USA Masters Ski Jumping National Championships
February 15, 2009
Tri-Norse Ski Club, Wisconsin Rapids, WI

 


The Tri-Norse Ski Club hosted the 2009 National Masters Ski Jumping Championships on February 15 at their ever-improving facility at Dyracuse Mound, 13 miles south of Wisconsin Rapids, about in the center of Wisconsin. The Championships were conducted on tournament day with junior jumpers traveling from four states for their own event, but the Masters competitions were run first, putting the Old Boys in the spotlight. A week before competition day, all four hills were perfectly prepared but after six weeks of bitter cold weather, warm winds and rain on Tuesday did their best to spoil the party. Fortunately, cold weather returned quickly and on Thursday the stalwarts of the Tri-Norse hill crew set to work, repairing the damage. They shoveled some of the generous snow-pack onto the landings and hauled some more up the towers to repair the tracks. When the Old Boys began trickling in on Saturday, they found four hills looking beautiful with a smooth, straight track cut in each inrun.

The Tri-Norse Ski Jumps
The Tri-Norse jumps at Dyracuse Mound were firm, fast, and ready to go.

The size of the field was small this year, less than half of the twenty one Masters who skied at last year's event, but the nine enthusiasts who participated put on a good show, with seven jumping the K-52 hill and five on the K-22. The skiers hailed from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Wyoming, New York and Rhode Island.

The hosts had intended to provide practice jumping on Saturday (St. Valentines Day) but the task of repairing the ravages of the rain ate up too much of the day. However, at least one Old Boys, short on training this season, took a couple of rides down the big hill landing.

The festivities began with a nice banquet on Saturday night, open to skiers, coaches, family and friends. The Junior jumpers were gathered in Eau Claire for a Saturday competition so the banquet crowd turned out to be the Masters and their guests plus many weary members of the host club. This evening gathering was the opportunity to induct two new members into the Master Ski Jumpers Hall of Fame. Neither of the new honorees was aware of what was coming.
 
Induction of Tom Ricchio
Tom Ricchio,   Tim Denisson,   Earle Murphy

Master of ceremonies Tim Denisson of Cheyenne, Wyoming, a Hall of Fame member and charter member of the Wyoming Wingnuts ski jumping club, began with one of his patented rambles which returned periodically to mention the new inductee, Tom Ricchio. Finally the plaque came out and Tom was made the 24th honored member of the Master Ski Jumpers Hall of Fame. In attendance was retired jumper and Hall of Fame founder (and inductee number seven) Earle Murphy who at age 81 had driven solo from New Jersey to join the festivities.

After Tom said a few words, Tim gave the floor to Don West who recalled the man who had mentioned that the two them had competed in seven decades. He called that jumper, Bob Keck to the head table and told a little about Bob as a junior
Induction of Bob Keck
Tim Denisson,       Don West,       Bob Keck   
 
jumper, then in the military where he made the U.S. Team for the 1962 World Championships. Bob was the best dressed man in the room with white shirt and necktie in his official dark blue 1962 FIS Team blazer. Bob's daughter Karla, a fine ski jumper and chief administrator for the U.S. Women's Ski Jumping Team, briefly related how Bob had laid out plans for the initial development of women's ski jumping. Bob accepted his plaque, becoming the 25th honored member of the Master Ski Jumpers Hall of Fame, and said a few words of acceptance.

When these two presentations were finished, all Hall of Fame members present came to the head table for pictures. Ole Arneson Jr. stood in for his dad, inductee number ten.

Hall of Fame, New and old members
Tom Ricchio, Archie Lowman, Tim Denisson, Earle Murphy, Don West, Bob Keck, Ole Arneson
Murphy holds the Hall of Fame plaque with the names of all 25 honored members.

 

Voices lifted in song
The official festivities finished with the faux-Norwegian ski jumping song Ja, ja, vi skal ha ...
but many people lingered for conversation or to look through albums and memorabilia.

 


 
Sunday morning gave the skiers some training time, with the Masters competition beginning at eleven o'clock on the big hill, the beautiful K-52 meter jump first constructed in 1964 and just updated for plastic in 2008. The official festivities began with the Masters competitors and a couple of retired Old Boys posing for a group photo at the base of the 22 meter landing. Then each Masters competitor was introduced and we took off our hats or helmets for a nice solo rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.

Master Ski Jumpers
(L-R) Bob Keck, Tom Ricchio, Tim Denisson, Joe Berens, John Conley, Wladyslaw Kwak,
Patrick Kruegel, Don West, David Zarling. Kneeling: Earle Murphy. (Missing: Roman Hawryla)

 
A brisk breeze blew across the valley and up the landing so flag-man Shawn Arneson watched the up-wind trees, trying to find each skier a good safe piece of air. The better jumpers took advantage of the updraft and floated gracefully down the landing slope. Two traditional head-to-head competitions were suspended last year as two skiers entered new age groups while their long-time rivals stayed back. This year Tom Ricchio and Tim Denisson were back together in Class IV (ages 60-69) and Ricchio came out on top. Bob Keck has just entered Class V but his family asked him not to ski, so Don West again found himself unchallenged. Keck and West have competed against each other in seven decades, since the late 1940's! Wladyslaw Kwak defended his Class I title and 2006 winner Patrick Kruegel came out on top in Class II. Complete results are listed below.  [See a listing of the champions for all the years of the age group championships.] 

As soon as the 52 meter Masters event was finished, three of the big-hill jumpers joined two other Masters on the 22 meter jump where the five competitors took just two competitive jumps, no trial round, and the competition was finished in just a few minutes. Then the juniors took over the hills, beginning with the tiny five-meter hill and working up through the ten-meter, the K-22, and finishing with some fine jumping on the 52 meter jump. The Tri-Norse Ski Club volunteer in charge of calculating the results was kept busy finishing the Masters results as the junior scores were coming in, so all awards were held until the juniors were finished.

A very important aspect of Masters ski jumping is the devoted respect shown for the oldest ones. We were all pleased that Earle Murphy at age 81 could join us. Earle is an initiator. He established the Master Jumpers Hall of Fame and was a co-founder of the International Masters Championship, our world championships. He also created the U.S. Masters banner shown above. The banner had a bad experience in 1996, but it was restored by Don West who now keeps it up to Grandma Arneson, age 99 date and brings it to all Masters events.

"It takes a village" Everybody was happy to see Earle again, but the most striking and heart-warming instance of respect for age was the way the members of the Tri-Norse Ski Club looked after Grandma Arneson (right). The widow of Ingvar "Ole" Arneson Sr. is 99 years old and still lives on her own, but it was clear that she gets all the help and support that she needs. Throughout the day, any number of people gave Grandma A. a hand, or brought her something to eat or drink, or just chatted with the matriarch of the Arneson clan, so many of whom were busy making this event possible.


A huge vote of thanks goes to all the Tri-Norse Ski
Club volunteers who made the event a sucess!

Here are the results of the Masters competitions on the two hills. The two Norge competitors left before the award ceremony and some of the medalists declined to pose for the camera, so we have only three "podium photos."

 

52 Meter Event

 
Judges:
  1. Dale Fredette
  2. Jahn Sandman    
  3. Korey Arneson
Competition Jury:
  • Dale Fredette (TD)
  • Jahn Sandman (Asst. TD)
  • Mark Nalbach (Comp. Dir.)   
  • Hill Condition: Excellent
  • Temperature: 23 Degrees F.   
  • Wind: NNW at 8 mph
  • Dist to K: 52 m.
  • 2.8 points per meter

Masters-I   (Ages 30-39)



  Bib  Jumper name       Home/Club

  no.   Dist. Dist.    Judges Pts.  Total   Jump   Final

        (m)    Pts   J-1  J-2  J-3  style   total  score

--------------------------------------------------------

1  93  Wladyslaw Kwak     Norge

        48.5  50.2   15.0 15.0 14.5  44.5   94.7

        50.0  54.4   14.5 15.0 14.5  44.0   98.4   193.1





Master-II   (Ages 40-49)



  Bib  Jumper name       Home/Club

  no.   Dist. Dist.    Judges Pts.  Total   Jump   Final

        (m)    Pts   J-1  J-2  J-3  style   total  score

--------------------------------------------------------

1  96  Patrick Kruegel  Minneapolis

        41.0  29.2   15.0 14.0 14.0  43.0   72.2

        40.0  26.4   15.0 14.0 14.0  43.0   69.4   141.6



2  94  David Zarling    Minneapolis

        40.0  26.4   14.0 13.5 14.0  41.5   67.9

        41.5  30.6   14.5 14.0 14.5  43.0   73.6   141.5



3  95  Joe Berens       Minneapolis

        40.5  27.8   14.0 13.0 13.5  40.5   68.3

        38.0  20.8   13.0 12.5 13.5  39.0   59.8   128.1



Master-IV   (Ages 60-69)



  Bib  Jumper name       Home/Club

  no.   Dist. Dist.    Judges Pts.  Total   Jump   Final

        (m)    Pts   J-1  J-2  J-3  style   total  score

--------------------------------------------------------

1  98  Tom Ricchio      Iola

        41.0  29.2   15.0 15.0 15.5  45.5   74.7

        41.0  29.2   14.5 14.0 15.0  43.5   72.7   147.4



2  97  Tim Dennison     Wyoming

        38.0  20.8   14.5 14.5 15.0  44.0   64.8

        40.0  26.4   14.5 15.5 15.0  45.0   71.4   136.2

Class IV on 52 meter hill
Tom Ricchio and Tim Denisson
Friends first, competitors second!

 
Master-V   (Ages 70-79)




  Bib  Jumper name       Home/Club

  no.   Dist. Dist.    Judges Pts.  Total   Jump   Final

        (m)    Pts   J-1  J-2  J-3  style   total  score

--------------------------------------------------------

1  99  Don West         Lake Placid

        30.0  -1.6   14.0 12.0 13.0  39.0   37.4

        31.5   2.6   13.0 13.0 13.0  39.0   41.6    79.0

Class V on 52 meter hill
Don West, age 71 and
unopposed on two hills

 

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USA Masters Ski Jumping National Championships

22 Meter Event

 
Judges:
  1. Dale Fredette
  2. Jahn Sandman    
  3. Korey Arneson
Competition Jury:
  • Dale Fredette (TD)
  • Jahn Sandman (Asst. TD)
  • Mark Nalbach (Comp. Dir.)   
  • Hill Condition: Excellent
  • Temperature: 23 Degrees F.   
  • Wind: NNW at 8 mph
  • Dist to K: 22 m.
  • 4.4 points per meter

Master-II   (Ages 40-49)



  Bib  Jumper name       Home/Club

  no.   Dist. Dist.    Judges Pts.  Total   Jump   Final

        (m)    Pts   J-1  J-2  J-3  style   total  score

--------------------------------------------------------

1  95  Joe Berens       Minneapolis

        16.5  35.8   14.0 13.5 14.0  41.5   77.3

        19.5  49.0   14.0 13.5 14.0  41.5   90.5   167.8





Master-III   (Ages 50-59)



  Bib  Jumper name       Home/Club

  no.   Dist. Dist.    Judges Pts.  Total   Jump   Final

        (m)    Pts   J-1  J-2  J-3  style   total  score

--------------------------------------------------------

1  91  John Conley      Rhode Island

        13.0  20.4   13.0 13.0 13.0  39.0   59.4

        14.0  24.8   12.5 13.0 13.0  38.5   63.3   122.7

Class III on 22 meter hill
John Conley of Rhode Island

 
Master-IV   (Ages 60-69)




  Bib  Jumper name       Home/Club

  no.   Dist. Dist.    Judges Pts.  Total   Jump   Final

        (m)    Pts   J-1  J-2  J-3  style   total  score

--------------------------------------------------------

1  98  Tom Ricchio        Iola

        19.0  46.8   15.0 15.5 15.0  45.5   92.3

        19.0  46.8    5.5  5.0  5.5  16.0   62.8   155.1



2  92  Roman Hawryla      Norge

        17.0  38.0   12.0 13.0 13.0  38.0   76.0

        17.5  40.2    4.0  4.5  4.0  12.5   52.7   128.7





Master-V   (Ages 70-79)



  Bib  Jumper name       Home/Club

  no.   Dist. Dist.    Judges Pts.  Total   Jump   Final

        (m)    Pts   J-1  J-2  J-3  style   total  score

--------------------------------------------------------

1  99  Don West         Lake Placid

        13.0  20.4   14.5 14.5 14.5  43.5   63.9

        15.5  31.4   15.0 14.5 14.5  44.0   75.4   139.3



See the next event in Coleraine, MN or the preceding event in Fox River Grove, Illinois.

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