Alaska Ski Jumping’s Master Chef, Karl Eid (1909-2008)
The Nordic Ski Club lucked out when Karl Eid decided to emigrate from Germany in 1959. He sought a land of mountains and trees that would remind him of his homeland, and he came to Alaska to pursue his occupation as a fine culinary pastry chef. A German ski jumper who had served on the Russian Front in the First German Mountain Ski Division, an “Elite Troop,” during World War II, he had grown up jumping and especially enjoyed the sport of “Gelandesprung”—jumping using alpine skis. Having served as a conditioning trainer for the German Olympic Team in 1936, 1952, and 1956, he had the skills needed to coach and to build a ski jumping program in Anchorage.
With a collection of old jumping and alpine skis (with cable bindings), he started the Alaska Ski Jumping Club in 1975. His jumpers quickly outgrew the jump at AMU/APU, and in 1983 he and volunteers built the first jumps at Hilltop. The new 20- and 30-meter jumps were built in just over a month with a total cost of $12,400, mostly for earth moving.
Coach Eid was involved in all aspects of the Alaska Jumping Club and the Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage jumping division until his death in 2008 at age 99. His detailed notes and scrapbook were illustrative of his passion for jumping. He loved working with young jumpers and was instrumental in the development of Alan Alborn, Alaska’s only homegrown Olympic ski jumper. John Cress, an Olympian in the Nordic combined event before he came to Alaska, worked closely with Coach Eid. Cress said:
Without Karl Eid, there would not have been a jumping program. He loved the sport and poured his heart and soul into promoting and obtaining the jump complex. He was a truly positive force both in coaching and recruiting others, and his enthusiasm helped motivate both volunteers and the kids who came out to jump.