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Clem Curtis


Curtis, Clement J.

Rank, Company, Regiment

S/SGT    K             86TH

Birth date/Death Date


Vermont Location




Importance of Vermont


First skiing experience

"My first skis were 3 footers. Maybe the 2nd or 3rd grade.   I couldn't get home from school fast enough to my skis which were still wet   from the day before. Being pine and wet the grain would peel back and when my   father came home from work he would cut the loose grain off with his   jackknife ready for the next day. My next skis were 6 footers. Again they   were pine with a slot cut through the middle for the toe strap. I liked skiing   downhill but there had to be something in between the top and bottom such as   a bump. I think it was the second day with the that new pair that I built a   bump landed in soft snow and broke one in two where the toe strap went   through. As I was the youngest of nine and my father was a mill worker, there   wasn't much money for sporting goods. It was a while before I had skis again.   When I was in 8th grade, my brother in law gave his two groove hickory 7 foot   jumpers. I couldn't think of a nicer gift."



Competitive Skiing

Made the high school team and competed in the eastern amateur   jumping championship in Lake Placid '29 & '30 (scared stiff). In 1933 I   joined a professional ski jumping group and in 1935 ski jumped in the first   indoor winter sports in the US at the Boston Garden, Madison Square Garden,   Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Springfield, Mass., and New Haven. Springfield,   Mass, was a bit unique in that the landing slops was built inside and the   jump built on the outside and we can flying through a window. Besides jumping   demonstrations there was down hill, slalom, crosscountry, and snowshoe racing   demonstrations. The Ice capades were with is through 1939 when Hitler set out   to conquer the world and that was the end of the indoor shows as such."

What was your experience in the 10th like?

"Then he told me of an expedition testing equipment in Lake   Louise, Canada, and asked if I'd like to go. Of course, I'd like to go. So I   went and was in charge of 75 men. Arriving at Lake Louise RR station I called   the men to attention as the CO was coming to greet us. There I was standing   there stiffer than a poker, he came up to me inches from my face 'WHAT IN   HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE?' That was Paul Townsend who lived two doors from my   home in Lebanon, NH. Seeing him was a very pleasant surprise. The equipment   was not ski equipment. We were there to maintain camp for the Studebaker Co.   who was testing the WEASEL on Athabaska glacier. Our camp was a beautiful   sight at the base of the glacier. I was a truck driver and drove up the   glacier (9miles). Other days I drove to Lake Louise 40 miles for rations or   gas. What a great detail that was. Back to Camp Hale I joined a truck company   long enough to earn Staff sergeant stripes and returned to the Mountain   Training Group. Passed the ski teachers exam with the highest marks and was   assigned to teach instructors from other ski schools from all over the   country, the army method. In the summer I taught rock and mountain climbing.   During one of these sessions I was called to go to Mt. Rainier to make a   movie for the army. The film started on Mt. Rainier and had to be finished in   NYC studio due to the lack of trees high on the mountain (what a blast that   was.)

Then with three other men I was sent to many other camps   teaching them how to take care of themselves in extreme cold, such as showing   them how and where to build huts of tree bows. Being on detached service most   of the time in the Division I didn't go to Europe with them. Then back to   Stowe."
  "In May 1942, I joined the army. I finished Basic Training in So.   Carolina and was sent to the 10th Mountain Division in Tacoma, Washington,   with a group of skiers (9). I being the only certified teacher was sent to   the Snowshoe outfit. Fortunately the C.O. there happened to be Everett Bailey   of Burlington, VT, who used to teach skiing with us in Stowe on weekends. His   first comment was 'what are you doing here.' All I could say is 'this is   where they sent me. This showshoe outfit.'"

Why did you join the 10th?


Ski Patrol


Ski School

"In 1939 I passed the ski teachers exam in the Hannes   Schneiders ski school in No. Conway, NH, and joined the Sepp Ruschp ski   school in 1940."

Ski Industry


Vermont Ski Area Connection

Stowe, Mt. Mansfield
  "Being discharged from the army in late '44 and married to Anne M.   Courtemanche I returned with my new bride to Stowe and the Mount Mansfield   Co.
  Sepp Ruschp the president and general manager asking if I would assist him in   running the business at the State Lodge area which consisted of a T-bar lift,   rope tow, ski school, ski repair shop and restaurant. In the summer I   purchased an ice delivery business. I hired one man year round and he took   care of it in the winter while I was at Stowe. In 1948 I was asked to manage   the Summit House at the top of the mountain. This hotel was 90 years old and   stood there with the help of 1 inch cables anchored to the ledges. Some days   it was beautiful. Some days we were in the clouds and some days the thunder   storms were 'something else'. Those days the guests stayed indoors playing   scrabble etc. We, my wife and two little children, spent 8 summers up there.   Although we lived in our own little cottage, I left the company in 1955 and   went into the construction business which was good for me. Mentally,   physically, and financially. Retired in 1975. I'm now 92 years old and enjoy   Stowe in summer and winter in Florida with Anne."      Later became a contractor an helped to build Topnotch and   Stowehof.

Property manager for the Summit House on Mt. Mansfield when it   burned in 1958

Role of Skiing in your Life


Other information


Photograph information


Information submitted by

Clem Curtis