A Tale from the Slopes

Terry Chase

Terry Chase ’59 and family.

I was saddened to read of the passing of Terry Chase ’59 in the March 2015 issue of Reed magazine. Beyond his academic background and professional accomplishments and recognitions, there is another side to his talents, which I shared with him, including an interesting tale that, to my knowledge, has never been documented.

We both were avid skiers, and Terry was excellent at it. In spring of 1958 a West Coast Intercollegiate Ski Meet was held up at Mount Hood, with teams from major regional universities such as Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, and (I believe) also perhaps Cal and Stanford. Besides the “biggies,” Portland State was represented and some other small colleges, including Reed.

The two-day meet was held up at Timberline Lodge and consisted of two events, slalom and downhill. The slalom course was set alongside a new chairlift that started about 3000 feet below the upper parking lot just in front of Timberline Lodge and ended just west of the lodge. (The bottom of the lift was near the start of the Alpine Trail, which people could ski down to Government Camp.) In those days racing gates were bamboo poles with sequential gates topped with colored red, blue, and yellow flags in this repetitive order. The downhill began about one-half mile above the lodge (to reach the start you took the Magic Mile chairlift to Silcox Hut and skied down to it) and ended near the bottom of the lower lift.

The format for the competition was that each racer had to complete two runs on the slalom course to get a time; downhill was just a single run—the same for both as is done in current ski racing rules. Skiers raced for their individual times, but team scores were calculated using the top four combined slalom and downhill times of that team’s members.

Terry, Eric Terzaghi ’58 (I believe he organized Reed’s team and got us entered), and I had three of Reed’s combined times that counted for team scoring. I regret that I can’t remember who the fourth member was whose time also counted, or the names of other members of our team (I think there were six or more in total).

When the dust (snow) had settled, it turned out that enough of the faster racers from the larger schools had disqualified (for missing a gate, most likely in the slalom event) that when team scores were calculated Reed came out in first place! The trophy was an ornate silver tray, about 24 inches in diameter, with the names of winning school teams from prior years engraved on it (I think the regional meet had been held for three or more years prior).

Sadly, there is no record of this small triumph recorded in the ’58 Gryphon. Anyhow, I believe that Reed College 1958 would be found inscribed on the plate to verify this tale (wherever the plate may be residing today). Some 58 years later I suspect this original trophy plate has been filled up and a subsequent one added. But regardless, this was one happy occasion putting Reed into the record books, so to say.

—Roger Moment ’59

Longmont, Colorado