Howelsen's Norge Ski Club is 100

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In 1905, 28 Norwegian men living in Chicago commissioned one person to find a possible location to erect ski jumps for a new ski club.

That was the beginning of the Norge Ski Club in Fox River Grove, Ill., and the beginning of Carl Howelsen's contribution to ski jumping in the United States, according to former Norge Ski Club president Bart Lockhart and "The History of Skiing at Steamboat Springs."

The Norge Ski Club, one of the country's oldest ski clubs, celebrated its 100th anniversary Saturday and Sunday on the same site the club was founded a century ago.

Billy Kidd, Steamboat Ski Area's director of skiing, was on hand, as was Leif Howelsen, the son of Steamboat ski area namesake Carl Howelsen, who flew in from Oslo, Norway.

"It was fabulous," said Lockhart, a former Steamboat resident. "We had somewhere around 5,000 people there and had a huge fireworks show. Billy Kidd co-hosted a banquet commemorating our 100th anniversary."

In conjunction with the anniversary celebration, four ski jumping contests were held, including a Junior Olympic qualifier and a Super Tour competition. Kyle Lockhart, Bart's 17-year-old son, set a new hill record of 78.5 meters on the K-70 hill during the weekend.

"We had 56 degrees two days before the event, and the entire landing hill avalanched," Bart Lockhart said. "A crew of about six re-snowed all five of the ski jumps in 72 hours."

The hard work was worth it.

"We had 170 skiers total," Lockhart said. "We had a really good turnout."

Carl Howelsen helped found the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, which has produced dozens of Olympic skiers. He also helped create the Winter Carnival, which will celebrate its 92nd year next month. Howelsen has been called "The Father of Skiing in Colorado," according to "The History of Skiing at Steamboat Springs."

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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