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The Babe Ruth of Ski Jumping

In February 1942 Torger Tokle retired the famed Harris Hill Winged Trophy for the first time by winning the Harris Hill ski jump three years in a row. Torger Tokle was a Ski Jumper originally from Norway who had emigrated to the United States. His nickname was “the Babe Ruth of ski jumping”. He won 42 of the 48 ski jumping tournaments in which he took part and set 24 hill distance records. Tokle won Harris Hill in 1940, 1941, and 1942 to become the first to retire the Winged Trophy.

In October 1942 he joined the U.S. Army and was assigned to the ski troops of the 10th Mountain Division during World War 2. His regiment served in Italy and he taught many soldiers how to ski for the first time.

Tokle’s fame grew in the Army as his cheerful, unassuming teaching style made him a hero to many, not because of his ski jumping skills, but because of his ability to teach a bunch of cold, war-weary soldiers how to move effectively over challenging, snow-covered terrain.

Sadly, in March of 1945 Sergeant Tokle was killed while leading his men into battle at a German stronghold in the Appenines.

In 1959 Tokle was one of the first six skiers elected to the US. Ski Hall of Fame. In 1948, 49, and 51 Art Tokle, Torger’s younger brother, also won the Harris Hill Winged Trophy.

In February 1942 the Burlington Free Press reported the news this way, “Torger Tokle won for keeps the Brattleboro Outing Club’s winged ski trophy, which has been the object of ski jumpers’ affections for 19 years. A crowd of 5,000 saw Tokle, who came from Norway four years ago, win the event for the third time and retire the trophy.”

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