Hall of Famer
Born March 2, 1908 in Kongsberg, Norway, Henry Sodvedt was one of the foremost competitors in ski jumping and combined events in the Pacific Northwest for a number of years. He was Western Divisional Champion and Pacific Northwest Champion in cross-country and ski jumping Combined events on several occasions and won the USA National Jumping Championship, Veterans’ Class, at Seattle in 1947. His most momentous victory was in 1937 when he was the top Canadian at the National Championships held in Banff, Alberta in Combined Nordic events.
Henry Sodvedt had qualities and skills other than those required to be a top athlete. He was also a natural leader. This ability was quickly recognized when in 1936, seven years after he immigrated to Canada, he became Zone Chairman, Western Division, of the Canadian Amateur Ski Association (CASA) and in 1937 at a CASA meeting in Banff, Alberta, was elected a Vice-President.
In 1939, he became a ski-jumping judge attending local meets until 1945 when he was certified as a Western Division official and authorized Jumping Judge. Elected Chairman of the Jumping Division, Western Division, in 1949 he was a prime mover in the organization of ski jumping clinics on Canada’s west coast. From 1951 to 1958, he was Technical Chairman of the Western Division of the CASA organizing clinics for Jumping Judges in Alberta and British Columbia.
Perhaps one of his proudest moments came in 1960 when he became one of three Canadian ski jumping judges to be certified internationally by the Federation Internationale de Ski (FIS) at Banff, Alberta. As Canada’s delegate to the FIS Jumping Committee, he attended FIS Congress meetings at Mamaid, Romania (1965), Beirut, Lebanon (1967) and Barcelona, Spain (1969). From 1959 until his retirement 10-years later in 1969, he was Canada’s Chair of Ski Jumping and was responsible for implementing a well-coordinated training program with emphasis on the training of young ski jumpers.
Well respected for his knowledge by the international skiing community, he was the official Judge at the 1962 World Ski-Jumping Championships at Zakopane, Poland, and, in 1966, Oslo, Norway. In 1970, he was the Chief Measurer at the World Ski Championships in Czechoslovakia, and, in the same year, was appointed a Judge at the first International Ski Flying meet in the western hemisphere held in Ironwood, Michigan, USA.
During his 1970 trip to Czechoslovakia, he represented the Garibaldi Olympic Development Association in its bid to host the 1976 XII Olympic Winter Games ultimately awarded to Innsbruck, Austria, and again for the 1980 XIII Olympic Winter Games, Lake Placid, USA, unfortunately unsuccessfully, in 1974, while attending the World Ski Jumping Championships at Falun, Sweden.
Ultimately, his contribution to skiing was not limited to either his undoubted skiing and administrative ability but also to his steadfastness of purpose as Canadian skiing evolved through a period of dramatic change to take its place among the skiing nations of the world.
Please Note: The ski information gathered here is compiled from a number of sources; it may not be inclusive of all accomplishments.
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1983 Canadian Ski Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. [L to R]: Gaby Pleau, Mrs. Henry Sotvedt, Louis Grimes. CSHFM Collection.