Sondre Norheim: Inspiration, Dreams, Challenges

It’s hard to figure out exactly where the legend and the facts merge and diverge when it comes to Sondre Norheim. He is generally credited with innovations — like side-cut and willow heel straps for bindings — that helped propel the nascent recreational pursuit of skiing even further into the consciousness and culture of Norway.

I have no idea exactly what was involved in a ski competition or exhibition in 1868 but, as a 42 year-old tenant farmer from his own hinterland, he seems to have blown people’s minds in the big city with his grace and style. He is revered by many modern day freeheelers, but he should be celebrated by anyone who is thrilled by the feeling of skis turning on snow, as his creations in the shop and on the hill lead to further developments in design and technique that we enjoy today.

This video isn’t necessarily made for a skiing audience, making it all the more powerful, in my opinion. It speaks not only to his skiing passion, but to the powerful lure, and harsh reality of the American dream.

New York’s Winter Sports Snow Trains

The 1932 Olympics in Lake Placid inspired the locals of North Creek, New York to build ski trails on the slopes outside of town. Logging roads were cleared and widened on the flanks of Gore Mountain.

ski train poster
image courtesy North Creek Depot Museum

On March 4, 1934, the first Delaware and Hudson’s first snow train, transported nearly 400 enthusiastic skiers from Schenectedy to the station in North Creek. The dedicated train spent the weekend in town and included dining and lounge cars. The round trip ticket was $1.50.

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Jean-Claude Killy Skis the Trees

You can learn a lot about skiing by following SkiMadWorld. And on Friday nights, you can learn while watching great video.

Recently MadPat posted a piece on Jean-Claude Killy and his legendary accomplishments, in the late sixties and the 1968 Olympics. When I finished reading, I got drawn further into YouTube, and I found this silent video of Jean Claude in the trees — it’s really beautiful skiing.

“Killy came to a ski camp I was at in 1970 — Lange International Racing Camp at Mammoth Mountain. He could ski so well. He ran a course and we all went over to look at his perfect carved turns in the salted snow. I have never seen anyone with such body control and quickness in my life. It was otherworldly.”

-YouTube Comment