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The Oregonian
This newspaper is probably available on microfilm at UW.

The Oregonian, Dec 19, 2009 - Keil, Bill, "Ski athlete and innovator, Hvam did it all"

This article was published as a follow-up to a 21 November 2009 Oregonian story about Sylvain Saudan's 1971 ski descent of the Newton Clark Headwall (oregonian-2009-nov-21). That story claimed that Saudan's descent was the first from the summit of Mt Hood, which generated letters to the newspaper describing earlier descents (oregonian-2009-dec-19b).

Hjalmar Hvam was born in Kongsberg, Norway in 1902. He was in his first school ski jumping tournament at age 12. At 20, he and his brother caught a ship to Canada, where they worked on farms and in B.C. logging camps and sawmills. They moved to Portland, Oregon in 1927. A riverside sawmill, Multnomah Lumber and Box, hired Hvam for $4.50 a day. He hadn't skied in seven years when he bought a pair of $7.50 skis at Honeyman Hardware and took them to Multorpor Mountain to jump. Before long he was into downhill and slalom skiing and winning tournaments and races. He was the U.S. National Champion in Nordic combined at Lake Tahoe in 1932. In 1952 he managed the U.S. Nordic ski team at the Oslo Olympics. The article mentions Hvam's development of the first releasable safety binding in 1937 and his work in ski shops. He died in Beaverton in 1996 at age 93.

In the 1930s there was informal competition for the fastest time from the Portland city limits to the top of Mt Hood and back. On April 26, 1931, Hvam teamed up with fellow Cascade Ski Club member Arne Stene and visiting Swiss skier Andre Roch to break the record. According to the author, "At that time, the old Blossom trail was the only 'road' to timberline and, of course, it was still snow-covered."

In the Cascade Ski Club's 1931 yearbook, Hvam wrote that they sidestepped all the way up the final chute. The author writes: "After resting in the lee of the fire lookout cabin, they skied back along the summit ridge to the top of the chute and sidestepped back down that pitch to where they resumed regular turns, occasionally side-slipping for safety. The nearly 1,000-foot steep chute, just west of the Crater Rock saddle, has been the scene of fatal falls."

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Last Updated: Wed Dec 30 16:57:12 PST 2009