Vermont Public is independent, community-supported media, serving Vermont with trusted, relevant and essential information. We share stories that bring people together, from every corner of our region. New to Vermont Public? Start here.

© 2024 Vermont Public | 365 Troy Ave. Colchester, VT 05446

Public Files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact or call 802-655-9451.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

How Fred Harris' ski jumping dreams led to a century of competition at Harris Hill

A collage of ski jumping photos from Harris Hill Ski Jump in Brattleboro
Harris Hill Ski Jump, courtesy
Ski jumping at Harris Hill in Brattleboro, past and present. The photographs are among the archival materials featured in the new book "Harris Hill Ski Jump: The First 100 Years."

Live call-in discussion: One hundred years ago, Fred Harris fell in love with ski jumping and built what's now known as Harris Hill Ski Jump in Brattleboro. And it's still going strong today. This hour, we explore the history of Harris Hill and look at how the Brattleboro community is celebrating a century of ski jumping.

A black and white photo of Fred Harris ski jumping at Harris Hill in the 1920s.
New England Ski Museum
via the book "Harris Hill Ski Jump: The First 100 Years"
Fred Harris, often called "the man who put America on skis," captured mid ski-jump in the book "Harris Hill Ski Jump: The First 100 Years."

Our guests are:

  • Kevin O’Connor, VT Digger reporter and contributing writer of Harris Hill Ski Jump: The First 100 Years
  • Dana Sprague, historian and former ski jumper who provided hundreds of photos and other archival materials for the book
  • Peter Graves, a former U.S. Ski Team coach and Olympic commentator for alpine and cross country skiing, biathlon and ski jumping events at Harris Hill and beyond

This weekend will mark 100 years of competition at Harris Hill, and a series of events will mark a century of ski jumping.
Friday, Feb. 18, will see fireworks and an international contingent of ski jumpers participate in a night jumping exposition, followed by competitive ski jumping Saturday and Sunday.

It wasn't until 2014 that the Olympics opened competitive ski jumping to women, but Sprague told Vermont Edition that Harris Hill has been ahead of its time since the beginning.

"Fred Harris' sister went off in 1922, with Fred, when they were trying it out. So we're taking that as 100 years of women jumping," he said.

"We've always allowed women jumpers at Harris Hill, and it's getting bigger and bigger, and I truly believe women are going to save the sport of ski jumping, they're that good."

The current jump at Harris Hill is a 90-meter hill, one of only a handful in the country and the only Olympic-sized ski hill in New England.

Listen to the full interview to hear more about the history of Harris Hill Ski Jump and its role in the sport of ski jumping going back to 1922.

Broadcast live on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message or tweet us @vermontedition.

Mikaela Lefrak is the host and senior producer of Vermont Edition. Her stories have aired nationally on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, Marketplace, The World and Here & Now. A seasoned local reporter, Mikaela has won two regional Edward R. Murrow awards and a Public Media Journalists Association award for her work.
Connor Cyrus was co-host and senior producer of Vermont Edition from 2021-2023.
Matt Smith worked for Vermont Public from 2017 to 2023 as managing editor and senior producer of Vermont Edition.