A Blast from the Past
From the Plattsburgh Press Republican

 
The local Plattsburgh NY newspaper tries to serve the North Country of New York, including Lake Placid, just 50 miles away. One day a week the PR looks back at its sports archives and publishes a collection called "Looking Back" which looks back 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, etc. at sports stories of the week. In late February of 2014, the postings included an item that showed that the PR kept an eye on ski jumping stories and reported on people in Lake Placid. This item was from 1944, 70 years ago!

Devlin was National Champion in 1946 and skied in the Olympic Winter Games in 1952 and 1956. He was the favorite son of Lake Placid and never missed a chance to mention and praise his home town. Art went on to be the color commentator for ski jumping on ABC Wide World of Sports. A bronze statue of Devlin stands at the bottom of the 1980 Olympic Hills in Lake Placid.

In the 1930's and 40's, Ecker Hill in Parley's Canyon was the center of big hill jumping in the Salt Lake City area. This jump is still visible, and is within walking distance of the Park City Olympic jumps (perhaps a long walk). We hope that everybody who goes to the Olympic Jumps also makes a pilgrimage to this historic jumping hill, even if the history is not consistant.

An extensive newspaper clipping posted on pinterest.com and dated Feb 27, 1933 reports on a record jump of 281 feet on Ecker Hill by Alf Engen, though Engen's Obituary in the New York Times suggests that this was done on a practice jump. The report on Ecker Hill in Skisprungschanzen.com, with several pictures of the jump, says that Engen set world distance records there, but the list of world records on Wikipedia lists no records set on Ecker Hill, not even discredited records.

Until a few years ago, the U.S. Ski Hall of Fame and Museum in Ishpeming, MI offered for sale a short video called Ski Gulls, made about 1943, which showed a select group of jumpers in action on Ecker Hill. Unfortunately this video is no longer listed on the Ski Museum web page. We suspect that this film recorded the very last jumps of Torger Tokle before his death in the Italian campaign as he served in the Tenth Mountain Division.


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