5 Steamboat ski jumpers headed for Hall of Fame

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— The legacy of ski jumping in Steamboat Springs grows this month with the induction of five men with strong ties to Howelsen Hill into the National Ski Jumping Hall of Fame.

Marvin Crawford, Zane Palmer, Jon Elliot, Kris Severson and Crosby Perry-Smith are among 18 who will go into the hall during induction ceremonies in Eau Claire, Wis., on Aug. 18.

Together, the five represent several generations and different eras in American ski jumping.

Born in 1923, Perry-Smith was a reserve member of the U.S. Olympic team that competed in Oslo, Norway, in 1952. He competed as a four-way skier at Western State College in Gunnison and was a national collegiate champion.

His accomplishments included placing 16th in the FIS ski jumping championships in Lake Placid, N.Y., in 1950 and 17th at Falun, Sweden, in 1954. He managed the Howelsen Hill ski area in 1957-58.

Crawford competed as a Nordic combined skier in the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina, Italy, placing 23rd and compiling the best point total by an American to that date.

He was a dominating four-way collegiate skier in the 1950s, competing in both Alpine and Nordic events and winning more first-place medals than any skier before him.

Severson represents a younger generation of Steamboat skiers. The son of a 10th Mountain Division skier, he won Junior Olympics three consecutive years in the 1980s and began competing on the World Cup in 1985, when he was the top American finisher in the World Junior Championships.

Elliot, born in 1941, moved to Steamboat as a 2-year-old and went on to compete in Junior National Championships in both Nordic and Alpine events. He was an alternate member of the ski jumping team for the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, Calif., and a member of the FIS world championships team in 1962.

Palmer was a resident of Winter Park who competed at Howelsen Hill and later mentored many local jumpers, including future Olympic medalist Todd Lodwick. Lodwick was under the tutelage of Palmer at Asiago, Italy, in 1996, when he won the Nordic Combined event at the Junior World Championships.

Palmer was a member of the U.S. Olympic ski jumping team in 1984.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

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