Bob Martin of Dubuque, billed as the world’s only Black ski jumper, takes off during a 1938-39 tournament at the Kaufmann Avenue slide. Below the ramp is Joe Danner, another jumper from Dubuque. The starter, on the scaffold, was identified as Leo Steffen. (Contributed by John J. Sprengelmeyer. Published in “Dubuque: the Birthplace of Iowa, Vol. II.”)

Dubuque skiers seven decades ago could hit the hilly slopes at two golf courses and soar off of a ski jump near Kaufmann Avenue.

A local ski club boasted 30 members in 1951, with popular venues including the hills at Bunker Hill Golf Course and the Dubuque Golf and Country Club. The ski jump near Kaufmann Avenue hosted competitions and featured lights for night skiing.

Here is how the Telegraph Herald reported on the ski scene in its Jan. 7, 1951, edition.



Dubuque’s a natural for skiing enthusiasts!

Although the snow is not always plentiful, sports lovers find the seven hills of “Little Rome” make skiing in Dubuque very good, and the sport has a wide range of followers from both sexes of all ages.

In the past, Dubuque has had several ski jump meets taking in a large section of the country.

The Dubuque Ski Club sponsors a jump on Kaufmann Avenue, and has lights there for night skiing.

According to William Koch Jr., ski club secretary, very few women are attracted to the jump, although one girl went about 45 feet last year.

“You don’t find many women jumpers anyway,” Koch said.

Members of the fairer sex in Dubuque seem to prefer the downhill runs at the Bunker Hill and the Dubuque golf clubs.

Koch says it is his group’s hope to someday be able to get tow lines for the runs.

Ernie Keller is president of the club. The ski club’s 30 members range in age from 11 to 46.

Mrs. William Koch Jr., one of the club’s followers, says she learned most of her skiing from her husband, who began the sport at the age of 13, and was a member of the ski troops during the last war.

Mrs. Koch thinks it is wisest for beginning skiers to go with someone who knows the fundamentals, and not to start on a steep hill.

She thinks the best time to ski is after a snowfall, when you have a soft bed “on which to fall.” She says different people like different kinds of snow. Her husband prefers a light crust.

Two kinds of skiing are the downhill, where one goes straight down the hill, and slalom skiing, which is sort of a crisscrossing down a slope.

The season in Dubuque usually lasts from the first of December through February. However, last year it was good for only five outings. This year, the enthusiasts began about the first of November and will probably be able to continue skiing through half of March.

Clothing should be loose-fitting and water-repellent. A hat, of course, is to the wearer’s choosing. Ski boots help the foot fit better into the skis.

Another enthusiast is Miss Bernadine Lange, who began skiing at the age of 7.

Giving some pointers on how to get up the hill once you arrive at the bottom, Miss Lange says you can use the herring bone, a special step where the backs of the skis are close together and the tips are far apart, or tamping. This is going up sideways.