Marthinius Strand (1887 - 1965)
Marthinius (Mark or M.A.) Strand has been recognized as the “father of organized skiing.” He established the first ski club in the Intermountain Region – the Norwegian Young Folks Society – in 1915, the same year he staged the first ski jumping tournament in the region. It was the forerunner for numerous Strand-promoted world class jumping competitions in the 1920s and 1930s that attracted more than 10,000 spectators to Ecker Hill.
Strand helped organize the Intermountain Ski Association and was its historian for many years. Later he became vice president and then honorary director for life of the National Ski Association of America (now the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association). In 1939 he was one of three men who envisioned a ski lift at Alta’s Collins Gulch, a vision that resulted in his building the first chairlift in Utah. He was a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee in 1932 and 1952 and in 1931, 1952, 1954 and 1962 was the U.S. representative at the International Ski Congress in Stockholm, Sweden. He was a ski jumping official for national collegiate and National Ski Association tournaments as well as a board member of the National Ski Association National Ski Museum. When he was inducted into the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1959 he was called “the foremost man in the Intermountain Ski world.”
Strand immigrated to the United States from Norway in 1910 at the age of 23. A skilled gun-maker, M.A. was an electrical engineer and founded Strand Electric Company in Salt Lake City in 1924.