Hall of Fame Class of 1968
Selden J. Hannah was a North American ski great with championships won in Nordic and alpine competitions of the NSA, Canadian Amateur Ski Association, Intercollegiate Ski Union and USSA during a continuing 50-year ski career.
Selden Hannah was born on November 1, 1913 in Berlin, New Hampshire. Sel, as he was better known, started to ski when he was four years old. He entered his first competition in 1926, a ski jumping tournament, and won first place in Class “C”.
Hannah was a true four-event skier. He raced in the first National Downhill at Mooselauke in 1933 (finishing 5th) before going to college. Sel attended Dartmouth College where he ran four-events for 4 varsity years. He was captain of the Dartmouth team in 1935, the year he graduated. Sel went to attend McGill University in Montreal, Canada in 1936 where he skied on the McGill University Varsity Team in four events. He was the Intercollegiate Cross-country Champion in 1936 and Nordic Combined Champion of the Province of Quebec the same year.
A member of the United States Nordic Combined Team, Sel represented the United States on the F.I.S. in 1940. He was the Eastern Downhill Champion in 1941 and 2nd in the combined that year.
In 1942 he joined the army where he instructed paratroops in Alta, Utah. After the war, Sel returned to Franconia where he coached at Dartmouth College.
Sel Hannah was a “skier’s skier”. He skied more than 250 mountains throughout North America. He designed and built ski areas and eventually founded Sno-Engineering in 1958.
Hannah was the president of the Franconia Ski Club for several years, always taking an active part in putting on races. At the National Ski Association Nationals in 1946 and the Junior Nationals in 1956, Sel set courses for both Nordic and alpine events and officiated at the meets. He also helped every year at the Dartmouth Winter Carnival.
Sel and his family ran the Ski Hearth Ski Lodge in Franconia. He and his wife, Paulie, had four children: two daughters and two sons. Perhaps Joan Hannah, a member of the United States Ski Team and an Honored Member of the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame is best known but the whole family was excellent skiers. Although his wife did not take up skiing until after the birth of their youngest child, she progressed rapidly and was the Eastern Giant Slalom champion in 1949. Later she was stricken with polio which left her in a wheelchair but failed to dampen her enthusiasm. She remained an active partner, running the family farm in Franconia and raising money for the USSA from her office.
Sel Hannah was elected to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1968.
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