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Kjell Bakke - Personal Communication

Phone conversation, 12 September 2001
by Lowell Skoog
[Corrections by Kjell Bakke, written communication, March 2003]

I had a short conversation with Kjell. His father was Magnus Bakke and his uncle was Hermod Bakke, both pioneer Leavenworth ski jumpers. Kjell's parents came to the U.S. from Norway in 1923. His parents and uncle Hermod came to Leavenworth from North Dakota in 1930. Hermod Bakke jumped on the big hill at Leavenworth until he was 59, in 1961.

Kjell said that local skiers built a jump at Leavenworth in 1928 and began holding tournaments in 1929. In 1933 they built the big hill at its current site. The national distance record was set at Leavenworth several times in the 1950s and 60s. The big jump fell down in 1957 and was replaced with a somewhat larger one. (The current distance record is 345 feet.) Cross country ski racing also began at Leavenworth in the late 1920s.

Kjell couldn't tell me much about backcountry skiing in the area, but he recalled that his father used to ski up Icicle Creek as far as Chatter Creek (about 20 miles) during the winter in the late 1930s and 40s. He would spend a few days shoveling snow off buildings to prevent them from collapsing. In the 1940s and 50s, Magnus also skied up the Chiwawa River to the Trinity Mine to shovel off buildings there. Kjell also recalled accompanying his father on skis up Nason Ridge to check trap lines in the early 1940s.

Kjell suggested JoAnn Roe's book on Stevens Pass for information on the area. He also suggested checking with the Ancient Skiers for members who did backcountry pioneering.

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Last Updated: Sat Jan 15 17:48:54 PST 2005