Henry Christain Hall - Sport Builder - 2006


Hall
A truly unique chapter in Colorado’s rich skiing history belongs to one of America’s first great ski jumpers, Henry Christian Hall. He was born to Norwegian immigrants in Ishpeming, Michigan, coincidentally at the time the National Ski Association was organized in the same town. Along with his five brothers, he was introduced to the sport at an early age, using skis made from barrel staves. Henry was dedicated to becoming a serious competitor and trained diligently. He set the Ironwood Hill record at age 17 and won many other amateur records. In 1913, he captured the World Amateur record and the National Amateur record the following year.   In 1916, Henry joined the Steamboat Ski Club. In Steamboat Springs in 1917, Henry became the first person to break the 200 foot ski jumping barrier, a goal sought by jumpers everywhere. Off of the famed Howelsen Hill ski jump in Steamboat Springs, he soared over 203 feet and set a new world record, becoming the first American-born skier ever to break a world record. Church bells rang and he was carried through town on the shoulders of citizens and fellow jumpers carrying the American flag. It was a banner day for American skiing history, as one of our own burst onto the international skiing scene. In 1918 Henry answered the call to duty, serving his country during World War I. After putting his record breaking jumping career on hold for three years, in 1921 he returned to competition representing the Denver Rocky Mountain Ski Club. Henry immediately reclaimed the World Jumping record with a distance of 229.5 feet at Revelstoke, British Colombia. The record held for many years.  In 1923, prior to the first Olympic Ski Team, Henry started building ski jumps of record heights and he organized National Ski Association sanctioned tournaments at three locations in Michigan until 1936 when he suffered serious ski injuries. Henry’s enthusiasm for skiing captured the media and he donated his expertise with skiers of all ages and skill levels. He continued jumping on his backyard ski jump until his final jump in 1972 at the age of 79. At the age of 92, he was honored to ski the landing at the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Carnival. Henry’s passion for ski jumping and his history-making career was honored with induction into the National Ski Hall of Fame in 1967. Henry passed away in 1986. Each year, the “Henry Hall Cup” is awarded as an incentive to an outstanding young ski jumper at the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.  (Deceased)