6.1 anders haugen s 1924 chamonix coat dufmki

On the morning of February 28, 1920, a Hollywood cameraman and hundreds of spectators shivered in foot-deep powder at the base of an enormous jump that once towered over the now-submerged town of Old Dillon. The spectacle for which they had paid a dollar admission: a local skier named Anders Haugen, who vowed to reprise the world record he had set there a year earlier after the jump’s dedication, which few had witnessed. On his first try, Haugen, a native of Telemark, Norway, soared 214 feet, besting his previous record by a foot. Four years later, as captain of the US Ski Team, Haugen just missed a podium spot as a ski jumper at the first Winter Olympics in Chamonix, losing to Norwegian Thorleif Haug. Retiring from competition, Haugen left Summit County to coach juniors at the Lake Tahoe Ski Club, satisfied with his fourth place in ski history. Until the 50th reunion of the 1924 Norwegian Olympic Team, when a sports historian recalculated scores from the first Games, and discovered that Haugen, not Haug, had placed third. On September 12, 1974, Haugen traveled to Norway, where he claimed the bronze from Haug’s daughter, and became the first American Winter Olympian, at age 86. Haugen died in 1984, but if you drive to Vail, you can see the cape he wore at the first Winter Games (pictured above) hanging in the exhibit hall of the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum. And closer to home, if you drive along Dillon Dam Road to the reservoir’s spillway and look up above the overhanging rocks, you can still see the in-cut of the long-demolished Haugen Hill, where history was made. 


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