Carl Tellefsen

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Carl Tellefsen (September 9, 1854 - October 24, 1908) was a Norwegian-American skiing champion and the first leader of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association.[1]


Carl Tellefsen was born in Trondheim, Norway. Tellefsen was active as a ski jumper and was the first leader of the Trondheim Ski Association (Trondheim Skiløberforening) and the Trondheim Ski Club (Trondheim Ski Klub). He emigrated to America in 1887 and settled in Ishpeming, Michigan in March 1888, where he worked at the Ishpeming National Bank.[2]

National Ski Association[edit]

A ski club was organized in Ishpeming on January 24, 1887. In 1888, it adopted the name Nordic Ski Club (Den Nordiske Ski Klub) to reflect its ethnic makeup. American skiing's early history was largely dominated by the Norwegian immigrants. Business during club meetings was mostly transacted in the Norwegian language. As club president, Tellefsen helped revive the Ishpeming Ski Club and built its annual ski-jumping tournament into a major regional event. On January 16, 1891, the first Central Region Ski Jumping Tournament was hosted in Ishpeming. Also in 1891, the club changed its name to the Ishpeming Ski Club and from that date all bylaws and proceedings were conducted in English.[3]

An initial meeting was held by the Ishpeming Ski Club in conjunction with a 1904 regional ski jumping meet. Carl Tellefsen proposed holding a meeting after the 1905 national jumping meet to found a ski association which, among other duties, would oversee jumping tournaments. The National Ski Association, the forerunner of the present-day United States Ski and Snowboard Association, was founded on February 21, 1905 in Ishpeming, Michigan. The association was formally organized during a meeting attended by officers from the Ishpeming, Minneapolis, Red Wing, Minnesota, Stillwater, Minnesota and Eau Claire, Wisconsin ski clubs. As Ishpeming Ski Club leader, Carl Tellefsen was elected founding president of the Association. He served as its president until his death in 1908. The National Ski Association worked to establish rules and organize the sport.[4] [5]

In 1956, Carl Tellefsen was the first person to be accorded Honored Membership in the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame and Museum for his contributions to the sport of skiing.[6]


Other sources[edit]

  • Blegen, Theodore C. Norwegian Migration to America, The American Transition (Norwegian-American Historical Association, 1940)
  • Pontti, John and Kenneth Luostari Midwest Skiing: A Glance Back (Arcadia Publishing, 2000)
  • Boyum, Burt and Jamie LaFreniere The Ishpeming Ski Club: Over a Century of Skiing (US National Ski and Hall of Fame Museum, 2003)

External links[edit]