Hall of Fame Class of 1970
John Wictorin was the founder and past President of the Swedish Ski Club of New York, one of the oldest ski clubs in the United States Eastern Amateur Ski Association.
John Wictorin was born near Stockholm, Sweden in 1907 and immigrated to the United States in 1927. Wictorin was a nordic athlete and almost from the day he arrived here began to win cross-country ski races on the East Coast.
Students of ski history covering the past forty-three years will recognize beyond any doubt that Joh Wictorin contributed greatly to the advancement of skiing in North America and was numbered among the sport’s most popular and hard-working figures. This was particularly true of the nordic phase in which he first was a championship competitor, then becoming a competition judge and a top expert in cross-country skiing.
John Wictorin’s ski interest spanned the continent whether it was Bear Mountain Palisades Interstate Park (where as a newly arrived Swedish ski athlete he won the New York State Cross Country Championship on March 6, 1927) or in succeeding winters at Berlin, New Hampshire; Laconia-Gilford, New Hampshire; the Dartmouth Winter carnival in Hanover, New Hampshire; in Fox River and Cary, Illinois; Snoqualmie Pass and Wenatchee in Washington; Steamboat Springs in Colorado and Eastern Canada’s touring trails. Wictorin was always present to serve as a tournament official and to advise the competitors (new and experienced) on the proper style for jumping or the technique necessary for a winning cross-country performance. Best known as “Mr. Swix”, he was a ski waxing expert, internationally acclaimed.
John Wictorin was a founder and past president of the Swedish Ski Club of New York City, one of the oldest clubs of the United States Eastern Amateur Ski Association. Associates have recalled that he was “a bulwark of strength, cooperation and ever-ready willingness” as club president during the two conventions of the National Ski Association held in New York City, the first in the early 1940’s and the second in 1954. Much to the nation’s cross-country skiing renaissance can be attributed to John Wictorin’s support of the Ski Touring Council organized in 1962. He converted his Swedish cross-country experience into simple ski touring techniques, helped coordinate ski touring clinics during which he unraveled the mysteries of waxing and demonstrated the simplicity of touring equipment.
Wictorin also sponsored the first Ski Touring Bulletin, a small pamphlet. It told a story to thousands of past, present and would-be skiers of the delights of snowy woods and emphasized that ski touring in New York State could not have been accomplished without John Wictorin’s cooperation in laying out ski trails in the Palisades, Harriman State Parks and the Ward-Poundridge Reservation along with his introducing of the sport at Bear Mountain.
John Wictorin died suddenly in Stockholm on June 25, 1969 and was buried in his birthplace of Ludvika. Survivors include his lifetime skiing partner, Lillian, and two skiing daughters. He will be remembered best as an ever-smiling figure weighed down with the ski wax and slalom flags which he contributed to the success of many ski tournaments. All who knew him will agree that he gave himself to skiing – it was his life and the ski sport of the world has been improved by his all too brief journey through it.
John Wictorin was elected to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1970.
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