Ski enthusiasts are finding a new and promising skiing territory this winter in Western Massachusetts' "Pioneer Valley." This region offers, besides the interest of a young and developing field, a nearby location by train or car, an agreeable surprise to those who found Pinkham Notch a far cry. It is possible to go for a day or stay over in one of the neighborhood's many inns or hotels. The season has been in full swing since a nine inch snowfall November 26.
Hannes Schnelder Instructs
Several schools have opened this year with top-flight foreign and native instructors. Hannes Schnelder has been teaching at Blandford, where several tows are in operation. The facilities there were developed by the Springfield Skiing Club. This town is on Route 23, called the Hill Top Trail by the Pioneer Valley Association.
Other Springfield enthusiasts who wanted a terrain at their doorstep opened an illuminated two trail run with a tow January 28, south of the General Edwards Bridge on the Island Pond Road. This city also offers skiing at the Franconia Golf Course and skating to music at the Forest Park Chalet.
Julius Boehm, who taught the Austrian infantry skiing in the World War, is here as a refugee and conducting classes at Cummington, where there are some particularly beautiful mountain trails.
School Run by Movie Actress
At Chickley Alp in Charlemont, a thriving school is in progress conducted by Countess Anna Hartmann of Hartenau who has recently come here from Austria. Miss Hartman has been a movie actress as well as a championship skiier. She made films in Austria, Germany, France and Italy before coming to this country last May. New Yorkers studied with her during the summer at the dry ski school run by the American Womans Association.
Also instructing at Chickley Alp is William C. Burghardt, former assistant chief instructor at Mt. Ranier National Park School. Chickley Alp has two town and six trails. The Edelweiss Club, whose members compete throughout the East, practices over the racing trail and jumps, one of which is 30 meters. A quarter of a mile on this trail represents a thousand foot drop, and the average grade is from 16 to 28 percent.
The Greenfield jump with its eight terraces for spectators is well known. From the edge of the cement take-off to the beginning of the level outrun, there is a drop of 120 feet. On February 22, Greenfield will hold an open invitation jump. Greenfield, too, has a marvelous toboggan chute, on which 60 to 70 miles an hour have been clocked.
Jumping is extremely popular also at the Holland Kelly Farm in Greenfield where the tow is operated by Strand Mikkelson, a former national champion jumper, whose somersaults delight the jumper, whose somersaults delight the onlookers. Both have performed in major sports centers, as have the native troop of professional skiers, Mikkelson, Shul and Pulaski. These men are now teaching two Greenfield girls who, as high school students, were jumping more than 150 feet.