December 18, 1905: Duluth Ski Club tests Duluth’s first ski jump—in Hunters Park

On this day in Duluth in 1905, John Mangseth and four other members of the new Duluth Ski Club tested their ski jump at Duluth Hill in Hunters Park for the first time. Forty-two Duluthians had answered the call at Duluth’s St. Louis Hotel on November 21, 1905, organizing as the Duluth Ski Club. Its founders consisted almost exclusively of Norwegian immigrants. Mangseth was named the club’s first captain and I. A. Iverson its first president. The club’s bylaws stated that “any white man or woman of good standing over twelve years of age may become a member of the club” and that “no liquor can be served or sold at any of the functions of the club.” An early proposal to limit membership to those of Scandinavian descent was dropped “as a policy which could work to no good end.” For its first ski hill, the club chose a spot in Hunters Park behind Washburn School on St. Andrews Street. Dubbed Duluth Hill, the site promised an approach of three hundred feet with a minimum jump of one hundred feet. Mangseth and four others tested the hill on December 18, 1905, with the captain jumping seventy-five feet. The Ski Club held its first event there on January 7, 1906, and a crowd of three hundred onlookers saw at least one jumper soar ninety-six feet. Later that month the Duluth Ski Club captured several awards at the first annual ski tournament on White River Hill in Ashland, Wisconsin, with assistant captain Olaf Larson tying for first place and Mangseth coming in third. Two other Duluthians finished in the top ten. The next year the club moved to a hill above the Boulevard along Chester Creek. Read a history of the Duluth Ski Club here.

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