This book is a trip through memory lane, of two brothers, Bob and Tom Remington, who, along with their father, Clarence “Rockin’ Chair” Remington, grew up ski jumping. This recounts ski jumping in Maine, New Hampshire and surrounding areas during the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s, through the eyes of the two brothers. They discuss ski jumping history, including prolific and not so prolific ski jumpers, locations of ski jumps, along with years of recalled stories and important memories.
I believe that history becomes more important to us as we age. My mother recently gave me her writings from many years ago. It told of her childhood, and the times in which she lived were fascinating. My father passed in 1975 at the young age of 51. At 26 years in age, I didn’t realize how much it would have meant many years later to know more about him and his childhood and experiences before my time.
Several years after his passing, Mom told me about his days in skiing. She told of an exceptional four-event skier with an amazing gift in the cross country event. He won races by minutes. He was unbeatable as a racer at Andover High School. He was offered a scholarship by UNH (University of New Hampshire) and was to be the roommate of Ralph Townsend and Ed Styrna. Townsend went on to become a member of the 1948 US Olympic Nordic Combined team, legendary coach at Williams College, and was inducted into the US Ski Hall of Fame in 1975. Ed Styrna, the legendary track coach at UMaine, an outstanding track athlete, received his induction into the Maine Running Hall of Fame in 1999.
When our team traveled to Williams College for their winter carnival in 1972, Ralph Townsend sought me out when he saw my name on the start list. He asked me if I was one of Clarence Remington’s sons. I was not surprised. It happened frequently. “How is Rockin’ Chair?” he asked. I said, “Good,” as always. I didn’t know Dad would live only three more years.
Forty years later, I regret that I didn’t have the foresight to realize that one day I would want to know every little detail associated with his times. How did he get his start in skiing? What did he use for equipment? Who coached him? How did he train? And, of course, each of these questions would lead to many more.
Why didn’t he accept that UNH scholarship? He fell in love, got married, and raised a family. He never looked back. Did he ever regret his decision? If he did, he never showed it.
What you are about to read comes from what my brother and I could remember of our days in ski jumping. After months of pondering, we decided that we wanted to provide a “feeling” for what it was like growing up on skis in Western Maine in the 1950’s, ’60’s, and ’70’s. In so doing, we chose ski jumping for it was a passion-filled sport which is sadly missing from the lives of our youth in the 21st century.
In this day of enthusiasm for extreme winter sports, why isn’t ski jumping part of that culture in the winter wonderland of the state of Maine? Though I am a retired teacher and ski coach at age 66, I have not yet considered working on my ‘bucket list’ but when I do, I know of two items that will be on that list. 1: I hope this book sells millions of copies. All profits of the selling of this book will go to the Ski Museum of Maine. We need to preserve our history. 2: Before I pass I would like to stand beside the outrun of a ski jump in the great state of Maine with many of my ski jumping peers and witness a ski jumping competition. We thank you for your donation to the Ski Museum of Maine and hope you thoroughly enjoy your journey into the past.
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