GILFORD — Two men with local ties were inducted into the American Ski Jumping Hall of Fame during the organization's induction ceremonies held at Iron Mountain, MI. The late William Trudgeon, formerly of Laconia, and Kenneth Tokle of New York, were both honored as Hall of Fame inductees on August 17, 2013.
Trudgeon moved to the Lakes Region from Vermont during the 1947 ski season and never left. Members of the Winnipesaukee Ski Club quickly realized his many talents and invited him to become head coach of their organization. In that role, he quietly brought about numerous advancements at Gunstock, particularly in the area of ski jumping and coached many ski jumpers that would eventually become Olympians. Local Olympic Medalist Penny Pitou and Olympian Marty Hall give Trudgeon credit for teaching them how to be highly successful skiers and for always being there for the young skiers at Gunstock.
Trudgeon became one of the founders of the Gunstock Nordic Association in 1972, and along with fellow founder, T. Gary Allen, and a crew of volunteers, created one of the most successful Nordic organizations in the East and in the country. He organized and ran numerous national and international ski jumping meets at Gunstock; the most impressive being the Olympic trials held prior to the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid, NY. After nearly fifty years of competing in and contributing to the sport of ski jumping, he decided to officially retire from the sport following his participation in the 1980 Olympics as a ski jumping official.
Kenneth Tokle is a member of one of the most famous ski jumping families in the world. He is the nephew of ski jumping legend, Torger Tokle. During the late 1930s and early 40's, Torger jumped numerous times from the then 60-meter ski jump at Gunstock. In 1946, the largest jump at the recreation area was named in his honor after he was killed in battle during World War II. His nephew, Kenneth, began his ski jumping career at the age of 12 when he became a competitor in the sport. His focus became coaching and judging. He eventually rose to the level of FIS ski jumping official, and judged jumping competitions throughout the world.
In 2011, he was honored with the USSA Mittelstadt Ski Jumping Award for his dedication and contributions to ski jumping officiating in the United States. His career in the sport lasted well over four decades.
The American Ski Jumping Hall of Fame was founded in 2006 and is dedicated to preserving the rich heritage of ski jumping in the United States. More information about the organization can be found at: www.americanskijumping.com.