Tom Mobraaten - A Brief Autobiography
Having been asked quite a few times for an autobiography (or something) of my skiing career, I guess I will have to go through with it - so here goes!
They picked me up in a cabbage plant in the back yard (at least, so I was told) 27 years ago in Kongsberg, Norway. Skiing was my greatest interest from the time I was about five years old, and my first pair of planks were taken off the side of a water barrel and rigged up with homemade harness. However, as I grew older I managed to get in quite a bit of skiing with the better equipment of my older brothers (taken when they weren't looking of course). I got quite a bit of practice going to and from school and took part in all the local tournaments for youngsters) winning my first jumping event when. I was six. I was a member of the Saggrenna Idrettslag (Athletic Club) not far from Kongsberg and used to compete with the Ruud boys who belonged to the Kongsberg Ski Club.
When about twenty, I began to get the wanderlust pretty badly so decided to come to Canada. Thinking I was leaving my skiing back home in Norway, I meant to buckle down to work on the prairie and forget all about it. But after receiving a letter from an old friend of mine, Nordal Kaldahl (perhaps some of you have heard of him!), who was in Vancouver at the time, in which letter he mentioned good skiing at the Coast - well, it didn't take me long to pack my grips for points west, and here I have been ever since. I stayed on Hollyburn during the season 1932 and got in lots of training, working out of town in the summer. But once the ski-bug bites you, it's pretty hard to stay away, so the next fall found me back on the Ridge again. In 1933, 1934 and 1935, I competed in most of the meets across the line and was fortunate in winning enough titles to make a name for myself and earn a place on the 1936 Olympic Ski Team. That was a trip that will live long in my memory and the credit is due to those who worked so hard in raising the necessary funds to send a representative from Western Canada.
I am very glad to see the ski-sport gaining in popularity so much every winter in Canada. This is as it should be, because, having visited nearly every ski resort from Big Pines, California, up, as a Canadian citizen I am proud to say that I think we have the finest skiing terrain we could wish for, right here in Western Canada.
Skiing is a healthy sport that everyone can learn and enjoy, and although there are quite a few who think it is a dangerous sport. my opinion is the contrary. I have travelled around with skiers and taken part in tournaments myself for the past twenty years and have never seen anyone fatally injured. The unfortunate accident which happened so recently on Hollyburn Ridge, I hope won't be a detriment to the sport. Although personally I feel very badly about it, having lost a good friend, we just have to use our common sense and realize that things like that can, and do, happen to the best of athletes in any type of sport. We, in skiing, have been particularly fortunate in that regard.
A word of advice to those who are going to jump on icy snow conditions. Always have a look at the take-off and inrun, making sure they are well raked and in good condition before going up to the top. In other words, look before you leap.