Hall of Fame Class of 1969
LeMoine Batson had a ski career that started out on hand made skis but led to membership on the United States Olympic Team and the Hall of Fame.
LeMoine Batson was born August 6, 1898 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and lived in the section of town where many Norwegians lived. This was an area of many hills, including Mount Washington where the National Ski Association’s National Jumping Tournament was held in 1910. Too young to participate in this tournament, he viewed it from a tree. From that moment he wanted to be a ski jumper.
LeMoine’s skiing was most difficult in those early days since his mother was very much against it. His father was a logger and away from home during the winter, so couldn’t help him either. His brother-in-law saw LeMoine’s desire to ski and fashioned him his first pair of skis. They were far from perfect but did slide and were very much appreciated and used. By 1914 or 1915 he was able to purchase a pairs of good skis for a dollar.
In 1917 LeMoine began to participate in tournaments. One of his first tournaments was at Menominee, Wisconsin where he won first place in the Boy’s Division. However, this day nearly ended his fledgling career. The extra-long standing jump was run after the tournament and the tracks had become faster. As a result, he over jumped the landing and had a nasty spill. He slept for four days.
At the time Eau Claire’s ski jumping club was non-existent. However there was a rebirth which enabled LeMoine to develop his skills and get support for travel to tournaments. In 1921 he jumped the Norge Hill for the first time. This was a hill Batson liked and did well on. Batson’s skills led him to be chosen for the United States Team that would compete in Chamonix, France in 1924. He also made the 1932 Olympic Team for the Lake Placid Olympics. In 1925 LeMoine went to Lacrosse, Wisconsin to go to college and joined the Westby Ski Club. While skiing for Westby, Batson won the Westby meet by equaling the hill record of 183 feet held by Anders Haugen. He also won in Ishpeming, Michigan.
The Central United States Ski Association was formed in 1926 and Batson acted as temporary chairman until a permanent president was elected. He also served as president of the Central Division in 1939 and 1940 at which time, slalom and downhill clubs were admitted. Under his administration the Central Division initiated ski schools for youngsters.
LeMoine Batson was both an athlete and an administrator. He was a very influential person in the Central Division, instituting training programs and he was instrumental in seeing some of his programs instructed on a national level.
LeMoine Batson was elected to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1969.
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