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Hannah Locke Carter

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 Patricia Peterson with Historian, Bill Berry.

In the mid-1930s along with other alpine skiers of the times, Hannah Locke captured the Europeans’ fancy when American women were heralded as “Red Stockings in the Alps”.

Hannah Locke was born in Morristown, New Jersey in 1914 and grew up in Philadelphia. Her family spent many winter weekends at the Lake Placid Club in the Adirondacks and she had dreams of becoming a figure skater. Roland Palmedo of the Amateur Ski Club of New York felt that since she skated well Hannah would be able to help the 1936 U.S. Women’s Olympic Ski Team. So Hannah Locke is probably the only person named to an Olympic Team without so much as a hint of a race record.

Hannah accumulated quite a few medals during her competitive career. She wears a Silver Pin for the Parsenn Derby, her name is indelibly inscribed with top-ranked placings in Europe’s most famed ski races and once in an Arlberg Kandahar at Murren, Switzerland, she had the second best time of a slalom run against the then world champion.

Team manager, Alice Damrosch Wolfe, in “Red Stockings” for the 1936-37 American Ski Annual reported: “Hannah Locke, Grace Carter, Clarita Heath, all young, will go far with their courage and racing flair.” It had been an outstanding season for the American women, many elected to the Kandahar Club.

The Kandahar of 1937 was the beginning of American success: three out of four girls in the top ten – Marian McKean fourth, Clarita Heath seventh and Hannah Locke tenth. The American girls also placed well in many other races throughout Europe. Toward the end of the season Hannah, along with Clarita Heath, Marian McKean and Betty Woolsey, won ski teacher certification during the Austrian Ski Instructor’s examinations held at St. Christoph in the Arlberg – the first American women to be so recognized.

In 1938 the European ski racing news was dominated by two Germans – World Champion Christi Cranz and Nazi Dictator Adolf Hitler. Christi won just about every women’s competition – excepting the Arlberg Kandahar cancelled out by “Anschluss” in Austria. Hitler’s minions had moved in to arrest Hannes Schneider, then president of the Arlberg Ski Club and the world’s leading alpine ski personality. The Americans, Hannah included, joined the British and Swiss skiers in a walkout. It was agreed that if the Kandahar was to be held, let it be purely a Nazi affair minus representation from the ski-minded countries of the world.

Nevertheless, American women skiers in 1939 aimed toward the war-clouded 1940 Olympics in Finland and the F.I.S. scheduled for Norway. Many trained at Sun Valley, including Hannah, with major competitions for the National Alpine Tourney and Olympic Tryouts at the Tom, Dick and Harry Ski Bowl in Mt. Hood, Washington and the climatic Harriman Cup races at Sun Valley’s Mt. Baldy. Hannah placed second in combined scoring.

Named with Hannah to the 1940 Olympic Team were Betty Woolsey, Marian McKean, Grace Carter Lindley and Margaret Jennings. America’s newly-named Olympians then converged on Sun Valley to race for honors in the Harriman Cup. Here Hannah placed fifth in combined scoring. Ahead lay the Olympics and F.I.S. World Championships of 1940 – but they were not to be.

Ski champions do not pass into oblivion as can be noted by Hannah’s success in old-timer races at Sun Valley. She married Edward Carter who was president of Broadway-Hale, a regent of the University of California at Los Angeles and a founder pf the Los Angeles Art Museum. Hannah was co-chairman with Olympic Gold Medalist, Andrea Mead Lawrence, of Los Angeles Ski Ball and was happy and proud to still be part of “the best sport in the world”.

Hannah Locke Carter was elected to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1973.

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