Tomorrow is the 83rd anniversary of the first public ski tournament at the Rochester ski jump. The Hall Brothers of the Detroit Ski Club built the 112-foot steel slide on the brow of Newberry Hill, adjacent to Bloomer State Park. Newspaper accounts of the time said that the combined height of the ski jump and the hill upon which it stood was approximately 230 feet. Construction of the ski jump was barely finished in time for the first scheduled competition on February 1, 1926. The Rochester Clarion reported that between seven and eight thousand tickets were sold to the event, and estimated that an equal number of spectators viewed the tournament from adjacent hilltops.
Sloppy weather on the day of the event shortened the jump distances, and Norwegian-born Anders Haugen, representing a Chicago ski club, won the event with an 85-foot jump. An interesting aside is that Haugen had served as the captain of the U.S. ski team at the first-ever Winter Olympic games which were held in France in 1924. Haugen did not medal in Olympic competition that year - or so he thought. It was not until 50 years later, in 1974, that a historian discovered a mathematical error in the Olympic scores which meant that Haugen had actually placed third and won a bronze medal. He was subsequently awarded the medal he had earned a half-century earlier. (You can read about Haugen's overdue Olympic medal in this New York Times article.)