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2016-17 Northeast Region — Weather, Stoke, Craic . . . - Page 7

post #181 of 481

A better description.  He was racing against guys like Dick Durrance and his time of 6.29 is basically straight from the top of Mt washington down to the parking area at Pinkham Notch.  He did indeed straightline the headwall and ravine.   

 

 

Toni Matt • 1939 Inferno Race, Mt. Washington, NH Tuckerman Ravine's summit-to-valley Inferno race began in the 1930s. Dick Durrance won the second event with a record time of 12:35 in 1934. The third Inferno was not held until 1939. That race witnessed what is easily the most legendary run ever made in the Western Hemisphere. Austrian Toni Matt, age 19, erred in his calculated turns and made the blunder of skiing straight over the lip of the headwall with a 60 mph wind at his back. Matt skied down the headwall like a rocket sled on rails, shot through the ravine, and on down the mountain. His time of 6:29 slashed the record. For decades, this run was recalled whenever Matt raced, indeed whenever his name was mentioned. Rather than fade from memory, Matt's run is still spoken of in hushed, reverent tones.

 

 

Another description:

The Tuckerman Headwall in 1939, when Toni Matt bombed it.

The Tuckerman Headwall in 1939, when Toni Matt bombed it.

Imagine going 85 miles per hour on a pair of skis. Unless you’re currently racing at the World Cup level, trust me, you have not gone that fast. After searching your life experience for a similar sensation – driving Highway 50 across Nevada or a high speed roller coaster, perhaps – now imagine skiing at 85 miles per hour on a pair of straight, wooden boards, right before World War II.

And that is one reason why Anton (Toni) Matt was a badass.

7-5_CLR_OTH_011Toni Matt (1919-1989) reached his insanely fast speed while straight-lining the infamous Headwall of Tuckerman Ravine, in New Hampshire. It was 1939 and the third running of the American Inferno, a top-to-bottom race of Tuckerman. Matt was a 19-year old ski instructor from Austria, who had never skied the Ravine. On top of that, he could barely see the course.

Winds that day were well over 60 mph, enough to obscure the horizon. Matt’s plan was to turn on the Headwall, then tuck the bottom section of the course. But with snow blustering in the winds, he lost track of where he was. Realizing he was carrying too much speed into the steepest section, he made the split second decision to straight-line the Headwall. He finished the four-mile course in 6:29 minutes, to an astonished crowd. Dick Durrance came in second place – a full 59 seconds slower than Toni.

post #182 of 481
Thread Starter 

Ok. He must have caught air, I guess.

post #183 of 481
Quote:
Originally Posted by lakespapa View Post
 

Ok. He must have caught air, I guess.

 

I couldn't find it, but I remember reading his personal account.  I will look later and post if I can locate it.

post #184 of 481
Quote:
Originally Posted by crank View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lakespapa View Post
 

Ok. He must have caught air, I guess.

 

I couldn't find it, but I remember reading his personal account.  I will look later and post if I can locate it.


Maybe this article from 2014 is what you are thinking of.  Includes quotes from 1989 when Toni Matt attended a New England Ski Museum event.  He died that year.

 

http://newenglandskimuseum.org/remembering-toni-matt-and-the-1939-inferno/

post #185 of 481

Thanks marznc, that must be what I was looking for.

post #186 of 481
Thread Starter 
Same as the first link, seems to me.
post #187 of 481
Quote:
Originally Posted by lakespapa View Post

Same as the first link, seems to me.

You are correct!  I guess neither you or I read far enough into the article to find his somewhat brief account.  It is, however, there.

post #188 of 481
Quote:
Originally Posted by lakespapa View Post

Same as the first link, seems to me.


Wasn't following the discussion.  Noticed the quotes from Toni Matt.

 

In any case, the New England Ski Museum is a really nice place.  I had a chance to check it out a few years ago when I was staying near Loon in early Dec.  Apparently are planning an expansion to another location in North Conway once the fundraising for about $2 million is successful.

 

There is a special exhibit about the 10th Mountain Division at the original Cannon location until mid-April 2017.  Hope to be able to get there before then.

post #189 of 481

I've been there, the Cannon museum, but it has to have been 20 or so years ago.  They probably have my old ski boots on display now. lol

post #190 of 481
Sure it does -- he straightlined over the lip and down the headwall,
"So I schussed on top of the Lip, went over it, and by that time, you’re doing maybe 80 miles an hour and there’s no sense in turning, especially if you can’t turn well. So you say, well, you might as well go straight, you know, and hope for the best. So went straight and hoped for the best.”

“So I went down the Sherburne Trail and I remember there was some S turns down there. Of course, by that time you’re about three and a half miles, you know, and even at 19 you got kind of tired, and there was one turn, the last one of those S turns and you pushed your way out, and I saw this tree coming up and, man, I just made it. I’ve still got bark in my parka."

From Boston.com,
The famous Mount Washington “American Inferno†race started in 1933. It was a top-to-bottom race from the peak to the valley floor. Toni Matt won the race in 1939 when he “schussed,†or skied head-on, the head wall by accident. It was a foggy spring afternoon and Matt won the 8 mile race in a record time of 6 minutes 29.2 seconds, with an estimated top speed of over 85 miles per hour.

I've seen other inteviews that indicated he did not see the lip in the fog, and didn't mean to take it straight.
post #191 of 481
Thread Starter 
Hm. Well, I read that, but it doesn't say much. We know he schussed it, we know what he did, but only abstractly, as in "the Allies won the Second World War."
post #192 of 481
Quote:
Originally Posted by lakespapa View Post

Hm. Well, I read that, but it doesn't say much. We know he schussed it, we know what he did, but only abstractly, as in "the Allies won the Second World War."

Not sure what you're looking for but here is a bit More:

 

His plan was to make three big turns over the headwall, then straighten out and point it into the bowl, but because there was no visibility and he’d never skied there before, he miscalculated the lip of the headwall. He got into his ski racer tuck way up high and came maching over the edge.

As he recalls: “I came over the rim at the point called the lip. Going over the lip is a terrifying experience, especially for the first time. Remember, I had schussed from the very top of the mountain, which is at least a thousand feet higher than the lip, and then made only one turn into the headwall. I was coming into the sudden drop-off at 40–45 miles an hour. That’s not at all like coming in from a dead standstill. It’s more like jumping into a 600-foot deep hole from a speeding car.”

 


Read more at http://www.powder.com/stories/know-roots-big-mountain-competitions/#oiMDHvidbPlLXZJt.99

 

According to this article it was an 8-mile course so he must have been going really fracking fast al the way down!  I couldn't imagine either schussing Tuck's headwall nor skiing the ravine and Sherburne trail nonstop  EDIT:  Not sure where 8 mile course comes from.  It's about 3.5 miles to the bottom of the ravine from Pinkham notch trailhead and maybe another mile + or - to the summit.

 

I would like to get back up there again though!  Haven't been since 1985...getting to be an old Crank.


Edited by crank - 10/15/16 at 9:16am
post #193 of 481
Here's the longer first person account -- a quote of a quote,so I don't know the orginal provenance:

"I'd Schuss the Headwall Again!"

The first man to ever schuss Mt. Washington's terrifying Headwall recalls his dramatic run 21 years later. What's more, he set a course record in his daring bid for fame

Ninety miles an hour on skis! That's the speed I attained in schussing the Tuckerman Ravine Headwall on Mt. Washington, New Hampshire, on April 16, 1939. It was in the American Inferno downhill race, when I was only nineteen. I was the first racer to ski straight down the Headwall - a 1000-foot bowl with a 60-degree angle - and I'll never forget it.

Since then, hundreds of people - many of whom aren't skiers - have asked me for more details of that big schuss. Let's start at the foot of Mt. Washington and work up so that I can tell you what really happened.

Excitement was in the air that cold April morning. The field consisted of about 20 Class A and Open racers who had been invited to compete by the sponsoring Eastern Slopes Ski Club. Snow conditions along most of the course were the best in years, especially in Tuckerman Ravine.
I arose far before dawn that day to give my boards a final check-up. I'd waxed my skis well the previous night, using a thin layer of blue wax, which was ironed on and covered by red wax for speed.
My skis were seven-foot, three inch streamliners, while I wore single-lace boots. I brought both the skis and boots with me from Austria when I came over to teach in Hannes Schneider's ski school at North Conway, New Hampshire. Those hickories proved an ideal choice, for they were very sturdy, holding the course well.

We racers started the long climb to the summit early (Mt. Washington has no uphill lifts) - soon after sunrise, in fact, since the race was to begin at noon. And we had to allow for at least an hour or two to rest our legs and have a light snack for energy.

Naturally, I was excited, a little tense. Mount Washington seemed gigantic in the faint light, even though I was used to the Alps. I had looked forward to competing in the Inferno because I'd heard so much about it. And I had just returned from the West, where I raced for a month. Therefore, I was in excellent shape. The only thing that bothered me was the fact that I had never skied the entire course before.

Would it be dangerous? Could I ski the four miles without a fall? How would I fare against more experienced skiers? These and many other questions filled my mind as we started the long climb.

And what about the terrifying Tuckerman Ravine Headwall? I'd been told it was as steep as the side of a house!

Using seal skins for the trek, I pushed upward, the exercise helping to loosen my muscles and relax me mentally. We climbed the two-mile Sherburne Trail, which I had skied once before. In spite of the abundance of snow, the trail had suddenly become very icy and filled with grooves. I tried to figure out which groove to stay in, also memorizing the trail, one section of which has a wicked double-S turn. Miss that and you're sure to plunge into the tall timber! I realized even then that this race is a tough one - perhaps the roughest I'd ever attempted.

At the top of the Sherburne Trail, I took a short breather, then went on to the Little Headwall. Now came an unforgettable sight.
There it was - straight ahead - Tuckerman Ravine and the famed Headwall. My first glimpse left me breathless, believe me. That Headwall was awesome, looming up and up against the flying clouds. Actually, it looked worse from the bottom than it did from the top. I couldn't make up my mind which way to ski it, so I decided to see how I felt on the run down to the Ravine and then make the decision.

The Ravine floor presented a problem, as well. It was very bumpy - like a huge washboard. Hit that at high speed and your legs might sprawl in several directions. But there was no turning back; all the competitors were climbing grimly and slowly up the side of the Headwall, carrying their skis at this point.

At the top of the Ravine I peeked down over the Lip. That Headwall was really steep. Obviously, it could prove to be the key to the entire race - something like the most dangerous jump at the Grand National Steeplechase. A big lump popped up in my throat then, but I had to keep going up before I could come down.

The remainder of the climb was comparatively easy. We zig-zagged across the snow fields, reaching the weather station at the summit of the great mountain, where hot broth and tea was ready for us. Camaraderie among ski racers is wonderful. We needed it that day. Everyone was nervous - underneath, at least.

Was I nervous, too? Boy, was I scared! As I've already said, I had never skied over the Headwall. And I was still not sure which way I'd take it. The more I thought about it, the more I shivered. That wait before the race seemed like the longest and coldest I'd ever experienced. We were all on edge, jittery, chattering like school girls, waiting for the starter to send us away at one-minute intervals. I guess we felt like troops about to be sent into combat.
I had drawn the numeral 4. Dick Durrance, the great Dartmouth star and past winner of the Inferno, wore number 3, but that didn't help me any. You see, I had planned on running in his straight tracks from the summit to the Headwall because the first two entrants wouldn't schuss the snowfields. However, Dick said he wasn't ready, so I had to start ahead of him.

Finally, the starter placed his glove on my shoulder, counting, "Four, three, two, one - go!" And I shoved off in a swirl of powder, still nervous, still uncertain about that unknown quality - the Headwall.
Before the start, I had figured on schussing the Cone and turning in at the control gate above the Headwall. I'd even contemplated taking two or three turns on the Headwall, then schussing along the Ravine floor and over the Little Headwall to the Sherburne Trail, staying on the inside of all the turns on the trail.

You'd be surprised how plans change suddenly during an actual race, though. I didn't make too much speed across the snowfields because there was no track to stay in, yet I reached the crest of the Headwall quickly. I didn't check there, either, just swinging enough to make the left turn that brings you in to the Headwall.

At this point, I felt fine. No more nerves. I was anticipating that run down the Headwall. I knew the drop over the Lip was sharp and quick - and I was ready.

You may wonder if I had a split-second reaction when I started over the Lip. Yes, my reaction was that I was going too fast to turn - that turning at such speed wouldn't slow me down, anyway. So I decided right then and there to let 'em run - and I pointed my skis straight down, close together.

Snow conditions on the Headwall were very good. Winds had packed the snow in hard and smooth; there were very few bumps until you hit the floor. I didn't notice any exposed rocks - guess I was too busy.
I was over the Lip like a diver leaving a springboard. The wind stung my face. This was it! I could feel a great emotional strain; I could feel my heart beat off the seconds as I tried to maintain my balance and stay on my skis. A fall might be disastrous here, for you could tumble to the very Ravine floor before stopping!

As my speed increased, my senses became almost numb. Down, down I roared in a semi-crouch, my knees pumping to absorb the shock.
I didn't even think while I ran the Headwall - just did everything instictively. My weight was forward every moment in the true "vorlage" style employed by the Austrians then.

I wasn't frightened during the Headwall run. I had no time for that. I just kept my skis headed straight down, knowing that this was my supreme test in racing.
Wham! I had reached the Ravine floor, zipping across those bumps as though being pushed by an unseen force. Once I was across the floor, I could feel my knees shaking for the first time.

I didn't think I had the race won then. I never even gave it a thought at that spot. I was thinking of what lay ahead of me - and how my legs would hold up. Schussing the Headwall turned them into rubber. But I kept going, even managing to regain enough strength to schuss at the Little Headwall - a breeze compared to the big one.

At the top of the Sherburne Trail, I was still traveling at full speed. The trail was very icy and fast and I was beginning to tire. Fortunately, I was familiar with this section of the course. Even so, I nearly hit a tree on the last of the three S-turns. I took the inside groove but couldn't hold it. This dragged me way down. Summoning all my waning energy, I was able to check just in time to avoid a big tree. Back in the right form, I put my skis together again, hoping to hold the course. At the top of the Sherburne Trail, I was still traveling at full speed. The trail was very icy and fast and I was beginning to tire. Fortunately, I was familiar with this section of the course. Even so, I nearly hit a tree on the last of the three S-turns. I took the inside groove but couldn't hold it. This dragged me way down. Summoning all my waning energy, I was able to check just in time to avoid a big tree. Back in the right form, I put my skis together again, hoping to hold the course.

The top of the Sherburne Trail was easy, giving me a chance to rest a little. However, the lower stretches were rugged. I was tired but I tried to make time all the way. That puts a strain on any racer.
That finish gate was a wonderful sight. Then I was amazed to learn I had covered the course in six minutes and 29 seconds - a new Inferno record.

Later, I was told that Dick Durrance held the previous record of 12 minutes. Prior to that, skiers averaged 20 minutes to cover the four miles that drop 4000 vertical feet to Pinkham Notch.

Well, my record still stands. I've never managed to ski in Tuckerman Ravine since then, either. As for recreational skiers trying to schuss the Headwall, I don't think that anyone should do it. A 90-mile an hour speed is only for top racers, who are in the peak of condition.
Schussing the Headwall was my greatest thrill in American skiing - and it helped me make my name in this country. Now, due to racing injuries, my skiing is limited to a little weekend sport. But I'll never forget that run - the first sight of the Headwall - the speed I made. Through the years, I've skied it over and over - mentally, of course. And if I were nineteen again, I'd do it exactly the same way. I'd run the Headwall straight!"

I got it from
https://www.mountainproject.com/v/what-is-the-mt-washington-nh-speed-record/108550590
post #194 of 481
Durrance must have had an amazing run too, but you neverhear about 2nd place. SUre, it was almost a minute slower than Matt, but it blew the previous record out of the water too.
post #195 of 481
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


Wasn't following the discussion.  Noticed the quotes from Toni Matt.

 

In any case, the New England Ski Museum is a really nice place.  I had a chance to check it out a few years ago when I was staying near Loon in early Dec.  Apparently are planning an expansion to another location in North Conway once the fundraising for about $2 million is successful.

 

There is a special exhibit about the 10th Mountain Division at the original Cannon location until mid-April 2017.  Hope to be able to get there before then.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by crank View Post
 

I've been there, the Cannon museum, but it has to have been 20 or so years ago.  They probably have my old ski boots on display now. lol

I've been to the Cannon museum too several years ago, it was pretty cool. What I found even more interesting is the ski patrol museum in Stowe which I stopped in this summer. Lots of old memorabilia & old lifts from back in the day. They even had one of the original Killington & Sugarbush gondola's in there along with one of the original T-bars from Pico plus other lifts. Speaking of the 10th Mountain Division they had a fully clothes manikin of one of them along with the tents they used to sleep in. It's worth a stop if you're ever in the area.

post #196 of 481
I'd be up to join the early season get together as well. I will be there as long as I figure out a way to get to VT from NY.
post #197 of 481
Thread Starter 

Onthesnow's Projected Openings (http://www.onthesnow.com/united-states/projected-openings.html) has Killington opening next Saturday. :ROTF

 

Maybe it's true (the listing was last updated in May).

 

A-bay and Loveland project the 27th, but chatter on the Colorado Weather thread thinks the 20th.  (I hope it warms up a day or two in there — I predicted the 24th :D.)

post #198 of 481

Not that I much care 'cause I am no WROD warrior, however, Killington has about as much chance of opening this weekend as a snowball in hell!  High freaking 70's here in CT tis week and not much better at K.  the Overnight lows only get down to 30 and that is later in the week.

post #199 of 481
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crank View Post
 

Not that I much care 'cause I am no WROD warrior, however, Killington has about as much chance of opening this weekend as a snowball in hell!  High freaking 70's here in CT tis week and not much better at K.  the Overnight lows only get down to 30 and that is later in the week.

 

It's supposed to be 78 tomorrow in Southwest New Hampshire. Not happening for a month at least. 

post #200 of 481
Supposed to snow in the northern Greens Sunday and Monday. Maybe a dusting, but it'll be the first flakes we see. Even Mt Washington hasnt seen snow yet.
post #201 of 481

I know its to warm this week, but last week there was frost on the pumpkin and skis in the brown truck of happiness. 

post #202 of 481

Looks like Oct. 22 will be a busy day for volunteers at a few small ski areas in the northeast.  I'm heading to the Plattekill work day.  There is also one at Magic.  Just noticed that Tenney is having a work day.

 

https://www.facebook.com/skiTENNEY/posts/541437836054666

 

"We are looking for some volunteers to help with some chores around the mountain this Saturday, October 22nd. Most projects are outdoors and include activities like clearing some areas around the lifts, building a platform for loading under the Hornet lift, and if warm enough painting on the rear deck. We are asking those that wish to bring their own chainsaws to be willing to sign a waiver. TENNEY will provide fuel, food, and plenty of gratitude. We will be watching the weather but would welcome seeing many of you that have offered to help if you can join us. More details as the week unfolds."

post #203 of 481

Went through those Tenny FB posts, and while that looks like a lot of work, and its a ton of up front cash on a gamble, it looks like a heck of a lot of fun. If I had the vac time and lived closer, I have two full sized chainsaws and a little skill, I would be there.

 

Maybe after I win the lottery I will buy one.

post #204 of 481
Quote:
Originally Posted by Varmintmist View Post
 

Went through those Tenny FB posts, and while that looks like a lot of work, and its a ton of up front cash on a gamble, it looks like a heck of a lot of fun. If I had the vac time and lived closer, I have two full sized chainsaws and a little skill, I would be there.

 

Maybe after I win the lottery I will buy one.


For more about the more background on the group who is working to re-open Tenney, look here.  They bought the property for other reasons without any intention of owning a ski hill.  It's been a lot of fun to follow the effort.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/143521/tenney-mountain-in-nh-to-re-open-for-2015-16-closed-since-2010

post #205 of 481

The New England Ski Museum has picked the Cochran family for the Spirit of Skiing Award for 2016.  If you haven't heard of the Cochran's, the announcement article includes some basics.  Or check out the history on the Cochran website.  The place is still going strong and hopes to open on Dec. 10, 2016.  At Cochran's, skiing is the ultimate family sport in Vermont.

 

http://newenglandskimuseum.org/cochran-family-to-receive-spirit-of-skiing-award/

 

"The Cochran Family of Richmond, Vermont will be honored with the 11th annual Spirit of Skiing Award by the New England Ski Museum on October 28, 2016 at Sugarbush Resort in Warren, Vermont. The award is given annually to an individual or group that in the judgment of the ski museum directors personifies the axiom that “skiing is not just a sport, it is a way of life”. This dictum, first spoken by New England ski pioneer Otto Schniebs, has guided the museum’s board for more than a decade, as ski luminaries including Stein Eriksen, Tom Corcoran, Herbert Schneider, Penny Pitou, and Bernie Weichsel have been selected for the honor.  . . ."

 

http://www.cochranskiarea.com/history

 

post #206 of 481
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

The New England Ski Museum has picked the Cochran family for the Spirit of Skiing Award for 2016.  If you haven't heard of the Cochran's, the announcement article includes some basics.  Or check out the history on the Cochran website.  The place is still going strong and hopes to open on Dec. 10, 2016.  At Cochran's, skiing is the ultimate family sport in Vermont.

 

http://newenglandskimuseum.org/cochran-family-to-receive-spirit-of-skiing-award/

 

"The Cochran Family of Richmond, Vermont will be honored with the 11th annual Spirit of Skiing Award by the New England Ski Museum on October 28, 2016 at Sugarbush Resort in Warren, Vermont. The award is given annually to an individual or group that in the judgment of the ski museum directors personifies the axiom that “skiing is not just a sport, it is a way of life”. This dictum, first spoken by New England ski pioneer Otto Schniebs, has guided the museum’s board for more than a decade, as ski luminaries including Stein Eriksen, Tom Corcoran, Herbert Schneider, Penny Pitou, and Bernie Weichsel have been selected for the honor.  . . ."

 

http://www.cochranskiarea.com/history

 


​Barbara is such a sweetheart. Our small group skied there a few years ago, She took a group picture & mailed it to us a few weeks afterwards.

post #207 of 481
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

Looks like Oct. 22 will be a busy day for volunteers at a few small ski areas in the northeast.  I'm heading to the Plattekill work day.  There is also one at Magic.  Just noticed that Tenney is having a work day.

Oh well, the Plattekill work day was postponed to Oct. 29.  Too much rain predicated for Sat, maybe even a little snow towards the end of the storm.

 

Tenney is also watching the weather forecast and may cancel on Oct. 22.

post #208 of 481
Quote:
Originally Posted by steamboat1 View Post
 


​Barbara is such a sweetheart. Our small group skied there a few years ago, She took a group picture & mailed it to us a few weeks afterwards.

 

Barbara and I at the recent VT Ski and Ride Expo. She was happy to talk shop, kinda cool talking about ski instruction with an Olympic gold medalist. 

 

post #209 of 481

A summary from Judah Cohen, seems he's getting noticed at the NSF level. Anyway, he sees a breakout from the mild warming trends NE is currently experiencing. We should be getting into the colder cycle for the start of winter. 

 

https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/autumnwinter/predicts.jsp

post #210 of 481

It's actually feeling like fall now.  Leaves are red, orange, and yellow - above ground, and everything down below them is covered with acorns and leaves.  So we are in a red, orange, and yellow world right now.  I can no longer see the grass in my yard.  Temps have dropped, the sparrows have moved into the eaves above the back door, the pellet stove is on and I'm sitting comfy in front of it with a glass of wine.  I've gone through the ski stuff stored in the extra bedroom, found the stuff I use every year and the stuff I always think I'll use but don't, went through the boot bag and found the dirty mittens that need laundering, separated the outer layers that need re-water-proofing.  I've visited my bootfitter.  I've purchased two pair of skis to hurry the season along.  

 

Fall is definitely here.


Edited by LiquidFeet - 10/22/16 at 4:38pm
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