Portland, OR. The Oregon Historical Society’s original exhibition, Freeze the Day! A History of Winter Sports in Oregon shares stories from across the state and illustrates the emotional draw of winter sports that Oregonians have enjoyed for generations. Oregon’s unique topography and climate have created an environment of endless possibility for outdoor recreation. Whether engaging in leisure activities on the weekends or competing in professional athletic events, Oregonians have long enjoyed experiences shaped by snow and ice and Oregon Historical Society vintage photos illustrate the point.

Portland’s Brodie Leitch was noted as being one of the few U.S. women ski jumpers of her era. Here she is landing a jump at Timberline Lodge in May 1939.

Cloud Cap Inn stands at nearly 6,000 feet on Mount Hood’s northeastern flank. Built in 1889, the one-story, crescent-shaped, log-and-shake inn was the mountain’s first permanent resort.

Start of the 1931 Fort Klamath to Crater Lake Ski Race.

Sledders are photographed on a toboggan run on Mount Hood in 1930.

Three vintage NW skiers.

Skiing enthusiasts in Portland just before World War II knew the name Hjalmar Hvam as readily as most people recognize the names of professional athletes. The photo above is of Hvam making a gelandesprung jump in 1937. 

Glenn Jackson (second from left) at Mt. Ashland, about 1965. Photo Kenn Knackstedt, Southern Oreg.

Countless individuals have shaped the history of winter sports in Oregon, including Native people who developed and adapted technology and cultural practices to survive and thrive with the snow and ice of winter months. Euro-American emigrants who arrived in the nineteenth century began to explore ways to recreate in the mountains, lakes, and rivers. At the beginning of the twentieth century,

Oregonians started building alpine resorts, sporting clubs, and recreational facilities across the state. This work set the stage for championship athletes to thrive. Freeze the Day profiles 13 such athletes, including Olympic snowboarders Ben Ferguson and Chris Klug, luger Jack Elder, figure skater Tonya Harding, and Special Olympics Oregon snowboarder Henry Meece. Innovators also flourished, such as Hjalmar Hvam, who developed the world’s first workable safety ski binding, and Oregon Adaptive Sports, which provides snow opportunities to community members with disabilities. Visitors will also discover many of the ice sports that people enjoy throughout the state as well as beloved teams past and present, from the Portland Rosebuds to the Portland Winterhawks.

The Freeze the Day exhibit runs through July 17th, 2022.

More details about the exhibit from the Oregon Historical Society:

  • Family-friendly
  • Free for Members
  • Researchers
  • Teachers
  • Handicap Accessible Friendly

Oregon Historical Society
1200 SW Park Ave
Portland, Oregon 97205
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Freeze the Day! is a fun and immersive exhibition for visitors of all ages. While snow may not be falling in the gallery, visitors can hold out their hand to “catch a snowflake” within the exhibit, look for friends and family in a community scrapbook, and share their love of Oregon’s wintry weather online using the hashtag #OHSFreezeTheDay. Freeze the Day! shares how winter sports continue to shape Oregon’s cultural fabric and offers something to all visitors, whether they are avid winter sports participants or simply admirers of Oregon’s natural wonders.