Norwegians Started It All
How Ski Jumping Inspired Hoofers
In 1919, a group of Norwegian students shared their love of skiing with the University by constructing a wooden ski jump on Muir Knoll. The popularity of the ski jump planted the seed for what would eventually become the Wisconsin Hoofers, a set of outdoors-related clubs at the Wisconsin Union.
Twelve years later, a committee of students and faculty, including former Wisconsin Union Director Porter Butts, began the process of establishing a skiing and outing club. They posted a sign on the Union bulletin board that read, Please sign here if you're interested in participating in an outing club with skiing, camping, and canoeing as a prospect.
Their first meeting of seven people was held in the basement of the old president's house at Park and Langdon Streets. Student Henry Baker was named president. Sally Owen Marshall, the first woman on the ski jump, designed the logo: a black horseshoe superimposed on a red W. The logo signified that Hoofers go places under their own power along with a symbol of good luck.
Over the next few years, Hoofers began building up their outings and sporting equipment to include skis, toboggans, archery, and more. By the end of the 1930s, the clubs moved their operations into the theater wing of Memorial Union, where they can still be found.