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Hans Strand

Hall of Fame Class of 1975

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Information submitted in a nomination letter to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame by J.H. (Red) Carruthers, Member of Ski Hall Committee, Garnerville, NY.

Hans Strand’s trophy room was impressively filled with trophies, medals and countless photos of his ski era, many of them showing him with jumping friends and companions. Included among them are Kyrre and his brother, Torger Tokle.

Hans Strand was born in Melbu, Norway in 1905 and at the age of ten he won his first jumping tournament in Norway. In 1925 he immigrated to the United States.

As a Class “B” jumper, Strand completely outstripped all the Class ”A” competitors at a meet held at Racine, Wisconsin in 1928. He established a hill record at the time.

Hans bounced from job to job over the next five years before settling to work at the inn at Bear Mountain State Park, New York where he remained until his retirement in 1973.

It was only logical that he should join the Bear Mountain Sports Association, collecting memories of jump meets in Racine, Oconomowoc and Westby, Wisconsin; Ogdon Dunes, Indiana; Fox River Grove, Illinois and Red Wing, Duluth and Minneapolis, Minnesota. During the mid-thirties and early forties, Strand was no stranger to Lake Placid, New York; Berlin, New Hampshire; Brattleboro, Vermont; Salisbury Mills and Rosendale, New York and of course his beloved Bear Mountain.

During the bleak weekends of the Great Depression years Strand and two friends perfected the “triple jump” which wowed spectators. Strand would take the lead point in an inverted V at the top of the in-run. Stretching both arms back, he would hold the hands of Carl Holmstrom on his right and Nick Nylund on his left. All together they would start down the 50-meter jump and take off simultaneously with impeccable precision and timing. Dorothy Graves, an intrepid woman jumper from Lake Placid, was so excited that she asked to join in. Strand thought highly enough of her ability to let her take the lead with Kenneth Suhl holding her outstretched left arm and Strand her right.

During the dark days of WWII, Strand was among those who pleaded successfully for the State Park to keep ski jumping on its agenda. Many other Eastern jump hills could not stay open either because of gas rationing or lack of funds. Those who were forced to close included Salisbury Mills, Rosendale and White Plains in New York and Green Hill in Massachusetts.

In 1942 when Strand won the Senior Men’s Jumping Championship on the formidable hill in Berlin, New Hampshire, it was a most memorable day for him. The following year he captured both the Eastern and New York Stat’s Veterans Championships.

Strands contributions to skiing embraced other areas as well. During the nearly snowless winter of 1950, the F.I.S. Championships were held in Lake Placid. One of the warm up jump meets was scheduled for Salisbury, Connecticut which was suffering from a lack of snow. The industrious inhabitants of Salisbury covered the hill with chipped ice and the meet took place as scheduled.

Taking note of the innovation, Strand was able to convince the officials at Bear Mountain State Park to buy 120 tons of chipped ice that winter in order to guarantee its jump schedule. One of the arguments adduced was to enable the New York City press, as well as jumpers and spectators who had to travel long distances, to depend on a meet, snow or no snow.

A day comes invariably when the muscles fail to respond. Strand had no regrets in his golden years. He could look back on having qualified in tryouts for the 1932 Olympics, only to be sidelined by an injury. He could also take pride in the early training he provided to Alf Vincelette of nearby Highland Falls, New York who did make the U.S. F.I.S. and Olympic teams.

Hans Strand was elected to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1975.

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