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Skiers Compete in Crater Lake Wilderness Race

For 11 years, skiers participated in the Crater Lake Wilderness Race.  Twenty-four competed in the first, 42.6-mile course in 1927 that followed the Crater Lake highway from Fort Klamath to Crater Lake Lodge and back with a 2,200-foot elevation change.

Contestants in that first race could use any style, make, pattern or length of ski other than metal ones.

Manfred Jacobson of McCloud, Calif., and Swedish Army Capt. Waldemar Nordquist arrived at the halfway point at the same time.  On the return downhill trip, Jacobson lost a ski and Nordquist lost a ski stick, with the lead changing as they stopped to retrieve their lost equipment.  Jacobson eventually crossed the finish line first in a time of 7 hours, 34 minutes. He received a $250 prize, and Nordquist arrived 21 minutes later for second place and a $100 prize.

By 1929, winners received “The Klamath Cup,” a solid-silver, 38-inch-high trophy trimmed in gold.  After two victories, they could keep the cup.

By 1931 only four skiers entered the strenuous feat of endurance. The length was shortened several times and by the final race in 1938 it was only one mile in length.

Sources:  Lund, John. "History of the Crater Lake Wilderness Ski Race Vol. 28, 1997." Nature Notes from Crater Lake, Crater Lake Institute, 1997, www.craterlakeinstitute.com/online-library/nature-notes/vol2. Accessed 29 Dec. 2016; La Plante, Margaret. Images of America Crater Lake National Park. Charleston, SC, Arcadia Publishing, 2013, pp. 109-10.

Luana (Loffer) Corbin graduated from Southern Oregon College, majoring in Elementary Education.  The summer after graduation she was hired to teach at Ruch Elementary, where she taught for 32 years. After retiring, Corbin worked for Lifetouch School Photography and then returned to Ruch as an aide helping with reading instruction and at the library.  More recently, she has volunteered at South Medford High.