For the Love of Skiing : A Visual History

Engen, Alan K.

Illustrated with more than 150 vintage photographs from private and historical collections, For the Love of Skiing tells the story of U.S. ski sports from 1880 to the coming of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Told through the experiences of former Olympic ski coach Alf Engen, we relive the days when ski jumps were constructed of rickety wooden frames, when loop bindings strapped around the skier's boots held his fate, and when records were being broken all the time as ski sports developed from their fledgling roots to more sophisticated tests of courage and skill. The early days of competitive skiing were a time of broken bones and broken records as ski jumpers thrilled crowds across the country, from the East Coast to the upper Midwest to California. Along with a historical review of the major competitions across the United States from the 1930s to the present, For the Love of Skiing relates many of the wildest early ski adventures. Alf and Sverre Engen recall a "barnstorming", or summer jumping competition in Omaha, where snow was sparse and straw and soap had been added to the track to make it slicker. A bale of hay awaited the skiers at the end of the track. Stopping was difficult, and Sverre recalls, "I broke my toe trying to stop, and that toe still hurts on occasion to this day". Those were the barnstormer days, "when men were men, and most were crazy as hell".

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