Spokane

Olaus Jeldness

Olaus Jeldness

Olaus Jeldness was a "mining man," but he is a legend in Rossland, British Columbia, not for his accomplishments in mining, but for his exploits on skis. Yet, despite his local fame, surprisingly little is known about his life and some of the details regularly repeated in the extant literature are incorrect.  In his adult life, skiing was important, at times a basic means of locomotion in winter, but more generally a relaxing and exhilarating relief from the stresses and anxieties of dangerous and demanding everyday activities.  However, at root his life was an odyssey through the mining camps of North America (and some in Europe), in a determined quest for ever elusive riches, always guided by the optimistic belief that the next hole in the ground would deliver the big bonanza.  His personal bonanza was found on an isolated mountainside outside Rossland. It gave him a modest personal fortune and for an extended time he led a prosperous life style.  However, he died in less than prosperous circumstances, a victim of his own speculative nature and the depression of the 1930s.  This paper reports what I have discovered in my attempt to understand Olaus Jeldness and his life.