Nansen ski jump restoration project
The property was listed to the National Register of Historic Places for its architecture and role in the history of U.S. ski jumping. Nansen Ski Club is awarded $250,000 from the Northern Border Regional Commission to aid in the revitalization of the ski jump. This money, with matching funds from Moose Plate and private donations, will re-profile the landing hill to meet modern ski jumping standards, install safety deflection boards, and construct a new sanctioned judge’s stand.
Nansen Ski Jump National Register Form
March 4, 2017
2013 Women’s Ski Jumping World Champion, Sarah Hendrickson, successfully completes the first ski jump at the Big Nansen since 1985.
The Bureau of Historic Sites will partner again with the SCA NH Corps to continue rebuilding the hillside staircase and clear more brush around the jump.
Work will continue on grading and restoring the landscape around the jump. Plans are also in the works to install a split rail fence and restore the judge’s booth next to the jump.
Knollstone Contracting LLC was selected to do the work of re-decking the jump. As of January 2017, the process of re-decking the ski jump has been completed.
The NH Bureau of Historic Sites partnered with the SCA NH Corps to clear brush on the landing and begin rebuilding the hillside staircase which leads up to the jump.
AD Excavating Construction was also hired to bring in a crane so that a structural assessment could be done on the steel frame. The company was also contracted to install a parking area at the top, next to the jump, and do further landscape clearing around the jump as well clean up the grade at the bottom of the landing.
After the initial cut, the site was reassessed and the decision was made to open up more of the area around the jump in order to fully restore the landscape. Kel Log Inc. continued to expand the area around the jump and expose the terraced seating area below the landing.
Bids were requested for a timber sale for the property around Nansen Ski Jump. A bid was accepted from Mike Kelley of Kel Log Inc and the company started clearing the area around the jump, side of the hill, landing and run out.
When it was constructed in 1936 the Nansen Ski Jump was the largest ski tower in the world. The jump attracted some of the biggest names in ski jumping to the state’s North Country for decades. It was the site of 1938 US Olympic trials, World Cup competitions and four national championships.
Located on Route 16 between Berlin and Milan, the jump is a monument to the region’s rich cultural heritage. Scandinavians who came to the area to work for paper mills brought their dedication to skiing and formed the Nansen Ski Club in 1882 (the oldest continuously operating ski club in the country). This club was instrumental in the creation of the “Big Nansen” jump that still stands today.
Construction of the Nansen Ski Jump was the result of cooperation between the Nansen Ski Club which offered technical and supervisory aid, the National Youth Administration which furnished the labor on the project and the City of Berlin which financed the erection of the tower.
The last jumper flew off it in 1985 and the ski jump officially closed in 1988. Over the past few decades, the site of the jump became overgrown and fell into a state of disrepair. Trees and brush grew in around the jump, landing and judge’s booth, obscuring views of the site from route 16 and discouraging public access. While the steel frame is still in good condition the boards on the runway had started to rot away along with the hillside staircase leading to the jump.
In 2014, local interest in cleaning up this site resulted in the creation of the ‘Friends of Nansen Ski Jump’ group. Based on the dedication of this group along with a commitment from the NH Bureau of Historic Sites, plans were made to restore the landscape around the Nansen Ski Jump and transform the property into an accessible historic site with picnic areas and interpretive panels so that visitors can learn more about the history of the jump and the impact it had on the world of skiing.