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Carl Holmstrom

Hall of Fame Class of 1973

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Information submitted in a nomination letter to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame by the committee historian.

Carl Holmstrom was listed among the finer international ski jumping judges and devoted fifty years to skiing: 25 years as a competitor and 25 years as an official.

Carl Holmstrom was born in Boras, Sweden on June 12, 1910 and immigrated to the United States in 1914, settling with his parents in Duluth, Minnesota. He became a citizen of the United States as a minor in 1919 when his father became naturalized. During the 1971-72 Winter Sports Season Carl Holmstrom became recipient of a salute fired by the Duluth Ski Club. This recognized Carl’s 50 years of participation in affairs of the United States Ski Association – 25 years of competition and 25 years of service. Carl’s like for skiing started very early in life and at the age of seven he was using one ski (as his parents couldn’t afford two) and he was sliding down the many hills of Duluth. Then and for many years to come he was interested in many other sports as well – such as ice hockey, high jumping and running. His first entry into organized skiing and ski jumping was during the winter of 1922 in Duluth.

Up to and including 1927, Carl competed in boys’ classes, winning numerous first places and establishing several hill records. These included the Northwest Boys’ Jumping Championship of 1924 at Minneapolis, Minnesota and a hill record as well as a win of the Duluth City Championship that same winter. In 1925 he set a hill record and won the boys’ class at Ely, Minnesota and as a junior he rode hills at Coleraine, Virginia and Chisholm – all in Minnesota and all affiliated with the old Arrowhead Division of the National Ski Association.

In 1928 Carl advanced to Class “B” competition and captured the divisional championship at Duluth. Then as a Class “A” rider, Carl went on to win the 1929 Championship of the Arrowhead Division during the annual tourney at Duluth. He did this while a Duluth High School student, also entering and placing second at the National Intercollegiate Jumping Championships of 1929 at Brattleboro, Vermont.

During the summer of 1929 Carl left Duluth and became associated with the Bear Mountain Sports Association. At Bear Mountain, New York he represented the club as a Class “A” rider and continued through the winter of 1946. While at Bear Mountain he was named to the 1932 Olympic Jumping Team, participating as an alternate at Lake Placid. While his rides at Placid’s Intervales Olympic Jump were scored as “exhibitions” because of alternate entry, his second ride was good for 62 ½ meters and among 16 flights that day which exceeded the old hill record of 61 meters.

In 1935 Carl tried out for the 1936 Olympic Team, his showing at Utah’s Ecker Hill good for selection to the squad. Due to financial conditions, however, he was unable to make the trip to Europe.

During his 17 years as a Bear Mountain entrant, Carl’s competitive record was outstanding and even included entry in such pioneering alpine events as the 1933 National Downhill at Warren, New Hampshire and the first downhill at Whiteface at Lake Placid in 1939. His jumping highlights included: a 173 foot hill record in 1934 at Norfolk, Connecticut, winning the Middle Atlantic Championship Jumping at Fishkill, New York in 1935 with Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt in attendance, first places at Bear Mountain in 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934 and 1935, placing third in 1937 behind world-famous Norwegians Sigmund Ruud and Sverre Kolterud during the Eastern Divisional Championships at Laconia, New Hampshire, winning two Class “A” special events at Lake Placid (1933 and 1936), instituting the triple jump in the Eastern Division at Bear Mountain in 1934 and successfully completing it on the 70-meter hill in 1936 at Lake Placid along with Kenneth Kempe and Hans Strand. Carl was also twice runner up in National Ski Jumping Championships, placing fourth in 1933 at Chicago and repeating in 1934 at Salisbury, Connecticut.

Carl was active in officiating in both ski jumping and the classic combined competitions – a role begun in minor fashion in 1936 following an injury during an Eastern tourney. In 1960 he was elected president of the Central Ski Officials Association, serving two years. In 1962 he was elected secretary-treasurer of the Central Officials Association and was re-elected four times. He officiated at many Olympic Ski Team tryouts as well as national championships and international events, including the first F.I.S. sanctioned ski flying competition at Ironwood, Michigan in 1969.

Carl became an honorary life member of the Duluth Ski Club in 1933. In 1972 he completed 50 consecutive years within United States amateur skiing – twenty-five years in competition and twenty-five years in service.

Carl Holmstrom was elected to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1973.

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