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American Ski Annual, 1940-41
* Lowell Skoog has a copy of each article marked with an asterisk.

p. 7: Bradley, David, "Twight and Frost" *

This is the story of the last day of a famous ski patrol leader, Martti Uosikkinen, world champion gymnast and Finland's best downhill and slalom runner, killed fighting against the Russian invasion of his country. The story was reconstructed by the author "from a few tracks in the snow." The article vividly describes winter warfare and tactics used by Finnish ski troops to combat vastly greater numbers of Russian soldiers and tanks. The author writes: "[Martti] would never forget coming to New York... America was big, boyish, not too sophisticated. And how lucky! Only they did not know it, had no idea how lucky to be out of Europe. And on the whole, Martti decided he was glad he was a Finn, for what's the use of being lucky if you don't know it."

p. 38: McNeil, Fred H., "The Death of Sigurd Hall" *

Sigurd Hall was the top downhill racer in the Northwest in 1939-40. Among amateurs of the nation, he must be rated fifth or sixth. Hall was 33 years old at the time of his death. The author writes: "It was quite evident to friends of Sig Hall that he believed 1939-40 was his year of destiny in skiing." Three months earlier, he gave up his job in the city to concentrate on training and competition. He won the downhill event at the Four-Way Nationals at Mt Baker and finished third overall behind Alf and Sverre Engen.

Fog covered portions of the Silver Skis course on April 13, but other parts of the course were clear. Hall was going "full out" through thick mist when he crashed into a low wedge of rocks. Paul Gilbreath of the Washington Ski club won the race. Toni Matt, running before Hall, also went off course, but was able to recover. Of Hall's crash, the author writes:

"Hall's speed was so high, it was related, that he had no chance to turn when he saw his danger. That he did see it was apparent for, just before the impact, he made an effort to veer.

"On the upper side of the wedge were several smaller rocks protruding through the snow; just a few inches, perhaps. Hall's skis hit these and shattered. A few feet further he hurtled, head first, into the hump, his body striking with a glancing blow two of the spectators. Such was his speed that he was thrown entirely across this wedge, possibly ten feet wide, and into the snow beyond, stopping 40 feet below. From the point where his skis were shattered to the point where his body stopped, it was nearly 60 feet. One of the spectators who had been trained in first aid hurried to him, but apparently he died instantly.

"A national park ranger testified that measurement had shown the distance from the spot where Hall struck to the nearest point of the race 'groove' was 45 feet."

The author continues:

"Speculation over occurrences like this is endless and in the main inconclusive. Was Hall, in an overpowering determination to win this race, running faster through the fog than good judgment would dictate? Perhaps so, but history abounds with the records of men who have cast caution aside in order to gain victory."

He concludes:

"The sober judgment of people experienced in these races, both as participants and officials, can only be that it simply was a case of the percentage catching up in a hazardous business."

Plates: Photo of Sigurd Hall *

[Filed with Fred McNeil article.]

p. 49: Langley, Roger, "Letters, Reports from Abroad" *

Arnold Lunn, Editor, British Ski Book; Elsa Roth, Secretary, Swiss Ski Association; Alexander Bobkowski, President, Polish Ski Association; and Julius P. Blegen of Norway describe the situation in Europe now that war has broken out. In Switzerland, "since we observed how important skiing was in the Finnish War, and that it would not be much different for us and our army, skiing became very popular." In Norway, competitive skiing events took place as scheduled, and many Finnish benefit tournaments were staged. Norway raised $5 million to help Finland and a goodly part came from organized skiing. Arnold Lunn writes that "the spirit in England has stiffened quite a lot." He reports that morale among civilians is good and among the fighting forces superb. He believes that England will win if the U.S.A. comes into the war and draw if the U.S.A. doesn't. In any case, he expects that the country will have to "stand up to a frightful battering for at least six months."

p. 90: Langley, Roger, "The Downhill Race" *

Following the death of Sigurd Hall, there was considerable discussion by the press, skiers, ski officials and others regarding the downhill race. Three viewpoints emerged: 1) that the downhill race be abolished, 2) that the downhill and slalom be combined into a giant slalom race, resulting in one event instead of two, and 3) that the present downhill and slalom races are satisfactory and that no change is desired. The article includes comments from Don Brooks, Hannes Schroll, Dave Bradley, John R. Peterson, Dick Durrance, G. Bartlett Hendricks, Prof. Harold M. Gore, Don Amick, Hannes Schneider, Douglas M. Burckett, Alexander H. Bright, Roland Palmedo, Dick Tompkins, Charles N. Proctor, Robert Livermore, Jr., and Don Fraser.

Don Brooks writes that two other skiers were injured in the race in which Sigurd Hall died. One fractured his leg. Another, unable to control himself, took a bad spill and slid across the finish line--unconscious. Charles Proctor, who skied with Hall the week before at Mt Hood, said Hall was one of the best sportsment and one of the best liked among the racers in the Northwest. "Knowing Sig as I did, I feel that he would be the last person to want the downhill race eliminated because of his unfortunate accident."

p. 120: Hume, Rita Marrah, "Four-Event National Championships" *

The downhill and slalom events of the National Four-Way championships were held at Mt Baker on March 13 and 14. Dr. Otto Strizek was the course setter. Sigurd Hall finished first in the downhill and third in the slalom to lead Alf Engen in combined points after these two events. The competition moved to Snoqualmie Pass for an eleven-mile cross-country race over a course set by Hans Otto Giese. Alf Engen finished fourth and Hall fifth, giving Engen a slight edge in the standings. The climax was the jumping event held on the giant new hill at Milwaukee Bowl on March 17. This was the first time the hill had been jumped in competition. Alf Engen and Torger Tolkle, the two leading jumpers in the U.S., dueled with Tolkle flying farther but Engen winning on form. Hall finished thirteenth in the jumping.

At the awards banquet, Alf and Sverre Engen, who finished first and second overall, hosted third place finisher Sigurd Hall on their shoulders to the tune of "He's A Jolly Good Fellow." The author writes: "It is a memory that will live long in the minds of his fellow racers, those who knew and liked him best. For just one month later Hall's meteoric and successful ski career came to an abrupt close when he lost his life while participating in the sport he loved."

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