The former Trail ski hill was located above Gyro Park. Photo: Trail Historical Society

The former Trail ski hill was located above Gyro Park. Photo: Trail Historical Society

Trail Blazers: When the city had a renowned ski hill

Trail Blazers is a weekly feature in partnership with the Trail Museum and Archives

Did you know Trail once had a ski hill?

With Wiarton Willie predicting an early spring on Groundhog Day (Feb. 2), for this week’s Trail Blazers series we thought it best to get in a timely wintertime story, before the snow melts.

Above what is now Gyro Park was a rather prime location for skiing in the 1930s.

Sarah Benson-Lord, from the Trail Museum and Archives, says the slopes were so good for what was then skis made of wood – it drew the attention of renowned ski jumper, Nels Nelson of Revelstoke, in 1932.

“The new ski jump was constructed earlier that year and Nels, holder of the world’s ski jump record at the time of 240 feet, planned a much anticipated ski jumping event for Feb. 6, 1932,” Benson-Lord explains.

Nels deemed the location, “the finest natural ski jump in Canada … steep enough and long enough on the lower part of the hill for a jump of 280 feet. The runway is long enough for all the speed you want …”

Nels’ big jump was a drop of 255 feet altogether from the top of the runway, with a slope of 30 degrees, to the bottom of the jump hill, with a slope of 33 degrees.

“Tickets were sold for the event, with a door prize of a pair of signed skis, poles and harness for the lucky attendee,” Benson-Lord notes.

“Sadly, Nels failed in his attempt to jump the full 280 feet, with the blustery weather conditions taking the blame. His best jump was a total of 225 feet.”

Read more: Trail Blazers – Early communication began with 30 telephones

Read more: Trail Blazers – Why the City of Trail has its own flag

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