victim to some site specific problems, their location and the increasing pace of the demise of jumping in the Northwest.  The in-run scaffolding was torn down in 1968.  Leavenworth, with its deep base of community support and expertise, was soon the only remaining jumping complex in the Northwest. Its last important meet was a national championship in 1978.  


Olav Ulland and Gus Raaum were the two most prominent founders of the club. Olav had been president of the Seattle Ski Club, which was stepping away from its important role in ski jumping. Olav continued to jump until 1970. Gus retired from jumping at a much younger age in becoming one of the leading FIS ski jumping officials.  The best Kongsberger jumpers in the sixties were Will Salmi, of Finnish heritage, and Ragnar Ulland, Olav’s nephew.  Prominent jumpers in the Veterans classes included Olav, Fritz Pedersen, Gunnar Hagen, John Ring (Harold Ring was John's son) and John Berg.  Fortunately for the evolution of the club, the Norwegian appreciation for the combined event meant all the jumpers skied cross country and some had been accomplished combined competitors, including Olav and Einar Svensson.  Two juniors were among the best combined skiers in the country, Koll Hagen and Randy Garretson.  As jumping declined in popularity, perhaps primarily because the dramatic increase in influence of alpine skiing, the club had many experienced skiers in cross country coming out of that Norwegian combined tradition.  Paul Kaald remembers Maert Liikane, of Estonian extraction. Though Maert strained to get over the knoll even on the Leavenworth hill and did not always make it, he was quite good at cross country.


When the club dismantled its jumps and specialized in cross-country events, other skiers came to the fore, and not only the already decorated Einar Svensson and Asbjorn Nordheim. There were members who never traveled as widely who were their peers in the club races. Vidar Waerness, Kjell Ulland, Odd Moen, Sam Baker and Jostein Berg were among those.  Guest members from New England, Dave and Trina Hosmer, were at or near the top.   Some Kongsbergers continued traveling long distances in the Northwest to compete in events, now in cross-country instead of jump. Their numerous medals cemented the Kongsberger reputation in the region.


By the early sixties, the club had begun accepting members whose primary experience and interest was cross country and were mostly non-Norwegians.  Among the founders of the club there had been but four jumpers who were not of Norwegian extraction. Jim and June Lindsey (1961!), Dave and Shirley Newton (1963!), Sam Baker and Bert Larsson further integrated the basically Norwegian club early on, with names like John “Spider” Burbank, Sam and Berit Flora, Eber Teter, Paul Sisson, David Tower and later Victor Woo providing additional diversity through the seventies.  Sam Baker, having skied at Dartmouth. was the first doctor in the club, which seems then to have been composed almost entirely of fishermen, builders and businessmen with a few engineers.  Sam was an orthopedist, especially handy in any ski area. The late Dr Jeff Clarke, a great Masters skier, was an internist who nonetheless played the role of orthopedist in a pinch.  Jeff stabilized my wife Suzanne’s shattered ankle until her arrival at Virginia Mason, where a young intern left Suzanne’s ankle unsupported, which induced screams that brought an entire floor of medical staff on the run. 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. Current member Dr Meredith Sheedy recently ministered to Suzanne’s broken wrist. She gave invaluable advice to the effect that Suzanne insist to her caretakers that she be treated as a ski racer, not any old lady.  The positive consequences of that counsel in fully restoring Suzanne to skiing shape were significant.


As long-time members stepped away from competition, their willingness to volunteer helped sustain the club and the skiing community.  For this writer, Kjell Ulland  and Odd Moen were a personification of the club, a distillation of its Norwegian character.  Great skiers in their younger years, they were later stalwarts in the club.  They were to be found working at critical places on the race courses and helped at other venues.  Kjell, for example, was Chief of Jump at the 1973 Junior Nationals in McCall.  They were key in putting up the cabin wood supply for the coming year.  Almost as indispensable has been Helga, Odd’s wife, who has volunteered for many jobs for almost sixty years! Continuing the family tradition, daughter Martha Cramer is now a regular race volunteer along with life-long friend Susie Larsson, Bert’s daughter.

This writer might arrive at the cabin on a Sunday with a boatload of high school skiers and enviously survey Kjell and Odd’s leisurely breakfast of Norwegian marine and farm fare, though some items might be unrecognizable to him.  They might offer him some delicacy that they knew from prior experience he would not only find edible but would savor.  Afterwards they would take wide-ranging ski tours in the Norwegian tradition.  They knew the winter mountains surrounding Lakes Kachess and Keechelus better than anybody. Another fine skier from the earlier years, Gunnar Unneland has for years done essential painting jobs during the summer.  He is also responsible for much of the picture collection and placement in the cabin.


In the early years, women members in the club did not jump and ,with a few notable exceptions, did not race xc 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.


Kongsberger women, including 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, all for over forty years.  They might also help shepherd the children’s races run by Dave and Shirley Newton.


The children rapidly became proficient skiers mirroring their parents  The Lindsey girls, with Lisa Newton on their tails, 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 Ingrid or Martha Moen, Krystal Kaald or Susie Larsson, as that would have been out of character for any one of them….but maybe. Two of the girls in their younger years had been involved in another misadventure. One day Mark Johnston, a Bush Middle School skier, came screaming into the cabin holding a shriveled blob of fabric which had recently been molten hydrocarbon.  The girls had ironed his prized polypropylene undershirt, a recent innovation not widely available, with a waxing iron!


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 into their cabin, which was then much smaller. (One of these skiers was current club workhorse, Jim Slyfield, with Overlake.)  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. (John initiated the role of Cabin Chief, in recent years ably held by Elizabeth Slyfield and now Esther Andrews.)  Kongsbergers in the ski industry, Olav at Osborn and Ulland and Jan Wessel of Fischer, were helpful in securing equipment at a discount. From outside the club, the gregarious Peter Hale, later probably known to about every ski club in the country as a Madshus rep, was of considerable help. In more recent years, club member Jon Fewster has held a comparable position at Madshus.


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  for young women 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 in FIS or Olympic Nordic skiing history.


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, hence the sign on the current wax shed.  Initially three jumping hills were molded from the slopes.  This involved felling numerous big trees, dynamiting and erecting two scaffolds for the inruns of the 30- and 50-meter jumps, that of 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.


The original cabin was small enough to fit on a huge stump overlooking the jumps. When somewhat thereafter the cabin was enlarged to the north, the original cabin became the kitchen. The addition featured built-in wrap-around seating except for the east wall, where an oil can stove stood near the current dining room bench. A ladder led to the attic bedroom that still exists. It was not uncommon for a child, maybe one of ours, to miss a rung and thud on the floor. It was into that arrangement that the club welcomed the two school teams, the teenagers of which could easily commandeer most of the available seating.  In 1990, the kitchen was torn down, the stump destroyed and the current living area, with bunk room above and stairwell, was added. The porch was initially uncovered, as my wife’s painting on the front of the wood box depicts. The wood supply had to be protected with an impromptu ceiling of aluminum sheeting only recently removed.  The roof was extended to its present cover of the porch a few years later.


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 its location, the size of the 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!  Phil Peck was a young junior skier in the early seventies.  “I have so many wonderful memories of snowshoeing the course on Saturdays, spending the night, and getting to ski on Sunday - a different era!” 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. Skiing “bicycle bumps” was a skill taught at the club as well as elsewhere in the country.  On one tight corner, Rob Corkran and two members of his Bush ski team, skiing in the rapidly icing conditions of a late afternoon in late winter, 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 gave the sense of 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.  Paul Sisson led the construction of an exciting approach to Suicide just northeast of the current four-way junction that featured another very steep downhill leading directly to a sharp herringbone uphill.  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 single lane course was the norm for about twenty five years, as was commonplace throughout the cross country ski world.  The protocol called for skiers being overtaken to cede the track.  It was almost universally understood, and because an overtaken skier could still maintain momentum in classic technique while in the pole track, it worked fairly smoothly even during races.  Certain serious racers in training expected a clear track and made those expectations known in no uncertain terms.  Kids, from the youngest, including our Billy and Elisabeth, to the high school kids, learned to bail with alacrity if Einar Svensson were the oncoming skier.  The advent of skating brought kerfuffles.  For a few years, steep uphill trails were not groomed wide enough to accommodate passing skiers such that both skiers could maintain momentum. Incivilities on those uphills in skate races were not an uncommon occurrence throughout the xc ski world, and were known to happen even at the Kongsbergers.


The trails were originally prepared by just skiing them in or with snowshoes first before being skied in. Later they 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. To soften up crusts, an eight by eight foot section of doubled-up wire fencing was weighted and dragged by the machine.  Once, grooming Amabalis, a member rolled the snowmobile over 200 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 and driving 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 our Norwegian Giants in the Snow, Worm “Gil” Lund!


Gil and his sons, Gil and Erik, hosted this author and his stepson Bill Price at a family apartment in Oslo in 1985.  Skiing in Nordmarka, we were witnesses to skiing history.  We took a shortcut through a secluded glen that Gil knew from his youth and inadvertently skied through the Swedish wax camp the day before the Holmenkoll men’s 15k race.  The Swedes were alarmed and threw tarps over skis on ski benches and watched us closely as we passed through.  The Norwegians had been doing everything possible to preserve classical skiing and threw up obstacles for the first few kilometers making skating impossible. Being in the days before the development of the fearsome double pole, the Norwegians assumed they had solved the problem. The next day, Thomas Wassberg of Sweden skied classic through the obstacles on klister, stopped, whipped up each ski in succession and ripped off the tape on which the klister rested, then skated to victory!  It was caught on film and replayed endlessly by exercised Norwegian newscasters.  The FIS members subsequently agreed that the next year there would be events in two separate disciplines: classic and “freestyle.”


There was also in the seventies at Cabin Creek the 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,” for example, 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, relocating and grading of its trails with the permission of the Forest Service.  Jim Lindsey spearheaded the effort.  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.  David Tower led construction of a  Berg extension, the now dormant Tower Bridge Loop.  Somewhat later Paul Kaald conceived and led the creation of the PK loop as a means to define a path to the finish and make timing the finish easier.


The long back hill on the present course was reputedly named much more recently 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 more consistent with the junior obsession with morbid nomenclature.  Following her coach’s suggestion 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.  Those strawberries are hard to find now.  In the last few years the trail there has been severely degraded by ATV enthusiasts who have moved boulders and cut down trees to gain access to our courses. 


The new course also featured a challenging new loop, Mt Ozbaldy, the only black diamond on our trails.  It originally featured a second tight corner, this one to the right that concluded with a sudden steep, but short uphill on to 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 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, as leader of the redesign, 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 now 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 has cleared and built and continues to maintain 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. State Parks reports that Cabin Creek and Mt. Spokane are the two most heavily used groomed Sno Parks in the state. Whereas State Parks considers two feet of snow to be the minimum on which to commence grooming, the contractor at Cabin Creek may begin with less than a foot of snow on the ground because of the club’s excellent maintenance of the trails.  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 and a school offer junior programs for kids on both the East and West side of the Cascades.


A general thrust of the modern Forest Service has been to reduce the imprint of private permittees on its public lands. During a recent cleanup of the I-90 interchange at Cabin Creek, an ambitious crew of Momentum ski team members began to remove old logging cable partially imbedded in the terminus of the Berg Trail.  They were admonished by the Forest Service to the effect that it was archeological treasure to be left in place for its historical value.  With tongue in cheek, this author proposes that the Kongsberger cabin, on the basis of the history outlined herein, is of equal historic value and should be so recognized and designated.  There may come a time, however, when USFS 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, distinguished guest skiers and juniors 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!


Note:  There is frequent reference above and below to combined competition.  Nordic Combined features a jump followed by a cross country race, for almost a century in classic but today in the skating technique.  In the Gundersen method, in use since 1985, the runner-up in the jump starts the race four seconds behind for every point behind the jump winner, and so on through the field.  First across the finish wins.  Combined was the original event in the 1892 Holmenkoll debut.  It was the prestigious event for much of the ski festival’s history. The winner receives The King’s Cup. John Bower’s victory in 1968 was one of this country’s first great achievements in Nordic skiing. (Traveling in Norway the following summer, everyone this writer met knew of John Bower.  The mere mention that he knew John at Middlebury opened doors.). Four other Americans have since won the King’s Cup.  Until the 1970’s, there were also awards in some meets for the best skier in jump, cross country, slalom and downhill/giant slalom.  Called “four-way,” the winner was labeled “skimeister.The abbreviation PNSA stands for Pacific Northwest Ski Association, which was a regional division of the USSA, or United States Ski Association.  The current terms for the same groups are PNW (Pacific Northwest), a regional division of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association.








KSC Club founder, 1954

US Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame

3rd, Holmenkoll Junior Championship, 1930

Hill Record Holder at Holmenkollen

Jumping and Combined Champion of Czechoslovakia, 1932

Four-Way Champion of France

First jump beyond 100 meters, 103.5 meters, Ponti di Legno, Italy, 1935

National Jumping Coach      

       Italy, 1936, Garmisch-Partenkirchen Winter Olympics

       United States, 1956, Cortina Winter Olympics

       United States, 1958, Lahti, FIS Championship

US Army, Aleutian Islands, 1943-45

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.

Washington State Norwegian American Sesquicentennial Award, 1975.  (Senator Henry Jackson, co-winner)


Olav, born in 1910, grew up in Kongsberg, Norway, in a family of eleven.  Kongsberg was, in the period between the wars, a center of ski jumping. Most of the great Norwegian jumpers of that period came from Kongsberg.  Kongsberg jumpers were already also of dominance in the United States by 1928, when Sigurd Ulland set hill records at Lake Placid and Mt Shasta. (He also set the record at Leavenworth in 1939.). Olav came to Seattle in 1937 to coach after a seven-year run as one of Norway’s best jumpers.  He had consistently challenged the world’s best, the Ruud brothers, also from Kongsberg.  During that period, he set a Holmenkoll hill record and made his famous 103-meter jump in Italy.  Olav’s hill record at Holmenkoll was set when the jump was smaller and record of it was preserved by Gus Raaum, a KSC founder who became one of the leading jumping officials of the 20th century.  Olav’s jump in Italy was not official, as he fell or touched a hand to the ground and did not complete the jump “standing.”  The skis on which he jumped are nonetheless enshrined in the Kongsberg ski museum.


Olav’s US coaching visa expired after only four months and while waiting to gain legal entry, he hid out in a cabin above Vancouver, BC.  In Seattle he joined the Seattle Ski Club and served as president.  He organized and participated in numerous ski jumping events, ranging from the local to the national.  When, in the fifties, there were divergences of opinion within the Seattle Ski Club, Olav led the creation of a new jumping club in 1954, the Kongsberger Ski Club.  At age 56, he won the PNSA veteran’s (master’s) championship.  He jumped until age 60, most frequently in later years at the club and at Leavenworth.  He was Chief of Jumping Competition at the 1960 Squaw Valley Winter Olympics.  At the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, he was on the jump hills as a measurer while KSC co-founder Gus Raaum (below) served as Chief of Jump.  With a loan from Eddie Bauer, he and Scott Osborn, local slalom champion, started a store that was a Seattle institution for fifty years, Osborn and Ulland.  It held a pre-season ski sale, “Sniagrab” (bargains spelled backwards!), that by the sixties had thousands lined up with up to a four-hour wait to enter the Seattle store.




Junior Division Champion, Holmenkollen, 1946

Norwegian National Jumping Team, 1946

NCAA Ski Jumping Champion, 1947, 1950

All-American, University of Washington Ski Team, 1950

Kongsberger Ski Club Founder, 1954

Julius Blegen Award, 1971, United States Ski and Snowboard

Manager, then President, Jackson Hole Corp., 1967-70

President and CEO, later Chairman, Big Sky, 1970-78

Chief of Jumping Competition, 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics

Chairman, FIS Ski Jumping Committee, 1967-83

US Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame, 1980

University  of Washington Husky Hall of Fame, 1992 (only skier so enshrined)


As a teenager growing up in Lillehammar, Norway, during the war Gus avoided the German-sponsored sports club and trained in jumping clandestinely.  In 1946, in the first major Holmenkoll event after the war, he burst into national consciousness by winning the junior competition.  Named to the Norwegian national team, he was soon touring the United States.  He decided to further his education at the UW and, with only rudimentary English, studied accounting.  By the time he had completed his degree in 1950, he had won two NCAA jumping championships and been named an All-American.  His jumping career ended in 1956, but he was for decades one of the leading ski jumping officials in the world.  He served as chief judge, chief measurer or technical delegate at seven FIS Championships and Olympics, as well as Chief of Jumping Competition at the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics. In addition, he supervised the entire FIS Jumping program as chairman of its jumping committee from 1967 to 1983. He also had distinguished service in ski resort management.  He ran two major ski areas between 1967 and 1978, first at Jackson Hole and later at Big Sky where he was recruited by newscaster and native Montanan Chet Huntley to oversee development of the resort. Returning to Mercer Island, he formed an investment company and was active in the Mercer Island Rotary for over thirty years. 




Coach,  Kingdom of Yugoslavia Jumping Team, 1930’s

Champion, Alberta Provincial Championship, 1954


Gunnar was competing internationally by 1930 and was invited to coach at Planica, Yugoslavia, in the mid 1930’s where the largest jump hill was being built. He seems to have honed his beautiful technique of the post-war years on the Planica hills.  After the Second World War, he moved his young family to Alberta, Canada.  While they stayed in Edmonton, he worked in the Arctic on the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line against incoming ballistic missiles.  After a short California residence in North Hollywood, Gunnar moved his family to Seattle on the advice of Olav Ulland and his nephew Ragnar.


In his post-war years as a veteran jumper, he was a practitioner of an early modern technique.  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 impressive photo of Gunnar was taken when, as a 47-year-old veteran jumper ,he won the Alberta Provincial Championships in 1954. 

By the time Gunnar had moved to Canada, his technique featured the body nearly flat to the skis, arms to the side and aligned with the body and parallel skis.  That basic form prevailed until the 1980’s, when the V-style with its longer jumps enabled the skier to overcome the low style scores that the judges initially gave it.

On the Planica Jump, 17-year-old Josef Bradl of Austria was recognized for the first official jump over 100 meters (101.5m) in 1936 because Olav Ulland had not remained “standing” on his landing at 103.5m the previous year in Ponti di Legno, Italy. That 1936 Planica meet at which Bradl jumped over 100 meters is regarded as the first “ski flying” competition where no points for style are given by the judges.  After the official event, a separate one where only distance counted and with the express goal of exceeding 100 meters was held and was successful with Josef Bradl’s jump.

The event is one of the more notorious in Norwegian jumping history, primarily because the Norwegians were not allowed to jump officially in either meet by the representative of their own ski organization, despite the probability that the first standing jump beyond 100 meters would be made. Two of the Ruud brothers, Birger and Sigmund, were coming off of the Olympic podium and the Yugoslav crowd was anxious to see the best jumpers in the world in action on their newly finished giant hill. Two of the three remaining members of that Norwegian team at Planica included future KSC members Olav Ulland and Gunnar. Olav was probably chosen for that Norwegian team because of his magnificent large hill jump the year before in Italy and Gunnar maybe because, as Yugoslav coach, he was practiced on the giant hill.

In the first training jump Olav jumped 68 meters, well below his big hill mark of the previous year in Italy.  Birger Ruud jumped 93 meters, almost twenty meters beyond any other skier. However, he fell.  The Norwegian team leader instructed the remaining team members not to jump.  He suggested to the organizers that training be moved to the smaller 70-meter hill, or that the inrun be shortened to conform to internationally agreed-upon distances.  Both safety and traditional jumping standards seem to have been the issue.  It was becoming obvious that the organizers were aiming toward one goal by the end of the tourney: a “standing” jump of over 100 meters.  It is not clear to me whether the protests began then or the next day when it was announced that the Norwegians would not jump in the contest itself.  The disappointed crowd whistled at the Norwegians, threw snow balls at them and desecrated the Norwegian flag.  Gunnar reported a fist fight!  The Ruud brothers later supported the decision, though Sigmund noted that, with emphasis on aerodynamic position, flights of over 200 meters might be possible.  As the Planica jumps were by then quite familiar to Gunnar in his capacity as a coach for the Yugoslavs, he must have been disappointed.  The situation is somewhat analogous to Norway’s resistance to skating in the 1980’s but that was overcome in a dramatic denouement (above in prologue).  It took almost a half century in jumping for the Norwegians to accept ski flying.  Then they produced, with numerous modifications over time and Slovenian large hill expertise, the largest jump hill in the world at Vikersund. Seventeen Norwegians have flown more than 200 meters and another Austrian displaced one of them to set the current record of 253 meters.


As Gunnar aged he maintained his fitness.  In 1965, at age 57, he won a veteran’s class 15k race (today’s Masters) at Crystal Mountain. A news article covering the event referred to Gunnar “as one tough cookie.”  He was only ten seconds slower than his son Koll (Juniors, below), who was coming off a stellar football career and was concluding his collegiate life skiing for the UW.  In the seventies Gunnar was one of the most public faces of the Kongsbergers.  His weekly ski tours with his handsome dog and his genial nature were part of everyone’s Cabin Creek experience, from his skiing friends to the casual tourist.  He died in 1979 and his memorial service was held in Ballard, the program for which featured the impressive picture of Gunnar in mid-flight.  The following year, the club named its 30k classic race in his honor, the first winners of which were Biathlon Hall of Famer Jay Bowerman and Barbara Schmitt.





All-American, 1960, 1961. Denver University

NCAA Championship with Denver University, 1961.


Ozzie has always maintained that you could not be a great skier without growing up on a farm….in Norway! Farm life was ingrained in him and for decades, his first self-assigned task upon arriving at the cabin in summer and fall was raking the gravel of the parking area, tidying up, as he had been expected to do in his youth in Telemark. It was emblematic of his care of and support for the club and its facilities in his various capacities in club leadership over many years.  Ozzie’s wife Joan has also for years provided essential services as a volunteer in club activities.

Ozzie was a junior alpine star in Norway and arrived in the United States at Wenatchee Valley Junior College.  That institution seems to have served as a prep school for Norwegian NCAA skiers.  Willy Schaeffler of Denver, one of the most accomplished coaches in American skiing history, recruited him. Ozzie received feelers about representing the United States at the 1960 Olympics at Squaw Valley.  He did not follow up on them, fearful that he might lose his scholarship at Denver.  He skied four-way at Denver University: cross country, jump, slalom and downhill/giant slalom.  His arch rival while at Denver was Bob Gray who, though skiing with Colorado, was a native Vermonter…..and had grown up on a farm.  Bob was one of the first American xc ski stars and is still a presence in Masters World Cup skiing. (At Minneapolis in 2018, Bob could still ski a steep herringbone in great leaping bounds!)  DU and Ozzie won the 1961 NCAA’s over Bob and Colorado, even though Bob placed ahead of Ozzie in cross country. Both were named All-Americans. Schaeffler and DU won the NCAA’s numerous times, but it must have been harder without Ozzie!

Ozzie placed a premium on good classic technique and could be dismissive of some skiers with good results. So-and-so, “he can’t ski.”  One day a few years ago, Bob Gray’s name came up.  A serious look came across Ozzie’s face and he drew closer to me.  He looked directly into my eyes and raised a forefinger.. Enunciating each word separately with a finger wag for each and with emphasis especially on the last three,  he said with a conviction I had never before heard from him, “Now that Bob Gray….he could ski!”

Ozzie was for years one of the leading masters skiers in the Pacific Northwest. He had strong finishes in Vasaloppet and is a Silver Cup holder in Birkebeinerrennet, having made his age marker fifteen times. For many years he led the KSC roller ski parade within the parade celebrating  Syttendemai Day in Ballard.

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

Ozzie retained his love of skiing well into his eighties.  An early arrival at the cabin on Wednesdays, he and Gunnar Unneland would often start the fire.  His warm-up might consist of solo folk dancing to traditional Norwegian dance tunes played on the cassette kept at the ready.  No matter how good or lousy the weather or snow conditions were, he almost invariably announced to later arrivals at the cabin that skiing was “Faaantastic!” 

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


EINAR SVENSSON (half Swedish!) 


A leading competitor in Norwegian Nordic Combined before emigration

Winner in eleven Masters World Cup races

Winner Hollmenkollmarsjen, Men 50+

PNSA Olav Ulland award, 1993; Outstanding Nordic competitor in the Prior Year

Author, “Ski Skating with Champions”

Structural Engineers Hall of Fame


For Einar’s victory in the Hollmenkollmarsj, he received his award personally from King Olav!

Einar travelled widely to enter races. He was one of the best skiers in the United States “Veteran” classes well before the inauguration of the Masters World Cup, where he often excelled. He remains the most accomplished Masters cross country ski racer among Kongsbergers.

Einar was 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.”

He was an intense competitor who made meticulous preparations for a race and expected the same from race organizers.  If there were problems 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.

He was however 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 skiers in his wave who had started before the gun.


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.”

Phil Peck regards Einar’s advice, as well as Ozzie’s, essential in his development as a skier and incorporated it into his own later role as ski coach.  Einar also informally coached Pat Engberg at Yellowstone, no doubt contributing to her rapid rise as a competitor.  As befitting a leading authority on technique, Einar’s son John was by age 12 an elegant skier in the classic style. 

Einar was also an accomplished engineer and one of the leading experts on the theoretical and practical aspects of monorails.  He played an important role in two Seattle milestones: the development of the Seattle monorail for the 1962 World’s Fair and the Forward Thrust clean up of Lake Washington.  For these and other successes, Einar was accorded membership in the Structural Engineers Hall of Fame.  Einar celebrated his 90th birthday with many friends at the family home on Vashon Island, another memorable event for long-time Kongsbergers.




Many podium finishes, Masters World Cup

Skiing consort of the King and Queen of Sweden


Bert was on the podium at Masters World Cup a number of times, and could be counted on to deliver a solid 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, and 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 had not encountered Bert Larsson you probably were not a very active player in the North American skiing scene.  In the year preceding his passing, he attended the Minneapolis Masters World Cup escorted by his daughter Susie.  Unable to ski much, he held court in central places, engaging with scores of friends from around the skiing world.

Bert took interest in the progress of the junior skiers and was always aware of how they had done in races. He would invariably comment to their coaches. 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 hundreds.  

Bert was a builder who retained a pronounced Swedish accent and another story from that memorable gathering reflected that.  A young employee in his first days on his first job was told by Bert to go to the lumber store to get four “yoists.”  On ordering the “yoists” the dealer said “Oh, you must work for Bert Larsson!”

Bert’s lasting contribution to the club is the sauna, which he built in the old “senior room” when the cabin addition was made in 1990. It was Bert, well into his seventies, who rolled with the snowmobile to the bottom of a steep clear cut on Amabalis and upon regaining the trail, walked four miles down to the cabin in the chill gathering gloom of winter, clad only in his one piece. That was further proof, as if there were not enough already, that Bert was another Kongsberger “one tough cookie.”


DAVE NEWTON (American born!)


A volunteer or lead official in five Olympics

Technical delegate to regional, national and international events

Nordic Director, PNSA

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

Chief of Stadium, 1980 Winter Olympics.


Dave skied four-way at the University of Maine. He was the official starter for Kongsberger races for almost fifty years, with his wife Shirley hand-timing them for many of those years.  Shirley worked many of the same regional or national races as he did and was also well versed in USSA and  FIS rules.  Dave was a technical delegate to regional, national and international races. He worked as a volunteer or lead official in five Olympics.  In his capacity as Chief of Stadium at the 1980 Winter Olympics, 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.

For someone so involved in officialdom, Dave was quite fit.  Part of that was due to his leading a double life: for most of his adulthood he was a very active masters swimmer.

Dave was for years a leading voice in PNSA speaking on behalf of junior skiers. At club meetings he would be the first to ask “What about the juniors?” My stepson Bill Price remembers Dave as “the guy who made sure that things went the way they were supposed to go.”

The sonorous and measured cadence on the bullhorn of Dave’s “Five minutes to start “ was familiar to generations of skiers.  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.  In one Gunnar Hagen race, this coach had all his skiers reporting perfect wax, in that race almost unheard of because of constantly changing conditions. Expecting at any moment Dave’s five-minute warning, word came instead that he had postponed the race for an hour! Agitated, maybe unhinged, coach made a bee-line for the cabin and stormed into it shouting profanities.  The tact, patience, humor and reason with which Dave defrayed that ugly situation were but one more illustration of the proposition that Dave Newton was born to be Chief of Start and Finish. 


The meadow below the KSC cabin, the former jump outrun and 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

FIS World Championships, 1970, first American women’s team.

Masters World Cup Champion many times in her age group, currently F10


Trina is a New Englander who spent a few years as a KSC member with her husband Dave Hosmer while he was a graduate student at the University of Washington around 1970.  At that time she was one of the top female skiers in the United States, nearly the peer of the great Martha Rockwell.  She made the most athletically of her situation in Seattle. She joined the Falcon Track Club affiliated with Seattle Pacific, where she was one of its great runners.  Dave and Trina fit right in at the KSC.  In a tightly contested December, 1970 7k club race, Dave finished first, followed closely by Vidar Waerness.  Trina finished fourth a few seconds behind Einar Svensson and seconds ahead of Ozzie Nordheim.  A month later in January, 1971 in another club race at 10k, Trina finished second to Einar!  Vidar was third, with Kjell Ulland fourth, Ozzie fifth and Sam Baker sixth, all closely following one another.

In 1970 she was named to the first women’s team in cross country skiing from the United States at an FIS World Championship or an Olympics.  Another member was 17-year-old Alison Owen from Wenatchee. (See below, Distinguished Skiers.) Their coach was the strongly opinionated Marty Hall, a decisive leader who through the years has become something of an institution in US x-c skiing. 

Trina and Dave returned to New England after their brief stay.  Both have been avid Masters skiers for decades.  Dave maintains that his wife has only two sets of clothing; one for sleeping and one for training. Trina is often the best in her class at Masters World Cup.  Any one who skis with her on a United States relay team has a chance for a medal at MWC, as my wife Suzanne had the good fortune to do this past year in Seefeld, Austria.  Unusually, Trina was skiing in her own age group, currently F5 in relay whereas she is F10 in individual.  In some years JD Downing, US Team Leader, has Trina skiing one to three age levels down (10-30 years in the relay!) in order to maximize outstanding podium finishes for the US.  




United States Track and Field Hall of Fame

World record, 3,000m

Five times world champion in cross-country running, 1967-71

United States champion at 440 yards, 800m, 1500m, 3000m

Two-time Olympian, 1968 Mexico City, 1972 Munich

First woman below 5 minutes in the indoor mile.


Doris was one of the dominant women in the history of United States track and field, only stymied in her two Olympics.  At Mexico City, she was illegally grabbed and thrown off her stride entering the final meters and at Munich she sustained a freak injury before her race.

Doris was a highly successful track coach for many years at the Falcon Track Club affiliated with Seattle Pacific University.  She worked with and later succeeded another distinguished coach, Ken Foreman.  For years their club was one of the leading teams in the United States.

Doris brought the women of her track team to the KSC cabin annually for a weekend introduction to x-c skiing.  It was a prototype of the KSC women’s dryland training weekend currently organized by perennial KSC group leader Joy Cordell, but for the younger inexperienced skier. One year that weekend yielded Pat Engberg’s startling rise to the US Ski Team within a year and a half of that introduction to skiing.  

Jim Lindsey remembers encountering Doris while running with members Ozzie Nordheim and Jostein Berg, top skiers in the club.  They were no match for her, neither in speed nor style.  Kongsberger old-timers have fond memories of her and felt honored that she chose to join the Kongsbergers.




Winner of the 1970 John Craig Memorial, Sisters, OR


In that race Gunnar defeated two-time Olympian Jay Bowerman when Jay was between his Olympic team years. I recall having been told something to the effect that Gunnar sneaked up on Jay and surprised him in the final meters! The John Craig took the name of a mail runner between Eugene and Bend, who skied the route in the 19th century. In the 1970’s, it was the ultimate race in the Pacific Northwest, with something of a national standing and a post-race banquet.  Organized by the Oregon Nordic Club, it ran from snow line to snow line across the Cascades over McKenzie pass, maybe 35 km. The gas price crises of the period reduced it to a race from the snow line west of Sisters westward to the Cascade summit and return, somewhat more than 20km.

In the 1972 edition, one of the last of the trans-Cascades races, 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 including this one were able to repass him.

For a while this race, held in early April, was the culminating event of the season for the Bush team. The team would camp out in a cold, often below freezing Forest Service campground, eat breakfast in Sisters and then head to the start line.

Gunnar himself wound up on foot out of necessity in one of the great races, the Norwegian Birkebeiner. Already over eighty, Gunnar collided and crashed, and 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!  In recent years, Gunnar has spent summer days doing a great part of essential maintenance on the facilities, especially painting.  An electrician by trade, Gunnar did much of the wiring in the cabin enlargement of 1990.  He is also responsible for selection and placement of many of the pictures gracing the cabin walls.  For years Gunnar and Ozzie were the first to arrive and make the cabin warm and hospitable for the Wednesday crowd.




Junior Slalom champion of Norway, 1961

University of Washington Ski Team

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


Kris came to the United States primarily for an education as a civil engineer and skied at the University of Washington.  There he was a teammate of Koll Hagen’s in the mid-sixties. 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 and this coach found him helpful on numerous occasions.




The ten-time winner ten of the Gunnar Hagen 30k

Winner of Ozbaldy 50k, 2007, 2000

Winner, Birkebeinerrennet, F70-79, 2022


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.  Perhaps the culmination of her career, she won her age group at the Norwegian Birkebeiner in 2022.

Ginny has been the winner of the Kongsberger Ski Club’s signature classic distance race, the Gunnar Hagen, no fewer then ten times! And the winner of the Ozbaldy 50k twice.  Were a trophy for both men and women for the Gunnar Hagen to be retired, Ginny would own it!

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.




50 Kilometer 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, he 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, almost 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.  He co-authored with John Caldwell et al, the Eastern Professional Ski Touring Instructor’s Manual. He attended The Tuck School of Business, coaching the Dartmouth ski team for one of his years there.  One of his skiers was former Kongsberger junior Phil Peck.  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 50km Championship, 1976


John was the third skier to join the club from the great New England tradition in x-c skiing, after Dave Newton and Trina Hosmer. First known to the club as “Spider," he 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 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!   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, along with Olav Ulland, Ozzie Nordheim and Dave Newton.

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.  He had been told that there was excellent skiing at Evergreen and did not realize that meant “pushing through two feet of wet snow at Mt Rainier.” Two-time Olympian Jay Bowerman of Oregon referred him to the Kongsbergers. 

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!  In recent years, John has ably served multiple times as race chairman.




US Ski Team

4th, United States 30 km championship, 1976

3rd, American Birkebeiner, 1977

4th, United States 10km championship, 1978

6th, United States 7.5k Championship, 1978

19th, Lahti World Cup, 1984

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

Winner, 1983 Gunnar Hagen


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 (above) 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 came prepared.  Lisa Newton reports that she attached her running shoes to borrowed skis with the bale of a three-pin binding. (No report on how her toes fared!)  By the  fall of 1976, having already broken several pairs of Jim Lindsey’s wooden skis, Pat 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 the Gitchi Gami Games in Telemark, WI.  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 difficult 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! 




Olav Ulland Award, 2000, 2003, “Outstanding Competitor in the PNSA in the Prior Year”

American Birkebeiner age class winner multiple times


Per might be called a Master of the American Birkebeiner.  He has been the winner in his Birkie age group multiple times.  He 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. Not surprisingly, he is something of an authority on the history of the race.  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, Per has also been the leader of many training outings with club members.




Ski to Sea Race, winning team, paddling leg


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


Kaare and his wife Aase were high school sweethearts who married in Norway and came to Seattle in the fifties. Kaare was a builder and is something of an organizational genius.  Late in his career he would make American-style cabins for Japanese clients.  He would ship all lumber and supplies, to the last nail, in several containers and spend part of the summer constructing the cabin in Japan.

Kaare has 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.  Aase has been one of the club’s most dedicated volunteers.

Kaare and Aase did needed maintenance of the cabin for the entirety of their active membership. Current club treasurer Keith Ritland has stepped into the breach doing maintenance, as have, among others, Jeff Clark, Frank Harris and Dave Tower with his carpentry skills.  It will take the occasional effort from all members to maintain the cabin as did Kaare et al.

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 grilling 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, hiking and canoeing. In Kaare’s younger days, he was among the more active ski jumpers and he would subsequently enter the occasional xc ski race.  They both are also longtime members of the Seattle Canoe and Kayak Club.




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


Though a student leader and a promising scholar in high school, Dick 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 race trail, 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 loud 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.  It took the applied skills of the best Kongsbergers to defeat his relentless drive and determination on a ski course.  Dick served as secretary of the club for some time.  He also collected all the published results and news articles of jumping and races that he could find.  They are to be found in white binders on the shelves near the stove in the cabin.




Winner, Ozbaldy 50k, 2012


Mona is among the better skiers to have skied at the Kongsberger Ski Club.  As such, she is something of a chip off an old block.  Her father Reno was for years one of the leading skiers in the oldest age groups at Masters World Cup.  One of this writer’s recent vivid skiing memories is of Mona skiing our steep Herringbone Hill in a Klaeboesque manner.

Mona skied NCAA at New Hampshire and her classic technique is something to watch, impeccable in its efficiency of motion.  She was for a number of years among the top finishers in the Gunnar Hagen 30k and more recently has won the 10k, and is also an accomplished master's runner.  

Jim Lindsey remembers Mona’s first “Ordeal Hike.”  That hike was an annual early autumn venture for fit Kongsbergers from Snoqualmie Pass to Lake Kachess, 26 miles through the Alpine Lakes on the PCT at high altitude. Mona arrived with what Jim remembers to be a large heavy pack and asked to which group she should be assigned.  Dubious, Jim asked her if she was up to the hike, to which she responded with an understated comment to the effect that she thought so. She chose to join those ferrying cars to the far end of Lake Kachess and hiking back to the pass, the route entailing the highest elevation gain. Comprising that group were two of the strongest and more durable club members, Paul Karas and Koll Hagen.  Nearing the midway point of the hike, Jim was startled to see Mona with her pack hove into view from the opposite direction, her illustrious compatriots nowhere to be seen!




Winner, Gunnar Hagen 1998, 2000, 2001

Winner, Ozbaldy 50k free 2001, 2002, 2003, 2008, 2011

Winner 10k free,  Masters World Cup, Canmore, 2022


Kent has been one of the top skiers in the Pacific Northwest for many years.  As a Kongsberger living in Fall City, he led long roller ski training sessions on the surrounding roads.  He now resides in the Methow.

Kent has had success in the Masters World Cup, as should such a great skier.  He and his rival and friend Barry Makarewicz of Salt Lake City have vied for podium positions at MWC.  The two of them help form awesome relay teams for the United States, with Barry scrambling in classic and Kent anchoring in freestyle.  Their US team was third to Russia and Finland at Beitostolen in 2019, and they won at Canmore in 2022.




Winner,  Gunnar Hagen 2003, 2017, 2020

2nd, 10k classic, Masters World Cup, 2022

2nd, 45k classic, Masters World Cup, 2022


Rune came to this country from Norway, where he had started skiing at a very young age, as a youth and resumed a competitive career in cross country skiing somewhat later in life.  He says that he was caught flat-footed and was quite surprised by the level of competition!  Already a master of classic technique, Rune realized that he was going to need to get serious about his approach to training.  He did.  He is now one of the most finely tuned Masters competitors in the United States. Those of us who ski Wednesday mornings at Cabin Creek might upon our arrival find Rune completing a 30-40k workout before going to work.

Rune finished on the podium in all four of his races at Masters World Cup, Canmore, 2022. He was second in the 10k Classic and the 45k classic to the world’s best classic skier in his class, Gian Joerger of Switzerland.  In the 30k classic, Rune arrived to find no one at the start, or within sight for that matter; they had all departed!  He managed to reel in the group and finish third.  In his relay, skiing classic again, he supplied eleven of the 39-second margin of victory over Canada.  In that race, he skied a class 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. 

As current president of KSC, Rune advocates for improved grooming on the ski trails of the Snoqualmie corridor.  In that capacity, his services have been invaluable for the club and the skiing public. His wife Augustina Harper, while sometimes tentative on the ski courses, is his unreserved support group in his racing endeavors.  For some time she has served as chief of the timing crew for our major races.


MARTIN ROSVALL (Another Swede!)


Winner, Gunnar Hagen 2007, 2008

15th, 2010 Swedish Vasaloppet

19th, 2006 Marcialonga

9th, 2008 United States 50 kilometer Championship

2nd (twice), cross country ski leg of Ski to Sea


A leading Swedish marathon skier, Martin 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 whiledoing post-graduate studies 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.  He knew he could not maintain the pace of the pros in the final sprint.

Peter Boveng brought to my attention Inge Scheve’s article on Martin in a 2010 Faster Skier.  As a leading junior skier in his final year, having finally defeated some of the best in Sweden, he realized that it was skiing and not necessarily winning that satisfied him.  From there the choice of a university career over a World Cup one was an easy one.  As a university lecturer, he could draw sustenance from both academics and skiing, as opposed to his pro friends in skiing whose moods were subject solely to their results. He noted that in one year of disciplined ski training and racing he only “bonked once”…instructing in physics!  “I ran out of things to say, my brain ran out of glycogen and class ended early.”






The Ultimate Volunteers


Jim and June Lindsey were among the first non-Norwegians to become members of the club.  Jim’s career in competitive masters skiing has been among the longest in the club.  He was an early member to make international forays to the great races, Vasaloppet and Birkebeinerrennet, accompanying Ozzie Nordheim.  As he has aged, he has become something of a fixture at the Tour of Anchorage, where he has won his age group on several occasions.  

Jim envisioned and led the reconstruction and modification of our trails in the early 1980’s, making them suitable for modern grooming equipment.  As such, he is one of the people most responsible in the making of the modern club. For years he has volunteered legal advice for club endeavors, a function for which the club now often looks to long-time member Jeff Eustis.  Together Jim and June have worked in race organization and preparation for almost sixty years!   Skiing in many of the tour racing events, June was also an original “soccer mom” to their daughters Ann and Sarah, and was an ardent player herself.  She designed our Viking logo.  Jim and Sam Baker donated to the club over fifty years ago the copy of the logo carved in cedar that hangs on our wall.  Jim celebrated his 89th birthday this summer, and on another day was sighted ski walking to the top of Amabalis from the cabin! 




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, WI. 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 subsequently turned his attention to MWC events.  Since attending the first American MWC meet in Wisconsin, he has been present at most in North America and Europe.  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 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.

Paul and Pat’s record of service to the club rivals that of the Lindseys.  Paul conceived of and led the effort to make the PK loop leading into the finish.  That loop run in reverse is now also an essential component of the Washington Cup King’s Court Sprint for juniors. Paul would show up whenever there was hard work to be done.  At eighty, he could lift a log that this writer would never have attempted at any point in life.  Pat was invariably to be found in the kitchen preparing the post-race meal with Aase and Kaare Gjolmesli.  This past spring a convivial time was had by all in celebrating Paul’s 90th birthday at the cabin.




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. Others include Carolyn Tiernan of Bishop, California, and Pat Pierce of Vernon, BC.  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. Skiers at Masters World Cup choose between a classic and freestyle race at each distance and Suzanne usually chooses to race classic.

In 2023 at Seefeld, Austria ,Suzanne had been finishing ahead of Norwegian friends for the first time. The Norwegian coach saw that Suzanne was skiing the slushy downhills conservatively (because of arthritic knees) and instructed his skiers to go for it on the downhills.  One Norwegian skier, Aase Marit Sjurso, successfully adopted that strategy.  It was not without risk. That race was the last of the entire week and already had seen face plants in open water at the bottom of downhills.  In one earlier race, a fall had precipitated an avalanche of sliding skiers and slush that had taken out a considerable amount of fencing.  At one point, Suzanne’s skis would submarine and her boots overtop with water!  She passed Aase repeatedly, double poling furiously. Not without trepidation and with several unnerving moments, Aase sailed by Suzanne on the downhills, gaining enough time on the last to defeat her for silver.  Despite losing the battle Suzanne had about as much fun as she has ever had in a ski race.  There was much bonhomie in the finish area.

For some years Suzanne has been the club liaison to the Forest Service, Nature Conservancy and BLM. That role has proved more trying to her than any ski race.  She has been thrust on occasion into compromising situations and severely embarrassed, even humiliated, in the face of her bureaucratic peers.  There has been a tendency among Kongsbergers, even though their intentions are of the best and their mission is to improve the skiing experience and safety for the entire community of Nordic skiers, to act first and ask later.  




Sam was 2nd in the10k Classic and 3rd in the 5k classic in M11 (80-84) at the Masters World Cup in Canmore, Alberta in 2022.

Sam and his wife Berit were Kongsbergers in the 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. Sam and Berit recently renewed old ties.  They visited the cabin in October 2023 with Gil and Berit Lund on their way to the Lund home in the Methow.






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, Squaw Valley, 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. His mom was a children’s book author who featured a character based on his skiing childhood in one of her tales. 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. In 1976 Bush had two young skiers, Mark Johnston and Tim Stephens, who in middle school were already among the most talented classic skiers to have skied at Bush. They had been dominating their races in Washington but at McCall they got their clocks cleaned by Glen.  Coming up against Mack’s skiers as well as some from Intermountain was something of an awakening for the entire team and its coach.  Also at that event, Mack arranged for the teams to meet with Sun Valley and Olympic wax guru Rob Kiesel.  Just weeks before in the days leading up to the Innsbruck Olympics, Rob, Marty Hall, Bill Koch and one or two others had clandestinely invented and worked to perfect the modern wax pocket. With one goal having been to keep this concept from other teams, the Fischer ski company was kept an unsuspecting participant, though through happenstance it soon discovered the nature of the project.

Mack would show up at the 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 MWC 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

Winner, inaugural Gunnar Hagen 30k, 1980


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 4x7.5km 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, taking 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 (lapping this skier!) 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 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. Middle school skier Tim Stephens 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, Ben Haslund, 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 tail of the ski arched over and grabbed the nape 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 an eco-friendly development, Sunriver.  I believe Jay also had a role in the creation of that gem of a museum, the High Desert Museum. He 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 once again, some several decades later, there is Jay’s Way at Mt. Bachelor.




US Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame

US Ski Team, 1970 FIS Championships

US Ski Team, 1972 and 1980 Olympics

1st, American Birkebeiner, 1977

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)

5 and 10 kilometer Champion, 2nd in 20km, F7, Masters World Cup, Lillehammar, 2004


In winning the initial World Cup race for women and in placing second at the prestigious Holmenkoll race, Alison proved herself to be one of the best skiers in the world.  It was not an easy road to get there. She first had to break the gender barrier at junior nationals. (See prologue) Her impediment there was men but she does credit 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 also key to her success, Herb Thomas and her father Jack Owen. Herb Thomas had been a Middlebury skier and a 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 said not to have been a great skier himself, having learned as an adult (with which this writer identifies and sympathizes).  A parent of two skiers on the team, Vern Christiansen, remembers that “Jack had a great eye for technique.”  Supporting this appraisal and with due credit to Herb Thomas, Alison was once featured in a Norwegian technical manual as an example of classic technique. Several Scandinavian World Cup skiers traveled to Wenatchee to seek Jack’s 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 the Kongsbergers many times.  This writer remembers being intimidated by his formidable presence waxing wooden skis full length with klister, in tandem with his assistant Fred Valentine, and using a large canister of propane and a 10-foot hose that threw a flame about a foot long!  Holding his little propane torch in hand, this coach wondered how his team could ever compete at that level.

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, fifty-eight 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 modern wax technicians the late 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. 

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 the Kongsbergers on the old course was one small part of her success at arriving on the international scene in 1970 at age seventeen!




Tom, with the Oregon Nordic Club, was a leading junior coach in Oregon before Mt Bachelor came to prominence. Cantankerous at times ,Tom’s intentions were of the best and he was an influential figure in the development of cross country skiing in Oregon. He was active with his wife Lois for almost seventy years camping, hiking, climbing and skiing in the area around Mt. Hood and in Central Oregon. Tom was an inveterate masters skier who loved racing himself but devoted countless hours to junior racing.  He competed at the KSC innumerable times and was on the podium at Masters World Cup ten times.  One of the last times was second to Bert Larsson in two classic M12 races at Sovereign Lakes in 2011. 


Tom was a key figure in the development of three Nordic ski areas.  The first was Multorpor across the highway from Government Camp and easily accessible from Portland.  Multorpor was replaced as a racing site in about 1980 by Teacup Lake.  It is farther east on the lee side of Mt Hood and somewhat higher and drier.  Tom was extremely enthusiastic about that change, as Multorpor was rather wet!  He also was involved in the creation of the Virginia Meissner nordic area on the road to Mt Bachelor but accessible to a broader public.  Tom’s sons Tim and Steve were on the PNSA Junior Team and Tim was later the Dartmouth coach.  As a teenager ,Tom had skied alpine on the trails of Mt Hood from Timberline to Government Camp. He skied nordic well into his nineties and died at 97 the day after our stadium was dedicated to Dave and Shirley Newton, with whom he was friends.




John was a Southern Oregon cattle rancher who in mid-life set about to prove himself, first in climbing, then in skiing.   He was not the distinguished skier that were those portrayed above but John did leave a major mark in the skiing world.  His career in climbing reached its apogee within a few years of its start at about age fifty and ended abruptly with a serious injury on Mt McKinley.  In the interim, in 1959, he had set the speed climbing record on Mt Rainier with renowned guides Jim and Lou Whitaker, 5:20 to the top from Paradise via the Fuhrer Finger and 2:00 for the return. It remained the record for several decades.  He turned next to skiing and spent a year in Norway learning cross country.  He is reputed to have won an international race in 1975, but details are not readily available.  By that time he had gained national notoriety by attempting to make the 1964 United States Olympic team at his age on a couple years of experience. Though there was much fanfare, he was blithely ignorant of the fact that he needed to have competed in qualification races for the tryouts.  An exception for his case was not granted.  When in later years he showed up to ski in races at the Kongsbergers, he did not stand out among the accomplished club veterans. This writer remembers him for his ready smile and laugh and his enthusiasm for any competitive ski event.  He seemed to love every minute of the experience.

John’s great contribution to skiing was his inspiration for the creation of the Oregon Nordic Club in 1966, which was founded in his ranch house.  Another founder was Dan Bulkely, a coach at Southern Oregon who later won over 500 masters medals in a broad range of sports over a thirty-year period, competing until the age of 100.  They insisted that the emphasis be on touring and that racing would naturally follow. Racing did follow, and quickly. This writer’s first race, at age 26, was on the ONC’s course in 1970 at Multorpor near Government Camp, Oregon. The Oregon Nordic Club, now comprising eleven chapters throughout the state, went on to produce some of the leading races in the Northwest, the John Craig, the Barlow Trail and for some time now, the Teacup Classic.  Not far into the Barlow Trail race, there was a descent of an old toboggan run. Attendant with a mass of skiers descending a tortuous chute in the opening minutes of a race was the high possibility of contact.  This erstwhile racer remembers most of the field passing him by as he looked up between his skis from his position upside down, head at the bottom of an eight-foot tree well!




Kongsberger children have almost all been skiers.  Kongsberger grandchildren are now skiers!  Some KSC children attained national prominence as juniors or later as adults.

The club’s decision to welcome the two high school coaches Nat Brown and Rob Corkran into the fold in 1974 was of some consequence.  It enabled many more junior skiers to learn at the Kongsbergers a life-long sport. Rob often encounters one or another of those skiers at Cabin Creek.  It has also opened up possibilities for more kids and young adults to excel in competition, as outlined in the sketches below. That decision was also to have a role in the continuing development of cross country skiing in the Pacific Northwest and Canada.


For years, the KSC course was one of the best for junior qualifiers and the club race with a qualifier always was a major event on the junior circuit.  Other junior qualifiers were held near Mt Hood, at McCall, Idaho, and at Mission Ridge.  Somewhat later, Mt Bachelor, Leavenworth, White Pass and the Methow became sites for qualifiers.  Early races in the Methow had something of a Wild West feel to them.  In 1979, Bush skier Tarn Thompson missed a corner in mid-race and impaled himself on a barbed wire fence! With the development of great programs at Mt Bachelor, the Methow, Leavenworth, White Pass and more recently at Ellensburg and Plain, as well as changes in format induced by freestyle skiing, junior qualifying races at the KSC have become a rarity despite the fact that juniors have always liked them. 

In recent years, exceptional juniors have come out of PNSA.  Having skied in more places as juniors and relatively fewer times at Kongsbergers, there is even less rationale for claiming some small KSC credit for their successes as this author tentatively does for Alison Owen and other members of the accomplished Wenatchee Racing Team.   Outstanding recent PNSA juniors who have achieved fame as adults are not catalogued here.  That said, several years ago one of them, Sadie Bjornsen, having become one of the best skiers in the world, published an adorable picture of herself racing as a youngster in a heavily snow-laden landscape with a big smile on her face. She is wearing a Kongsberger bib!


There are recent positive developments in junior skiing at KSC which are another consequence of the club having admitted the high school coaches and their skiers years ago.  Two fine skiers, Coert Voorhees and Jeff Hashimoto, returned to the KSC creating two new and vibrant junior clubs, Momentum Northwest and the Ellensburg Ski Team.  Including the Bush School makes three junior teams from both sides of the Cascades regularly using the KSC trails.  In lieu of junior qualifiers, the KSC is now a regular venue featured in the Washington Nordic Cup series conceived and organized by Jeff Hashimoto and his wife Carey Gazis.  It is directed at younger juniors and this year (2023), the KSC event took the form of a classic King’s Court sprint run through the upper snowmobile shed and down the former jump outrun.


The following are among the more accomplished of juniors growing up skiing on the Kongsberger jump hills and x-c courses.



2nd Junior National Jumping, 1954

Junior National Jumping Champion, 1955

Member,  US Ski Team, 1956 Cortina Winter Olympics

Founding member, Kongsberger Ski Club

Leavenworth hill record holder

Standing hill record, Mt. Hood


Ragnar was the first and one of the most accomplished junior skiers affiliated with the Kongsberger Ski Club.  He is the only one who was a founding member of the club.  As such, almost all of his development as a great jumper occurred before the KSC jumps were completed.   In his early teens, he had emigrated to the United States.  Not long thereafter he began beating his coach and uncle Olav in the local and regional events.  Jumping aficionados in Leavenworth regarded him as the most graceful of all jumpers there.  He is said to have used a “torpedo” technique, which this writer takes to be an early modern one akin to Gunnar Hagen’s elegant technique of the same period. During his final junior nationals, he set a hill record at Leavenworth, 284 feet.  In setting that hill record, he joined distinguished company. His mark exceeded the records of the great Norwegian American Torger Tokle and the Lake Placid hero, Art Devlin, both in the Ski Hall of Fame.  Two Norwegian Olympic champions were among those who set Leavenworth hill records that bested his!  Ragnar’s hill record at Multorpor in 1958 on Mt Hood stands at 224 feet, the longest jump made there.  Though named to the 1956 Olympic, team he sustained an injury training in the States and did not compete.




5th Junior Nationals in Jumping, White Pass, 1959.

4th Junior Nationals in Nordic Combined, White Pass, 1959

Pacific Northwest Nordic Combined Champion, 1960, 1961

All Coast, All American Honorable Mention, U of Washington Football, 1964


Koll started skiing at four under the tutelage of his father Gunnar in Norway.  He and his younger brother Halvor spent winter weekends in the mid-fifties at the newly constructed Kongsberger Jumping Center at Cabin Creek.  They exhausted themselves packing the jump hill in the mornings, then jumping and repeating the process in the afternoons on the cross country course.  Before the advent of Olympian Mike Devecka, Koll and his younger Kongsberger teammate Randy Garretson were the prominent Nordic Combined competitors in PNSA.

As a junior at Ballard High Koll joined the football team, where he served in his own words “mostly as a blocking dummy!”  He was also an outstanding swimmer in the Northwest and Canada, having won some events in a Canadian championship.

In the 1959 Junior Nationals, he proved himself to be one of the best jumpers and combined skiers in the United States, finishing fifth and fourth respectively.  Though he was PNSA combined champion in the next two years, he did not attend the JN’s the following year and was plagued by misfortune in 1961 at Lake Placid.  His skis were bundled with those of the alpine team headed for Maine. On borrowed skis, one of which came off in mid-flight, he could not repeat his prior successes.

The ski and swimming coaches at the University of Washington both recruited him, but he chose to walk on to the football team.  Somewhat to a reporter’s surprise, Koll picked Coach Jim Owens’ offer of a scholarship as his most memorable Husky moment.  He is most widely known for a blocked punt against Southern Cal which led directly to a Husky score and a Rose Bowl appearance!  In his junior year, Koll substituted on the ski team when the coach called on him for the team trip to a major meet in Banff.  In his senior year after his collegiate football career had ended, he was a regular member of the UW ski team.  His younger brother Halvor was also a good skier and perhaps the better of the two at football.  He is in the Weber State Hall of Fame and was for six years a player in the NFL. Nonetheless Koll is now regarded as one of the “Husky Greats.”  In recent years, Koll is to be seen on the occasional tour on Amabalis in the company of his buddy Vidar Waerness, one of the club’s great skiers in its earlier years.




Junior National Jumping Champion, 1964

Junior National Combined Champion, 1964

Two-time All-American, Denver University, 1967, 1968

United States Ski Team

Honoree, Plaza of Champions, Kirkland, WA.  Inducted in 1998


Randy was brought to my attention by Koll Hagen after the Newton Stadium dedication.  Koll was most emphatic that Randy should be remembered and the above and the following make clear why.  Randy placed 7th at the 1959 Junior Nationals in jumping at age 12. In 1963 he placed 6th.  In the interim he had broken his neck, undergone rehabilitation and conquered new-found fears of jumping.  The next year, 1964, he was national junior champion in both jumping and combined. By 1965, he was on the US Team jumping at the famed “Four Hills Tournament” in Germany and Austria. At lunch in the hotel after the final meet and with most teams still present, Randy asked Art Tokle, US Coach, if he could play the dining hall’s piano.  (Tokle was from a Sor Trondelog family of 20 skiing children.  He was a Norwegian junior champion before emigrating to the US.  Brother Torger Tokle was the dominant American ski jumper right before the war, winning 42 of 48 meets.  He was killed in action with the 10th Mountain Division in Italy in the closing days of WWII in 1945.   Both are in the US Ski Hall of Fame.)  Art Tokle and Randy’s teammates had no clue what was coming.  During the lunch hour ,Randy played classical pieces and Gershwin tunes and was given a standing ovation from the assembled teams!  His teammates discovered that his mom had encouraged him to take lessons and practice piano daily from early childhood. After winning his second All-American honors jumping for Denver University at the NCAA Championships in 1968, he suffered another neck injury from which he did not completely recover. Rendered a paraplegic, he visited Norway the next year in his wheelchair.  He became a respected and later beloved farmer on Whidbey Island. He died in 2021. One remembrance noted that “he flew through the air with the greatest of ease.  It was a thrill to watch him make a perfect landing off the ski jump at Howelson Hill in Steamboat.”




9th 10k 1973 Junior Nationals, McCall, ID 

Captain, Dartmouth Ski Team, 1977 

NCAA Team Championship with Dartmouth in 1976 (tied with Colorado)

Assistant Coach, US Ski Team, 1984 season and Sarajevo Olympics

Head of School, Holderness, 2002-2022


Phil learned cross country at the KSC while a student at Charles Wright Academy in Tacoma.  He was introduced to the club by R Dean Palmer. Dean taught at Charles Wright for ten years, then led the creation of the Overlake School, literally building a substantial part of it with students.  A dynamic personality, he was also very active in alpine racing with PNSA and received two of its prestigious awards. When Phil, an aspiring but in his own words “bad” alpine skier, set a high school record in the 880 as an eighth grader, Dean gave him some advice.  “Philsy, you aren’t going to alpine ski race again.  Next winter you are focusing on cross country and I’ll get you in touch with the Kongsberger Ski Club.”

That counsel changed his life. “I never would have done anything that I did in the ski world without the countless mentors, friends and coaches that I had at the Kongsberger Ski Club.”  Among those achievements was winning an NCAA team championship with Dartmouth and becoming an Olympic coach.  Phil remembers in particular the advice of Ozzie Nordheim and Einar Svensson. In a twist on Koll Hagen’s experience, Phil was recruited in football at Dartmouth and played his freshman year there. Both Ozzie and Einar were aware of his football background and gave him humorous and candid feedback.  “Phil, you ski like a football player, not a skier; use finesse, not power!”

The Newton family often provided Phil’s ride to the far-flung PNSA race venues.  Phil remembers the excitement of Sunday mornings and the chance to ski after having spent the night at the cabin recuperating from a day of course preparation on snowshoes.  He achieved his best junior results at the 1973 Junior Nationals in McCall, Idaho, where Jay Bowerman was his coach.

At Dartmouth he was honored with the Robert C Gephardt award for high achievement in academics, athletics and the life of the school. In his senior year, Phil was coached by current KSC member Joe McNulty, filling in for Jim Page, Dartmouth coach in Europe with the US Combined Team.  In 1984, Phil began a 38-year association with Holderness, a leading independent school located in New Hampshire.  He accepted a position teaching history and coaching cross country skiing.  He was a colleague in ski coaching with Dennis Donahue, a Holderness graduate.  Dennis is a Hall of Fame Olympic biathlete, math teacher and this author’s friend at Middlebury.  At Holderness, Dennis was a mentor to current KSC member David Lindahl.  Phil was Head of School at Holderness for 21 years, retiring in 2022.




Already partially chronicled above in the remarkable career of Alison Owen Bradley, the WRT was the dominant junior team in the early years of PNSA junior x-c skiing.  In successfully supporting Alison’s candidacy for the junior nationals when only boys were allowed to participate, the team revolutionized cross-country skiing.  Though their home course was at Mission Ridge, they skied at the Kongsbergers many times and I doubt Heidi Christiansen’s expression to the effect that she loved skiing on our course was unique to her.  The team also provided inspiration for other juniors, in particular the girls of the Bush ski team.  Junior National results are surprisingly hard to come by as the USSA did not keep records of their individual races.  More information on the individual skiing achievements of this group would be welcome. (See note.)

The 1973 Junior Nationals in McCall, Idaho, showed that Alison had good company in high caliber skiing. The PNSA girls’ 3 x 5km relay team was all from the WRT.  Alison’s sister Sally, 15, came in third in the scramble.  Tracy Valentine, 14, had the fastest second leg and her older sister Tammy, 16, the second fastest anchor leg!  And that was long before there was a J2 (U16) category.  They finished second to Alaska and ahead of Canada.  The highest individual finish for the WRT went to Alison’s brother Hugh, 3rd in the 10k.  Hugh later skied at Wyoming when it was an NCAA powerhouse.  He met his Norwegian-born wife Torill (“TJ”) there. She later coached at Leavenworth. Hugh still enters KSC races and Masters World Cups.  At the 2018 Minneapolis event, Hugh came charging out of the start area minutes before his start.  The unwieldy contraption used to test pole length had failed his poles. Unfortunately his eyes first fell on this writer, maybe eight inches shorter than he.  Hugh chose to cope with my poles!  

In the mid-seventies, the girls from the WRT were a force in junior national skiing.  The aforementioned girls, with the addition of Joanne Musolf ,were all named to the US Ski Team.  Only the Putney School with its Kochs and Caldwells could compare! Those teams might be analogous to Eric Flora’s APU team or that of the Stratton Mountain School today.

Tracy Valentine’s junior career intersected with this writer’s coaching career at the 1977 Junior Nationals at Fairbanks, for better or worse.  Tracy had already received the PNSA Schwabe award for the outstanding PNSA competitor!  (Up to that point the award had been dominated by the Mahre brothers, Olympic alpine medalists.  An award specific to nordic competitors was established a decade thereafter and named for Olav Ulland.)  Nat Brown and I had stepped into a void and offered to coach the PNSA junior team, Jack Owen having retired from that position.  The rookies were unsure where to seed Tracy, their top skier who was a JN winner in the previous year.  I approached Alaska coach John Morton, a friend from Middlebury, about where he would seed his top skiers.  Big mistake! KSC member Tim Billo has told me that, in a recent autobiography, John mentioned that in some coaching situations he was perfectly willing to take advantage of the gullible.  John seems to have misled me.  We wound up seeding Tracy in outer space, where she managed to finish third, nine seconds out of first.  Chastened, we consulted Tracy herself and did a better job of seeding her in the next individual race.  She won that race handily!  She had traded victories with Leslie Bancroft, for whom Leslie’s Lunge at Mt Bachelor is named.  Tracy notes that usually she raced better in her second race at 7.5k rather than her first at 5k.  So maybe Rob’s concern about the faux pas is moot.  Whatever the case, for some time after that, whenever John’s name came up a dark cloud passed across Nat’s face.




PNSA and Intermountain Junior National Teams

University of Alaska-Anchorage ski team

US Ski Team

Winner, Gunnar Hagen 30k, 1983, 1984, 1991

Former world record holder, in-line skates downhill, 72mph

Patent holder in ski boot design

Co-author, “In-Line Skating”

Currently Executive Director, Advanced Product Development, K2 Corporation


From early youth, John was a beautiful classic skier.  He was perhaps the most skilled native-born skier to ski at the Kongsbergers and a pleasure to watch.  This writer is unaware in what manner John absorbed the technical skills and knowledge of his perfectionist father, Einar, but it was evident that he had!  Einar was one of the most knowledgable skiers in the country.  As mentioned above, his ski camp of 1974 was a pivot point in the the evolution of the Bush Ski Team.  Amiable and engaging in conversation, Einar could nonetheless stir up quite a ruckus if the organizer’s race preparations were not proceeding as he thought they should. In my experience, John has always exhibited the genial side of his father and the considerate character of his mother Marlys.  John was also the measure by which Bush high school skiers judged themselves.  Despite having the advantage of three to five years in age, it was several seasons before one of them, junior Borgan Anderson, finally defeated him in a race.


John appears in the classic picture of the REI Goldrush of 1974 which hangs in the dining area of the Kongsberger Cabin. (That picture was donated to the club by the recently deceased Dave Chantler of the Methow.  Dave managed REI’s Nordic program, then an important supplier to racers.  Swix once told him, before the advent of skating, that REI’s Seattle store sold more red klister than any other in the world!) John is the little kid partially obscured, center front, right up there with the older and speedy Wenatchee juniors Hugh and Sally Owen. This writer, in a rare bit of acumen, counseled his skiers, not yet a coherent team, to stay well to the side of the start, thus avoiding the multiple haystack pile-ups that ensued with a downhill start on poorly groomed crust. I am to be seen in white hat and knicker socks with Bush skiers in their second race in the left rear of the picture. In that race I had gone only several hundred meters when my pole basket was skied over and the shaft separated from the handle. Carried some way beyond, I managed to turn around and ski back to retrieve the shaft. I was able subsequently to advance through the mob until near the finish I was right behind John. As there was a sharp drop on intermittent and poorly defined tracks on crust into the finish, I chose to finish behind an eleven-year-old rather than possibly taking us both out while trying to pass.


Through much of his junior career John traveled widely with his father to race.  In 1976, he won the U-14 class of Korteloppet, the 26km half distance of the American Birkebeiner.  Though only 14, John had the best results among the PNSA boys at the 1977 Junior Nationals in Fairbanks. He finished 39th of 70 in one race.  It was a very strong finish, given that there was then no U-16 class and he was competing against a lot of more physically mature boys. One is left to conclude, however, that Einar thought that better coaching and competition for John could be found elsewhere.  In subsequent years, John competed in the Intermountain division, traveling with his father on weekends to ski at qualifying races in Idaho and Wyoming. 

Family memorabilia were destroyed in a Hyak house fire some years ago and details of John’s subsequent career have been hard to come by.  Clearly he is the beneficiary of his father’s engineering aptitude.  He ran K2’s inline skate production in South Korea for a number of years.  When K2 absorbed Madshus, he and his team began working in xc ski boot design in close conjunction with one of the greatest of biathletes, Ole Einar Bjorndalen. John holds Canadian and American patents related to that work. This skier ran into John at MWC 2019 when John was staying in the Bjorndalen home in Beitostolen, Norway.  KSC member Jon Fewster, a long time member of the Madshus staff, has also worked with John.




Sam and Berit Flora were avid masters skiers who continue to be active in racing to this day.  They brought their family to the cabin most winter weekends in the early eighties.  Berit was particularly enthusiastic about competition.  She really enjoyed her races against her KSC friends, among others, including my wife Suzanne.  Their children became dynamos on the courses.  The Floras soon moved on, but at least it can be said that Erik and Lars got their start on the road to their international careers at the Kongsbergers.


Lars won the national 15k classic championship in 2011 and competed on the World Cup circuit.  Erik represented the US at the 1993 World Junior championships.  In 1994 and 95 he was an All-American at the University of Alaska-Anchorage.  Within ten years Erik had become one of the leading coaches in the United States, heading up the program at Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center.  At Silver Star one of his skiers was going by me and I mentioned that my stepson Bill Price had competed against Erik.  In passing he just said, “Too bad!”




University of Utah ski team member,

NCAA champions in 1981 and 1982

US Ski Team


Coert Voorhees was the first among those in the school programs to show promise as a junior ski racer. He skied with Nat Brown and the Overlake team.  He was always ready with a joke and had a broad grin.  Coert’s dedication and earnest attitude complemented his ability to absorb technical skills and he trained well.  He had creditable results in his first junior nationals at Fairbanks in 1977 at age fifteen.  Though well back, 45 of 70 being his best result, he showed that, despite his young age, he could already belong on almost any of the regional junior teams in the United States.  The details of Coert’s subsequent career have been hard to flesh out, and further assistance would be welcome.

Court and his wife Courtney, upon their return to the Seattle area around ten years ago, set about to create a new junior ski team, Momentum Northwest.  They secured as coach Sam Naney of the Methow, a former Dartmouth and US Ski Team skier.  As Momentum’s first coach, Sam did much to set the tone of the program, soon imbuing the young skiers with an appreciation for training and a competitive spirit.  Coert and Courtney corralled a number of parents and KSC club members who are excellent skiers to instruct all levels and ages on the weekend.  The weekend program is always subscribed to the limit.  Momentum is now a going concern with a life of its own despite Court and Courtney’s departure for Sun Valley.  Together with the Ellensburg Ski Team, it has created a hot bed of junior activity at Cabin Creek.  Take a bow, Kongsberger veterans.  It is in no small part because you were willing to open your doors and share your small cabin with two novice coaches and their ski teams in 1974! 




2nd, Junior National Relay, PNSA Junior Team, Squaw Valley, 1979


With Marsha, from the Bush School, coming in a close sixth in the scramble and Lisa, also with Bush, having moved PNSA in to third place, Heidi took over to ski the anchor leg. Heidi and her sister Kari, later a PNSA award-winning coach at Mt. Spokane, were among the last great skiers of Herb Thomas’ and Jack Owen’s distinguished Wenatchee Racing Team. About ten minutes into her leg, the Eastern team’s radios started crackling. “Who is team 7?  They have taken the lead!” Among those PNSA team members and parents at the finish area, there was an eruption of joy! However, having expended considerable energy moving up, and despite a valiant effort, Heidi could not hold off the charge in the last kilometer of Alaska’s best junior. (This writer wants to think that it was Betsy Haines, later to be aunt to Kikkan Randall!)

Two other Bush skiers were on the PNSA junior team that year.  Sally Ormsby, who had first skied at JN’s the prior year in Wyoming, was later involved in the creation of a women’s x-c ski team at Colby College. Assiduous and dedicated in training, Terry Furman was the first Bush boy to qualify for the Junior Nationals.  He had assisted his coach in reducing the Bush team inventory of a dozen pair of useless ultra light balsa core racing skis by breaking over half of them!

In the 1980 Junior Nationals at Devil’s Thumb Ranch in Colorado, Marsha had graduated and was replaced on the PNSA relay team by Bush’s Za Kraus, a fine skier who had been on the Alaska junior national team the year before.  Lisa scrambled and delivered an amazing performance, coming in about a minute ahead of the field.  Za, however, had a serious crash and bravely finished her leg with some difficulty. Heidi made a wonderful effort to repeat her previous year’s heroics and moved the team from 15th to 7th before running out of time.

Lisa was named to a US Ski Team development program on the basis of her remarkable relay leg and strong individual performances.  She chose to emphasize a college career with Dartmouth, skiing in AIAW  events and those of its successor in women’s sports, the NCAA.  For a little post-graduate exercise, Lisa completed the two-day, 160km Canadian Ski Marathon.  She was the first woman to finish in an event run mostly in stormy conditions,

In 1980, Marsha was skiing on a University of Colorado team that was, not unusually, packed with talent. Marsha and Scott Tucker had been named by PNSA to be its junior forerunners at the Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid. A boy and girl from each of the eight divisions were selected. At that time the divisions were Eastern, Alaska, Central, Rocky Mountain, Intermountain, Northern, Far West and PNSA. Forerunning an Olympic race on the tough Lake Placid courses almost every day was quite the workout, as was tailing the Russian greats Galena Kulakova and Raisa Smetanina, as Marsha found herself doing one afternoon.  For Marsha, it was all no doubt effective training, which she was to put to good use in her own race in the national collegiate championship a few weeks later.

Her Colorado coaches were not happy that she had chosen to miss regionals for the Olympics and in effect kicked her off the team.  They did tell her that she could race in the AIAW finals, which were the national championship for women, but that she would not get a good seed or splits and would have to wax her own skis.  Starting fourth in fresh snow, Marsha responded with the proverbial race of a lifetime.  She passed her competitors and all the forerunners in the first several kilometers and found herself “essentially forerunning my own race.  It was glorious!” She was later told that with one kilometer to go she was tied with eight others in 2nd.  The last kilometer was mostly downhill and leading everyone in fresh snow, her chances slipped away.  She finished 9th, several tenths of a second from an All-American designation. Marsha did ski on Colorado’s first and last women’s national championship team in 1982, the last year of AIAW sports before its functions were assumed by the NCAA. Thereafter men and women were scored together for the championship.




PNSA junior forerunner, 1980 winter Olympics

Middlebury College Ski Team, Team 5th place, NCAA Championship, 1982, 1983

Winner, Gunnar Hagen 30k, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995

Winner 50+, Chicago Marathon, 2013


Scott learned to ski with Nat Brown on the Overlake team.  He and his younger brother Sean picked up cross country readily and were soon among the better junior skiers skiing at the club.  In high school, Scott transferred to Lakeside and continued to ski with Nat and his team.  His genial father, Dr. Keith Tucker, was a casual skier himself, but provided support for his racing kids and offered informal medical advice to others where appropriate. (Keith was yet another doctor at the club cabin who provided my wife Suzanne with valuable counsel, following a nasty spiral strain of the leg.). Scott qualified as a freshman for the PNSA Junior Team competing at Fairbanks in 1977.  It was a humbling experience for a good part of that team.  In his first race at JN's, Scott finished last. He was in good company, however. Heidi, Marsha and Lisa, two years later the medalists mentioned above, finished at 48, 50 and 51 of 56 in their first junior national race that year.  The good-natured Scott was deeply disappointed,  but did  what those with character and talent can do.  Within three years, Scott had been recognized as PNSA’s best male junior skier by being appointed an Olympic forerunner.  It should be kept in mind that, at that time, there was no separate class for juniors under age 16.  The youngest skiers were severely disadvantaged, particularly the boys. That was rectified at JN's by creating a J2 class (U16) class in about 1982.




US Ski Team, 1994, 1998, 2002 Winter Olympics 

Head Coach, Team Canada

Head Coach Biathlon Canada

1st, 1984 Junior National U-16 5k


Justin is the most accomplished skier coming out of the school teams that the Kongsberger Ski Club accepted de facto in 1974 when it admitted the high school coaches to membership. He skied with Nat Brown’s Overlake School team.  His strength of character and sportsmanship are known around the winter sports world. He came to the assistance of a Russian sprinter at the Sochi Olympics who had broken a ski.  Trying to at least finish in front of the Russian crowd the sprinter’s ski had further delaminated and the p-Tex bottom had wrapped around his leg!  Justin, head coach of Team Canada, came forward with a fresh ski so that he could finish “with dignity." It is a character that was already well formed thirty years before by the age of fifteen at the 1984 Lake Placid Junior Olympics. (USSA for some years designated the JN’s  the “Junior Olympics.”)  In that year, Rob was assistant coach to the multifaceted Dennis Oliphant of Mt Bachelor (Oli’s Alley!).  Flat on my back recovering from a 24-hour flu, I had had no role whatsoever in the day’s heroics.  Justin and Willemijn de Clercq of Bush had finished 1st and 2nd, respectively, in the boy’s and girl’s U-16 5k.  In a generous gesture of inclusion, Justin led the PNSA team into my sickroom (not happening today!) to recount the day’s excitement. Justin’s subsequent marriage to Canadian Olympic gold medalist Becky Scott seems to have been an impetus for taking him down his Canadian path.




Seven members of the Bush team were on the PNSA junior teams at Ishpeming and Lake Placid. Dropping into the midst of some skilled skiers was a talented young athlete from South Africa with terrific endurance.  Willemijn de Clercq would place 2nd in the girls’ U-16 5k classic at Lake Placid, somewhat more than a year after her first x-c ski race.  In that tour race at Mt. Bachelor, the ever courteous and thoughtful Willemijn, sensing that her coach was getting rather winded, asked if she could move on ahead.

The team leader was Al Borchert, by virtue of seniority and training ethic. He had shown promise early when, as a sixth grader in his first race, he completed the ill-fated REI Goldrush of 1978.  REI’s grooming equipment had failed to tame, in fact had worsened, the freeze and thaw conditions. The 20k course from Gold Creek to Cabin Creek was littered with ice chunks, many of considerable size. Coach had indisposed himself by falling and smashing up a knee while demonstrating how not to double pole and was unavailable to ski with his charge.  By the time little Alistair had navigated alone through that minefield for twenty kilometers, he was well on his way to becoming “Big Al.” The race was further made something of a joke in the matter of the grand prize, a round trip air fare to Norway.  The most successful Norwegian skier ( yes, more so than Ozzie!) in NCAA cross country skiing, three time winner at Wyoming, Steiner Hybertsen, showed up to win an easy ticket back home, albeit with some danger to his skis.  That was REI’s last attempt at a major tour race.  Some years later Steiner paid a courtesy call at the KSC cabin, reminiscing with Ozzie, et al.

Members of the Bush teams of 83-84 were all proficient at roller skiing and a lot of practices were roller skiing through Madison Park or up Madrona Hill with Rob driving team members back down to the bottom for repeats.  In one of his more irresponsible decisions, Rob allowed certain of the team to ski back down Madrona Hill on their roller skis, which were without brakes or speed reducers.  The skiers survived, but the equipment might not. The u-washer that held together the two-wheel rear assembly might pop off while in a ten-mile-an hour-wedge. With wheels going off in separate directions, the ski’s steel wheel mounting would hit the pavement with a spectacular shower of sparks, continuing but subsiding until the skier per force slowed to a stop!

Dry humorist Andy Dahlstrom, the perennially late Colin Green and the innovative Eric Young were  excellent skiers, which no doubt helped give them the confidence to wear their self-sewn Lycra one piece suits. They used the most outrageous patterns they could find in the fabric shops, which did help obscure the awful sewing work!  So far as this author is concerned, they initiated the craze of daffy patterns that swept the world of skiing over the next decade.

Eric, son of longtime KSC member Ted Young, announced to his coach at Leavenworth in 1984 that he was going to go without grip wax and skate.  We had been teaching Marathon skating for several years and “glidende fiskebein," gliding herringbone, was a natural progression for uphill skating. V1, if it was already practiced, had not yet reached the hinterland.  That was the first time of which I am aware that a junior in PNSA went without grip wax for an entire race. 

For many years, major races in PNSA were held on Sundays, including the junior qualifiers.  They were preceded on Saturday by a relay with teams including juniors, seniors and masters.  In 1984 at Mt. Bachelor, the Bush boys team comprised of Al, Colin, Eric and Andy was leading all teams into the final kilometer when they were run down by Olympian Jay Bowerman!  

The loss of the relay at qualifiers was an unfortunate result of the advent of skating.  There is nothing like a relay to fire up kids eight to eighty! This coach initially gave rather retro names to his relay teams such as Bushmen, Bush Babes and Bush Bambinos. That being the age of Title Nine and of an increasingly progressive bent, there was soon rebellion in the ranks. Coach ceded to suggestions, maybe demands, and sensibly allowed teams to pick their own names.

Willemijn benefitted greatly from the example of two experienced skiers, Karrie Ferguson and Sarah Townes, both of whom had begun x-c early in middle school.  In her coach’s eyes, Karrie was a worthy successor to John Svensson. He might stop to watch her beautiful classic  technique.  Her best individual finish at Lake Placid was 16th in U-16, despite a crash.  The at once exuberant and pensive Sarah would place tenth in Older Junior, now called U20, at Lake Placid.  “I remember Andy and I taking turns madly cheering for each other during our respective races to get up Harry’s Hill” (Lake Placid). The sheer excitement of events surrounding those JO’s, including skiing the outrun of a 90-meter jump on skinny skis, seems to have  obscured some of her memory.  She holds two other medals from those events and she doesn’t remember the details, though one was a bronze in relay.  (The fragmented, dispersed and sparse records for junior nationals contributes.  See note below.)  Sarah remarks that she had idolized a previous Bush team member with fine classic technique who had skied on another PNSA Junior Team at JN’s, John Cobb.

The skis on which Willemijn and Karrie did so well at Lake Placid in their classic 5k were part of a large order that the KSC had placed with the Landsemm ski factory in Norway.  We had been assured that they represented the latest version of ski adapted to the recent advances in ski skating technique. Not only were they great classic skis for the girls, they were durable.  For decades thereafter, coach could assuage the feelings of a young girl who had just been assigned a pair of skis the tops of which were increasingly scratched, scuffed and chipped.  “These skis won silver at the Junior National Championships!”  As of 2022, they were still in the Bush fleet.




11th, Junior Nationals 1990 and 1991

Winner, Gunnar Hagen 30k, 2000


Leah is a great Alpine skier and was perhaps the most skilled downhill skier on cross country skis to ski at Bush.  She could discomfit her coach entering downhill corners on Oli’s Alley at Mt Bachelor at alarming speeds.  While he drifted to the outside hanging on in a parallel skid, she might maintain speed or accelerate skating in the manner of the best Kongsberger skiers, maybe laughing! She spent a season with a ski team in Chamonix, France.  She once said that she had raced almost twenty races in France and Italy. Recently she told me that she “probably won some of them.”  If the season is a blur it is understandable.  Her coach reproached her teammates for not having her work ethic, creating resentment there.  He would not let his skiers socialize with other teams.  That was not consonant with Leah’s friendly disposition. In PNSA her greatest rival, from Mt Bachelor, became a friend with whom she trained in the summer.  

After she returned to Seattle she arrived at my door and deposited all her x-c equipment at the threshold.  She announced with vehemence that she was NEVER going to ski x-c again!.  Happily, in the next decade she joined the KSC. Leah’s experience has an interesting parallel with Marsha Hoem’s, who refers to entering  collegiate skiing as leaving “the cocoon” of the Kongsbergers. Leah’s husband Damien Potts, a talented athlete and former UW runner with an infectious good humor, was well on his way to assuming the ski coaching position at Bush as Rob’s replacement. To the misfortune of all who knew him, he unsuccessfully fought a sudden and aggressive cancer.




4th Junior National U-20 in 1991

NCAA qualifier, Dartmouth Ski Team

Co-Founder, Ellensburg Ski Team

Co-Founder, Washington Nordic Cup

First Overall, 120-mile Fat Dog BC trail running race, 2017

Team Leader, PNSA Junior National team, 2019, 2020

Washington High School Girls 2A Cross-Country Coach of the Year, 2019

Winner, Gunnar Hagen 30k 2016, 2021

Winner, Ozbaldy 50k, 2004, 2007, 2012


Though Jeff continues to have the most consequential career in cross country skiing of any former Bush skier, his start in skiing began inauspiciously as a sixth grader on his first x-c trip. Having just arrived at Busterback Ranch in central Idaho after the 18-hour drive from Seattle, Jeff suffered an accidental injury caused by mishandling an icicle.  That required his coach to drive him back over Galena Summit to Sun Valley for medical treatment in the dead of night. If that effort could be considered a down payment on his extraordinary continuing career in cross country skiing, cross country/trail running and climbing, it was but a pittance!

Jeff was already a competent skier by the time he was a freshman. He was a natural team leader and a group of good skiers who were also close friends provided support in reaching his goals. He qualified for Junior Nationals in his sophomore year of high school and eventually skied in five of them, the most of any Bush skier.  Tracy Valentine, formerly of the Wenatchee Racing Team, was his coach at least once. He steadily improved his position in JN results, reaching 4th place in U-20 while a sophomore at Dartmouth, where he skied for four years. If you see Jeff in a US Ski Team puffy, that would be courtesy of Chris Grover, US Ski And Snowboard Nordic Director, a Dartmouth teammate. 

Jeff received an advanced degree in geochemistry at Cal Tech, then began teaching high school, first in Yakima and for some time now, at Ellensburg High School. He teaches physics and environmental science and is the cross country running head coach. He and his wife Carey Gazis founded the Ellensburg Ski Team.  In addition they were the inspiration for the Washington Nordic Cup, a race series primarily aimed at U-16 and lower.  He has a flight of skis with shoe adaptable bindings ready for elementary school students when snow falls in town and will set track on those occasions.   He is active in PNSA junior coaching affairs, having been team leader or coach at five junior nationals.   He is a stalwart in race organization for the Kongsberger Ski Club.  Jeff and Carey are a major reason that junior skiing at Cabin Creek is thriving. In addition, Jeff is one of the leading ultra marathoners in the Pacific Northwest, and he recently completed a three-month effort with a friend to climb Washington’s one hundred highest peaks, bicycling and hiking to and from the base of all climbs from his home near Ellensburg!




Vermont High School Team Championship, The Putney School, 1989

2nd, Junior National U-18 Relay with PNSA, 1990


John Morton, by then coach at Dartmouth, and previously 1968 runner up in the NCAA championship, was paying a courtesy call at the Bush School during a western recruiting trip. Despite having been apparently victimized by John, then an Alaska coach, in his very first race as a JN coach for PNSA (above, Wenatchee Racing Team), Rob had remained on friendly terms with him, both of them having worked together in a Middlebury dining hall. Rob was running the first ski bounding session for the season.  Freshman John Alberg was having the usual problem with diagonal technique for those attempting this workout who have not already been on x-c skis.  John’s athleticism only compounded the issue as he took impressive leaping bounds, but with same side leg and arm coming forward. John and Rob were most unprofessionally laughing as we tried to right his technique. 

The joke turned out to be on the coaches.  Within a few years, John had set a Bush hill running record choosing to use poles. John skied on the PNSA Team at Junior Nationals all four of his high school years, with Lisa Ragen (above) the only Bush skiers to do so.  His junior year, he spent the winter at the Putney School in Vermont where he flourished. He won several New England qualifying races.  He paired with another skier to lead Putney to the state championship.  Back at Bush for his senior year, he joined with several Mt Bachelor kids including Erik Flora in winning silver for PNSA in the U-18 Junior National relays at Steamboat Springs.  In college he skied at Williams, not Dartmouth!  During John’s year at Putney, Bush graduate Tom Loeser, who had skied with the Alpental alpine team, coached the Middlebury high school to the Vermont alpine championship.  With a great leap in imagination, Rob has always privately considered that the year in which the Bush School of Seattle won both the alpine and cross country championships of Vermont!




US Ski Team, 2010-2016

National Sprint Champion, Classic, 2011

2nd, 20km freestyle, National Championships, 2011

5th, 10km freestyle, Gallivare World Cup, 2011

3rd,  4 x 5km relay, United States, Gallivare World Cup, 2011

Winner, American Birkebeiner, 2011, 2015

3rd, FIS Marathon Cup, 2015

2-time winner, Mount Marathon foot race, Anchorage


Holly is among the more distinguished cross country skiers to come from the Snoqualmie Pass area. However, she did not achieve notoriety until, in her late twenties, she had emerged from xc ski finishing school with Erik Flora at Alaska Pacific, ironically in the guise of one of his ski coaches!  

As a member of the Snoqualmie Nordic Team, Holly skied on the Kongsberger courses throughout her successful junior ski racing career. Though not then affiliated with the Kongsbergers, having skied so much on the KSC courses perhaps we can also claim some small credit for her successes, as this author is wont to do for members of the distinguished Wenatchee Racing Team.  Her parents Don Brooks and Chris Syrjala have now been KSC members for a while but at the time, Don was a coach for the Snoqualmie Team.  Her triplet siblings Brian and Scott and sister Robin were also excellent junior skiers. 

Coaching in Anchorage with APUNSC, Holly found a renewed interest in racing herself.  While coaching for Erik, she herself worked with him to improve her skiing.  She resumed serious competition in 2009 at the age of 27, and by age 30, was one of the better skiers in the world.  Her best World Cup results were in Gallivare, Sweden, in November, 2011. In the 10k free she finished fifth, 17 seconds out of first and with only the world’s very best skiers from Norway, Sweden and the US in front of her! The reader could probably name them without prompting.  In the 4 x 5km relay, she scrambled and came in a close eighth, eleven seconds out and setting up Kikkan Randall for an outstanding leg.  The United States finished third for Holly’s one World Cup podium! The race was consequential.  Referred to by some as “the American Revolution,” it nurtured a confidence-building belief that American women belonged on the World Cup relay podium. 




The Kongsberger Ski Club was founded in 1954.  It was created to replace the Seattle Ski Club, which had devolved from an important jumping club to a social one.  Having been among the world’s best jumpers in their younger years, several of the club skiing as masters were still among the best in the country.  John Berg, in his fifties, had not given up the goal of an Olympic berth!  Throughout its existence, emphasis at the club has been on masters skiing, with corresponding results.  That continued with the rise in importance of cross country.  In yesteryear there were masters skiers of the caliber of Olav Ulland, Gunnar Hagen, Fritz Pedersen, Einar Svensson, Ozzie Nordheim and Bert Larsson, the last three active and among the best at Masters World Cup in cross-country. In recent years Rune Harkestad, Kent Murdoch and Ginny Price have been at or near the top at Masters World Cup competitions.


Though with its emphasis on participation in masters skiing the club never had a junior program, several things conspired to make it an incubator of accomplished junior skiers.  There were the occasional excellent clinics, notably those of Einar Svensson in the early years.  A few juniors had parents or relatives who were among the more authoritative coaches in the world.  Halvor and Koll Hagen, John Svensson and Ragnar Ulland come to mind.  As Phil Peck recalls, many members were willing to share their skiing expertise on an individual basis.  A junior with no affiliation might be welcomed into the club, as were Phil and Randy Garretson. Rob and Nat and their skiers can remember members who took a genuine interest in the progress of the school skiers, sometimes volunteering to work with kids on specific aspects of technique or training. Especially gratifying were the generally positive old timers such as Gunnar Hagen, Fritz Pedersen and John Berg who followed the kids’ progress.  School skiers sometimes doubled the small cabin’s occupancy and the old timers had surrendered considerable privacy!  The admission into the club of those program’s coaches was consequential, in effect supplying the missing structure supporting many more juniors.


Most important, the club consistently hosted the best junior qualifiers in the Pacific Northwest. Today the equivalent for the club is the exciting sprints of the Washington Cup series. Races for the kiddies also long preceded at the KSC the establishment elsewhere of the Bill Koch League.  The race courses were well prepared, given the limitations of the day, and were demanding and fun.  Race organization, with Dave and Shirley Newton playing vital roles, was especially competent.  Club participation in preparation was deep and consistent, personified by the ever present Jim and June Lindsey, Paul and Pat Kaald, Odd and Helga Moen and Kjell Ulland. These efforts were recognized by leading junior coaches in the division, such as Jack Owen, Mack Miller, Jay Bowerman and Tom Gibbons.  They embraced traveling, some of them long distance, to have their juniors ski at the club.  Kongsbergers also served elsewhere in junior race organization.  Ozzie Nordheim was Chief of Course at the 1973 Junior Nationals in McCall, while Kjell Ulland was Chief of Jump.  Dave and Shirley officiated elsewhere on numerous occasions.


In sum, the Kongsberger Ski club has had the ethos, the expertise, the facilities and the courses to nurture the very best in junior skiing.  A kid with a dream might realize it through talent, determination and hard work.  For most juniors, it was unadulterated fun learning a lifetime sport while training, jumping, racing and playing (read unauthorized jumping on cross-country skis!) with friends on its jumps and courses. On behalf of almost seventy years of juniors and their coaches,


Thank you, Kongsbergers!




Nat Brown left the Overlake School in the mid-eighties to concentrate on a budding career as a wax technician. During his tenure at Overlake, he had been accorded PNSA’s Norrie Lamson prize (1979) for outstanding service to juniors and the junior program. He served as a US waxing coach in multiple Olympics, World Championships and Junior Worlds. He was also for a period wax coach for Slovenia, where Gunnar Hagen had been a jumping coach for Yugoslavia in the 1930’s.  His program at Overlake did not long survive his departure.  Its demise highlighted the importance of R Dean Palmer in the history of the Overlake program and by extension the PNSA Nordic junior program. Dean was the founder and first Head of School at Overlake.  He was the recipient of two major awards from PNSA for his contributions to alpine junior racing and to the entire organization.  Though on the alpine side of PNSA, he was a great friend of the Nordic side.  As Head of School, he was committed to Nat’s team.  In 1984, Phil Peck (see juniors, above) applied at Overlake for a position in history and hoped to coach cross country skiing.  Dean had some years earlier launched Phil’s career in xc skiing by referring him as an eighth grader to the Kongsberger Ski Club!  But Dean had by then departed Overlake for another opportunity and Phil was told that there was no longer a place for the ski team at Overlake! 


Nonetheless, the Overlake team leaves quite the legacy.  The career of Justin Wadsworth as ski coach, first of Team Canada and currently of Biathlon Canada, mirrors that of Olav Ulland as coach of both Italian and American jumping teams.  The Momentum Northwest team established by Coert and Courtney Voorhees has introduced hundreds of kids to cross country skiing.  A number of them have become skilled ski racers.  Endurance coach, Methow native and former Dartmouth and US Ski Team ski team member Sam Naney set the tone for year-round training as the first Head Coach. A distinguishing characteristic of the program is the number of outstanding skiers, among them a number of Kongsbergers, who volunteer their time for weekend instruction at all levels. One of the most skilled racers to come out of the program is Delaney Jackson, daughter of KSC members Tom and Gina Jackson.  Delaney finished fourth in the U-18 sprint finals at the Junior Nationals at Fairbanks this year.  She was also named this past winter to the United States U-18 Nordic Nations Cup Team. She is currently skiing with Mt Bachelor SEF and Montana State.  The Momentum team is now ably coached by new Kongsberger member Stacey Marion. 


Bush also had a head of school who supported the team wholeheartedly.  Though not a skier, Les Larsen late in his tenure travelled to Lake Placid in 1984 to see his school’s skiers in action at the junior nationals. The Bush School Ski Team also has as legacy another ski team.  That would be the previously mentioned Ellensburg Ski Team, the handiwork of Jeff Hashimoto and his wife Carey Gazis. Ellensburg has also had distinguished skiers who have qualified for the junior nationals, Isak Larsson and Uhuru Hashimoto. Uhuru had an eleventh place finish in young women’s U-20 and also a third place skiing as a U-18 in a U-20 relay. Having subsequently transitioned, Uhuru participated in 47 of his father’s recent 100-peak bike and climb marathon!


Bush had several more highly skilled and dedicated skiers who made the PNSA Junior Team before Bush’s string of JN team members over fifteen years was broken, hopefully for not much longer!  They were Galen Lauman, Shawn Roseman, Cindy Peyser and Eric Carlson.  Most skiers in the high school programs did not achieve that rarified level.   Many members of the team became exceptionally competent skiers, including my stepchildren Bill and Liz Price.  All had fun participating in a sport where almost anything could happen to anyone at any time, all potential for embellishment in exaggerated tales! Their dedicated participation was essential support for their team mates striving for selection to the PNSA Junior Team. Rob might rather forget the importance of the pulsing boom box in building team camaraderie on long trips. If you read one yearbook entry, that would seem to have been the team’s primary reason for existence!  It did take a certain self confidence and enjoyment in racing for its own sake to ski in races week in and week out where the top skiers might be some of the best in the country.  Not that frustration or the urge to parody was never there.  In the early eighties, the Hill brothers of Boise were a force in junior skiing.  Nice guys and great skiers, they were of a remarkable and manly physique. A Bush student of normal stature, Alan Anderson, knowing that he could not beat them, evidently decided to join them.  He appeared one race day in his one piece suit with biceps bulging, wide square shoulders and a deep chest, having stuffed his race suit with extra clothing!


Rob continued to coach at Bush until his retirement in 2006, and the Bush team is still active. By the mid-nineties, the mystique of skiing at a junior national level at Bush had collapsed.  Skiers from that era at Bush loved to ski, might enjoy the occasional race and paradoxically trained about as well as any Bush team.  Maureen Davis, Bush foreign language teacher and the best skier to coach at Bush, was an NCAA skier at Bates (and daughter of a governor of Vermont).  She found it hard to believe that Bush had fielded regional junior national team members for fifteen consecutive years, but Rob found the period something of a welcome breather.  He enjoyed his team’s continued enthusiasm for skiing without the substantial travel required for junior qualifiers.  Around the turn of the century, team numbers picked up and the Bush team began attending junior qualifiers again.  Current KSC member John Loeffler might qualify one weekend, but choose the next qualifying weekend to spend the night in a snow cave!

In Rob’s last year of coaching, he had on the team two of the faster skiers to have skied at Bush, Oliver Wood and Jordi Viladas.  They acquired some of their speed by chasing young Nick Hendrickson, subsequently both a member and later head coach of the US Nordic Combined team, all over Sovereign Lakes.  Nick is the grandson of former Bush teacher Scott Hendrickson, who was a great help to Rob in running the December pre-season Silver Star trips in British Columbia.  Scott had been on Ski Patrol as a student at Middlebury, skiing over 60 days a year. His father once told him that Middlebury tuition had been the most expensive lift ticket ever!  The 1961 NCAA championships were at Middlebury and featured Bob Gray and Colorado vs Ozzie Nordheim (see "Viking Heroes" above) and Denver.  Scott fielded 4am calls desperate for assistance dealing with “four feet” of fresh snow on the race courses and the jump!  

Scott’s children started skiing in diapers and two became regional or national level alpine coaches. Granddaughter Sarah Hendrickson was the winner of the first World Cup season in women’s ski jumping.  Her brother Nick accompanied their grandpa Scott on a Bush pre-season camp at Silver Star and set the standard in skating. In return, we taught him classic. A quick study, Nick was justifiably annoyed when after only four sessions on classic skis, Rob asked him to demonstrate a point of classic technique! Yet we might have done better by Nick.  In later years leading Utah to another of its NCAA  championships, Nick’s classic race results did not quite match those of his great races in freestyle.


On Rob’s retirement from Bush, he left the ski team in the hands of a popular coach with substantial experience and expertise in cross country running who had been a long time substitute at every level in the K-12 school.  In his seventh year of coaching the ski team, he was belatedly found to be morally unfit to lead.  Removed from his post early in the ski season, the school rallied around the team. The team retained the support of Head of School Frank Magusin and subsequently that of his successor Percy Abram. Pro active athletic director Jo Ito found an accomplished outsider, Molly Sygulla to coach the remainder of the season.

In the following year Bush coaches James Batey, Alban Howe and Christine Miller stepped in to an unfamiliar role as ski coaches and led the team.  The team is currently (2024) under the direction of Christine, math department chair and cross country running coach.  Coach Lucy Alexander, a former Williams College skier, provides technical expertise, and another experienced Nordic skier from the Midwest, Rachel Ladd, is now part of the coaching team.  The team has the school’s wonderful facility in the Methow as an occasional base of operations.  


Several years ago, Bush graduate and skier Jordi Viladas also took the helm of the program for a year before decamping to Bellingham.  Perhaps Jordi had taken a page from Nick Hendrickson’s book in Nick’s openness to learning classic.  Originally disdaining classic in favor of freestyle, a rather common ninth-grade boy phenomenon, Jordi became a fine classic skier in his years at Bush.  With that background, he launched the Bush ski team on a pre-season training camp that was the most ambitious ever.  He took the team to Fairbanks, Alaska, where it trained on the course at Birch Hill.  (One former Bush skier from the earliest years who subsequently skied at Alaska-Fairbanks, Chris Haslund, has harrowing tales of losing his vision on downhills at Birch Hill as the surface fluids in his eyes froze.). Little did Jordi know that in skiing at Birch Hill, the Bush team was revisiting the course on which Its skiers had competed at their first junior nationals some forty years before in 1977.




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!  


The section above on juniors skiing at the Kongsbergers is still being finalized.  Emphasis is on those with outstanding results, though procuring results can be difficult.  The state of record keeping for the Junior Nationals is in disarray.  Only the sponsoring clubs have (presumably) complete race results for races held in the decades of the 20th century. There is an online attempt to rectify the situation at crosscountryskihistory.us.  All Alaska JN’s have been posted, but that’s it.  If you possess a copy of any other set of JN results, it would be helpful if you contacted that site if you can.


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


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

July, 2023 with revision and additions as of January, 2024.  Additions, among them the entire Juniors section, and rewrite of prologue and “giants” sections, will be uploaded here in the future.