Hall of Fame Class of 1964
Rolf Monsen was a most personable individual. He was a top nordic skier in the United States during the 1930’s, was a three time Olympian and he contributed substantially to its development.
Rolf Monsen was born in Oslo, Norway on January 8, 1899. He immigrated to the United States in 1921 and became an American citizen in 1927. He was a member of the Sugar Bowl Ski Club, an affiliate of the Far West Ski Association.
He was exposed to skiing almost before he could stand, as were most Norwegian youngsters, and became an outstanding jumper and cross-country skier.
He won the Canadian nordic combined in 1922 and 1923 and won the Quebec jumping title in 1923 as well as the U.S. Eastern nordic combined. He won the Quebec combined in both 1924 and 1925. In 1927 Monsen won the Vermont State Championships in jumping, cross-country and combined. He also won the Lake placid invitational and all competitions in which he was entered during the season. He was awarded the Beck Trophy for the combined.
Monsen was a member of three U.S. Olympic Teams in 1928, 1932 and 1936. In 1928 (in Moritz, Switzerland) he placed sixth in the special jumping – the best performance by an American. In 1932 (in Lake Placid, New York) he came in ninth in the nordic combined – the best ever by an American. Although an injury prevented his competing in the 1936 Olympic Games (in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany) he was given the honor of carrying the flag in the opening ceremonies.
Monsen competed across North America between 1922 and 1937 when he retired as an athlete. In 1938 he acquired a national and international certificate to judge ski jumping competitions in the United States, Canada and Europe.
In 1940, Rolf Monsen was hired by the United States War Department to help train the 10th Mountain’s ski troops for mountain warfare during World War II.
After the war, Monsen settled in California where he remained an active skier supporter of the Olympic ideals. Both his ideals and backing of skiing in California helped to foster the sport in the west.
For his contributions as an athlete and ski sport builder, Rolf Monsen was elected to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1964.
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