ABOUT THE HALL
VERMONT SPORTS HALL OF FAMEFred Harris
Historical Pioneer Inductee (outdoors/ski jumping)
An innovator in several outdoor sports most notably ski jumping, Fred Harris is the 2015 Vermont Sports Hall of Fame Historical Pioneer Inductee. Born in Brattleboro in 1888 and a 1911 graduate of Dartmouth, Harris was the founder of the Dartmouth College Outing Club as an undergrad in 1909, and the Brattleboro Outing Club in 1921.
In 1910 along with James Taylor, the 2014 VSHOF Historical Pioneer Inductee and then the assistant headmaster at nearby Vermont Academy, they started the Dartmouth Winter Carnival, the longest running collegiate winter event of its kind.
He also was the designer of Brattleboro's Harris Hill Ski Jump and organizer of the Harris Hill Jumping Tournament in 1922. Harris built the ski jumping hill and the wooden trestle tower with his own $2,200. The national championships were held at the jump in 1951 with 168 jumpers from around the world competing. Art Tokle of Norwich set a record of 239 feet the same day the hill was rededicated in honor of Harris.
A co-founder of the United State Eastern Amateur Ski Association (USEASA), Harris has been called “The Man Who Put America on Skis.” A member of the Vermont and National Ski and Snowboard Halls of Fame, the Brattleboro native also served as an official at the 1932 Lake Placid and 1960 Squaw Valley Winter Olympics. In 1938 he had the USEASA organize and fund the US team for the 1938 Winter Olympics.
Harris is also considered one of the first “extreme skiers,” hiking to the top of and skiing down Whiteface Mountain in New York and Mount Washington in New Hampshire.
Harris passed away in 1961. The Harris Hill Jumping Tournament continues to be a world class ski jumping competition held annually in Brattleboro in front of large crowds each winter. Click HERE for information on the Harris Hill Ski Jump in Brattleboro.