Bakke Hill Ski Jump, Leavenworth, WA

Discussion in 'Terry's Corner' started by Terry, Apr 2, 2018.

  1. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Bakke Hill Ski Jump in Leavenworth Washington has had it's share of ski jumpers. From the 30's to the 70's it got a lot of action, including having some of the longest jumps recorded nationally. It received visitors from Europe and Japan to try their skills on the hill there. The big hill is no longer being used now, but the history of of it fascinating. I first heard of it from my father Melvin V. Love, who had gone to high school there. I was living in a small town near Seattle at that time, Bellevue. As a kid, the idea of skiing was big, and I asked my father if I could learn to ski. I was about four or five at that time. My first skis had the tails cut off, no edges and painted on bases with cable bindings.

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    In 2018 this is what the big jump looks like. It hasn't been in use for some time now.

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    The top part may be from 1960, the lower from 2018

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    I'm on the right, standing in the same place as my father on the right, whose picture was taken sometime in the 30's.
    The picture on the right is hanging on the wall in Leavenworth at Kristalls Restaurant and Lounge.

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    This is the lodge here.
    Leavenworth Winter Sports Club

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    My mother Pamela is on the left, then me, Terry.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2018
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
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    Watching them fly by, the pants flapping in the wind making it's own racket, seeing them soar down and then touch down, Womp! and then take a long time flipping their long skis sideways to bring down their speed and to a stop.

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    My sister Trinda is on the lower left, then James Love and I'm on the lower right.

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    Trinda and James Love are shown interviewing Willie Erickson, member of the U.S. Olympic jumping team, Sunday at Leavenworth. Trinda, age 12 and James, age 10, prepared questions ahead of time to ask Willie and the other Olympic jumpers and they interviewed each of them for a story for school. Their father, Melvin Love, took their pictures during the interview.

    BY TRINDA AND JAMES LOVE
    Bellevue American February 18, 1960


    How old should a boy be to learn ski jumping? We went to Leavenworth Sunday to ask that question of members of the United States Olympic ski-jumping team.

    THE ANSWERS became apparent as the tournament progressed and the records fell.

    Gene Kotlarek said that he started when he was four. He went on to jump 308 feet and 311 feet in a blinding snowstorm on Leavenworth's giant hill.
    Jim Brennan, co-holder of the North American distance record of 316 feet, stated that he started jumping when eight years old at Leavenworth.
    Willie Erickson said, "A boy should start jumping as early as possible." Willie should know because his longest jump was 390 feet in Germany, and he started at an early age. He says that every jump scares you, but he showed no fear during the afternoon of jumping.

    To US as spectators, the sight of Kotlarek breaking the hill record at 308 feet in a snowstorm was breath-taking. When he finished his christie-stop on the outrun, he bowed low to acknowledge the ovation of the crowd. This was the most unusual gesture at a ski tournament, but it was appropriate in view of his accomplishments.

    We met Gene at the judges stand, near the take-off, immediately after his record-making jump. We wanted to find out his views on skiing and in particular, on jumping on the Leavenworth hill.

    "This hill is pretty good." Gene said, which is an understatement for then he went on to say that his last jump was the greatest thrill of his life.
    We had hopes that our Northwest jumpers, Ragnar Ulland and Jim Brennan, would make the Olympic jumping team, and were sorry to hear that they were cut from the squad three weeks ago.

    WE WERE interested in knowing what our team though of ht competition at the Olympics. The feeling of the Jumpers was summed up by Willie Erickson when he said the Finns are the favorites.

    Ski jumping is thrilling to both jumpers and spectators, but we were doubly thrilled to have the autographs of Ragnar Ulland, Jim Brennan and Gene Kotlarek.


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    My father Melvin Love when he was in high school.

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    Leavenworth ski jumpers

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    This picture is from the 30's I believe.

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    My father on the right.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2020
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  4. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
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    Taken March 27 2018
    Almost no snow here. The following week there was a blizzard on Snoqualmie Pass. Leavenworth is East of Stevens Pass.



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    We hiked up to look at the jump in disrepair.




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    Bakke Hill, Leavenworth WA

     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
  5. bakke

    bakke New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2019
    Location:
    leavenworth
    Hey Terry,
    cool pics. I am working on a documentary video about Bakke Hill, and would love to use some of your photos. Also, am wondering if you have any more vintage photos or video.
     
  6. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I don't have video but I do have more pictures. I would be glad to share.
     
  7. bakke

    bakke New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2019
    Location:
    leavenworth
    Thank you. Do you know the dates of those pictures with you and family at the tournament, and also, how sure are you of the date on that 2nd picture (1960)? If you could email, or google drive, any pictures that you have, that would be awesome! My wife's relatives are Magnus and Hermod, and uncles Kjell and Knute, who jumped in the 50's. Hermod jumped the A hill at age 59. Crazy.
     
  8. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I'm pretty sure 1960.
    I remember being on the hill and helping to smooth it out after someone would fall. I was in 4th grade. My two older brothers jumped the hill in the 60's, I didn't. Clare, the oldest went off the jump with Head skis and Cubco step-ins and when he left the jump, both skies fell off. He was wearing shorts and a polo shirt and got rather scrapped up on the ice. He had just gotten back from Vietnam. My brother James went to high school meets there. My father was the original one in the family though back in the 30's.
     
  9. bakke

    bakke New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2019
    Location:
    leavenworth
    So the other pictures of the jumping were 1960 as well? I have a picture of Hermod, just after taking off, with his right ski up by his hip, floating away. Don't know how he landed but I want to find out. Binding tech needed work. Do you know who jumper #87 is? Bill Love graduated with Ethel Bakke.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
  10. John W. Lundin

    John W. Lundin New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2020
    Location:
    Seattle
    Terry: I see that you posted a a number of old photos of Leavenworth's jumping hill and jumping events on the Ski Jumping Archive website.

    http://www.skisprungschanzen.com/EN/Ski+Jumps/USA-United+States/WA-Washington/Leavenworth/0736/

    I am working on an joint exhibit on ski jumping in Washington with the National Nordic Museum in Seattle and the Washington State Ski and Snowboard Museum, that will open January 2021. As part of that exhibit, History Press is publishing a book I am writing, History of Ski Jumping in Washington, Influence of Norwegians on Northwest Skiing. Profits from the book will go to the two museums, both of which are non-profits. I wrote article about the exhibit that was published tthis spring in Nordic Kultur magazine by the Nordic Museum. I can send you a copy of the article but I don't know how to attach it to this message. Ialso wrote an article about Alf Engen’s early days at Sun Valley published the International Ski History Association.

    We are looking for old pictures of the Leavenworth ski hill and tournaments for the exhibit and book. Would you consider making them available to us? We would give you full credit for them. We don’t have may pictures of Leavenworth and we want to make sure that its rich history is covered.

    You can check my website below to learn more about me. I am a founder of the Washington State Ski and Snowboard Museum. My first book, Early Skiing on Snoqualmie Pass, was written for the museum. I included quite a bit about ski jumping in Washington in that book A number of my essays on ski history have been published on Historylink.org, the on-line encyclopedia of Washington. My next book, SunValley, Ketchum and the Wood River Valley, will be published in July.

    Thank you very much for considering this request. We have a short time frame to get the book published for the exhibit an need to get the pictures assembled by mid-May. I hope to hear from you soon.

    John W. Lundin
    www.johnwlundin.com
    206-979-9968
     
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