COLERAINE — As Kurt Mangseth stands at the base of the ski jumps in Coleraine, he looks up with pride at the towering 70-meter jump that was named for his grandfather, Ole Mangseth.
He then turned his attention to watch the excitement of the young jumpers on all of the hills starting with the 3-and-4 year-olds on the five meter to the 16 year olds on the big 70 meter. It brought back fond memories of his childhood as a ski jumper.
It started back in 1907 when Ole Mangseth set the American distance record in ski jumping going 114 feet. From there his legendary status continued. Ole went on to be inducted into both the National Ski Hall of Fame in 1967, and the American Ski Jumping Hall of Fame in 2007. He passed his love of ski jumping onto his sons Rolf, Ron and Otto (Kurt’s Dad). Naturally, they continued the family tradition and passed it onto their kids.
Kurt’s passion for the sport and the Itasca Ski and Outing Club remains strong. He is still very actively involved with the club from serving on the board of directors to working on the hills, despite his 70-plus years of age. Understanding the expenses involved in running a ski jump program, and wanting to help keep the enthusiasm he sees in the young kids continue, he hatched a plan.
Kurt built a beautiful wooden canoe and raffled it off to get some money in the coffers for the ski jumpers. To do the drawing for the winner, he held a social gathering at Mt. Itasca to give people a chance to come out and see the wonderfulness that he sees. With the canoe on display, a couple young jumpers, suited up and eager to go jump, did the drawing. Before drawing Cubbie Danielson gave Kurt a big thank you from all of the Junior jumpers and young Lincoln Mackey said, “We love you Kurt!”
The lucky winner was Juan Lazo of Grand Rapids. Kurt ultimately donated $2,700 to the Junior Jump program.
“Thanks again Kurt for your donation, it is people like you that help us to continue to have fun and learn many great lessons through the sport of ski jumping,” said Sue Kavanagh, Junior Jump coordinator for the Itasca Ski and Outing Club.