Historic Photo Stories from the Jeanne Rodger Lane Center for Regional History
By Olivia Terry
When Sun Valley first opened its doors to the world in 1936, W. Averell Harriman recognized the need for a ski jumping hill in order for the resort to offer Four-Way Competitions.
Under Harriman’s direction, Norwegian born Alf Engen and Sigmund Ruud located Ruud Mountain. The mountain would become the resort’s center for ski jumping, where jumpers from around the world would compete on the mountain’s jump for prestigious competitions, like the Annual Harriman Cup Tournament. Jumpers flew into the air where they were judged on both distance and form.
This image, from the Union Pacific Collection, shows Engen, Nils Eie, and Birger Ruud in good form, jumping on Ruud Mountain during the Sun Valley International Open, circa 1938.
Engen became known as the United State’s best ski jumper and spent many years at Sun Valley. In 1937, he became the Sports Consultant and Superintendent of Recreational Facilities at the resort, and directed and competed in skiing competitions until 1948. He also coached the 1948 U.S. Olympic Ski Team with co-coach Walter Prager.
Come see The Regional History Museum’s latest exhibit in collaboration with John Lundin, Skiers in Flight: Ski Jumping Roots in Sun Valley to learn more about Sun Valley’s rich history of ski jumping. Visit the museum in Forest Service Park during open hours, Wednesday thru Saturday, 1-5pm.