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Nansen Ski Jump Named to National Register

Published Friday Jul 26, 2019

Nansen Ski Jump Named to National Register

Nansen Ski Jump in Milan was placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, for both architecture and its important role in the history of U.S. ski jumping. Per the NH Division of Historical Resources, the Nansen Ski Jump, built in 1938, retains most of its original design as a competitive ski jumping complex.

Rated as a 65-meter hill when it was built, Nansen was the largest ski jump in the U.S. when built and is one of only a few pre-World War II ski jumps of its class that still exist and possess integrity. The jump’s three major elements include a manufactured steel in-run tower, a landing hill and an outrun.

Also dating to 1938 are a three-step spectator terrace carved into the face of the landing hill and a parking lot for spectators, many of whom stayed in their cars and honked their horns when a good jump was made.

The ski jump was part of a planned bid for NH to host the 1944 Winter Olympics, with Nordic events taking place in Berlin, alpine events at Cannon, ice boating on Lake Winnipesaukee, figure skating in Conway and bobsledding on Mount Madison. But The Games were cancelled because of World War II.

The sports complex added several features in 1963 that also contribute to its historic importance: a two-story judges’ hut with nine vieweropenings and a 250-foot landing hill stairway that improved access for competitors and spectators. That same year, the jump was re-rated as an 80-meter hill when the tower height was increased.

Over the decades, Nansen was the site of several U.S. National Ski Jumping Championships, Olympic Ski Jumping qualifying events, U.S. Nordic Combined championships and other major regional, national and international competitions.

Much of the site, including the jump’s steel towers and wooden runway, was built with help from the National Youth Administration, a relief program for unemployed young people that was established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935 to combat the effects of the Great Depression. One of several projects the NYA completed in the Berlin area, Nansen was highlighted in the organization’s final report in 1944 as one of its major construction projects.

Administered by the National Park Service, which is part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of historic resources worthy of preservation and is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate and protect our historic and archaeological resources.

In NH being listed on the National Register makes applicable property owners eligible for grants such as the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program or LCHIP and the Conservation License Plate Program.

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