Triumph on the Slopes

Two letters prompted my response. I share in the sadness over the passing of Terry Chase ’59. I distinctly remember the ski meet referred to by Roger Moment ’59 because I was one of the spectators. What Roger did not remember was that the course was very, very foggy, such that the great Austrian skier Toni Sailer (three Olympic medals in 1956) who “foreran” the race (prerace ski run), was almost invisible coming down the hill. I recall being asked by a bystander when Sailer would appear and had to tell him that Sailer had already gone by. That was why the more powerful programs fell so often or missed gates while the Reed ski team practically snowplowed down the hill but all four skiers completed the race! The next morning the Oregonian ran a headline, “Reed College Wins Ski Tournament????” It was indeed memorable. And thanks to Roger for recalling it. By the way, like all athletics at Reed, the “ski team” was four volunteers who were all recreational skiers, but they didn’t embarrass themselves. Both Eric Terzaghi ’58, who was Norwegian, and Terry had skied in Europe, which was pretty exotic in those days. 

I was also a freshman in the New Men’s Dorm and one of the #10-can-stackers in front of the dorm room of Prof. John Hancock [chemistry 1955–89]. (It was in honor of his efforts to build his own pipe organ out of #10 cans.) Upon returning from a rainy afternoon he encountered the “curtain” in his doorway. I vividly recall that he was characteristically unruffled, reached out the handle of his ever-present umbrella, and pulled out one of the bottom cans. There ensued the most deafening din in the history of the school when those empty cans hit the floor in the corridor. He calmly stepped over the pile of cans and went into his room without a word.

—John Graef ’60
Boston, Massachusetts


Full credit to Roger Moment ’59 for his recollections of the Great Northwest Winter Carnival. Reed was one of the few coed, if not the only school, which fielded (sloped?) a coed team. Ruth Leeds Love  ’58 was our heroine. Reed’s success on the slopes did not, however, end the day. Even more dramatically, Reed’s triumph was assured in the snow sculpture contest. Our free-standing, larger-than-lifesize entry of a couple in a decidedly romantic pose so outclassed the frieze efforts of the Stanford “S” or the Washington “Pinetree” that there was no second! As to the imposing silver plate trophy, we knew not quite what to do with it. Sunday night, many of the team converged at an off-campus apartment whereat it served as a splendid pizza tray. Monday morning, absent a trophy case in  which to enshrine the evidence of Reed’s athletic and artistic prowess, the plate was presented with appropriate pomp and ceremony to the president of Reed. Thence, we know not its journey nor where it may, this night, repose.

—Jonathan Hough ’59

Boulder, Colorado