Curling, ski jumping, ‘Silver Skates’ and more — our favorite sports from winters past – Chicago Tribune newstrendslive

It’s a busy day in history, Chicago.

Yes, today marks 37 years since the Chicago Bears won Super Bowl XX.

It’s also the 56th anniversary of the “Blizzard of 1967,” which dropped 23 inches of snow on Chicago and stands as the largest snowfall on record here.

But we’ve already covered those monumental events in previous editions of the Vintage Chicago Tribune newsletter.

My co-curator Marianne Mather had a fantastic idea when she suggested we revisit wintry outdoor activities that Chicagoans have loved for generations. She found these beautiful photos in the Tribune’s archives. And, since we finally have a little snow on the ground and below-freezing temperatures waiting for us next week, then let’s get outside!

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Follow us on Instagram — @vintagetribune.

And, catch me Monday mornings on WLS-AM’s “The Steve Cochran Show” for a look at “This week in Chicago history.”

Thanks for reading!

— Kori Rumore, visual reporter

Chicago history | More newsletters | Puzzles & Games | Today’s eNewspaper edition

Chris Richelson, Robert Lawrie, Joe Wallace and Malcolm MacKenzie, all members of the Chicago Curling Club, circa February 1929 at the Washington Park rink. The caption that ran in the paper with this photo reads, "The man with the broom plays a most important part of the game. It's his job to clear each minute obstruction from the path of the stone so that it nestles in one of the scoring zones."

In a long, low Washington Park building around the turn of the last century, the sport of curling arrived in Chicago. The popularity of the Scotland import grew, and the Chicago Curling Club formed and continues to operate today. See more photos.

Children skate on the South Pond at Lincoln Park during the opening day of ice skating season for the Chicago Park District, circa 1946.

Whether it’s on a pond, lagoon or formal ice rink, Chicagoans have always loved this winter activity. See more photos.

The first ever Chicago Ski Tournament held at Soldiers' Field on Feb. 16, 1936. A huge slide was erected on the South end of the lakefront arena where an unemployed road worker from Minnesota, Eugene Wilson, 22, won the tournament with a 68 foot jump.

In the early 1920s and 1930s, ski jump contests and ski culture were thriving in the Midwest. See more photos.

  • At the Norge Ski Club in Fox River Grove, growing Olympic ski jumpers starts young.
  • From 2018: So you want to try ski jumping? Are you nuts?
  • Chicago’s Soldier Field: A timeline of events since 1924, including hosting the world’s athletes, congregations, politicians and performers
Speedskaters continue through the halfway mark of the men's two mile Silver Skates title race at Garfield Park on Jan. 17, 1943. At the rear is Del Lamb, of Milwaukee, see arrow, who moved up for an easy victory. The four leaders in the photo are, from right, James De Swarte, Bill Carnduff, Al Perry and Chuck Edwards, all unplaced at the finish.

The first international skating competition in Chicago was held in 1918, the Tribune reported, and it came as skating was booming in popularity. Speedskating was a relatively young sport — the first world championship was organized in 1893 — but drew large crowds in Chicago for local races as early as 1904.

About 30,000 saw Arthur Staff win the inaugural Tribune-sponsored Silver Skates tournament at the Humboldt Park Lagoon in January 1917, according to the Tribune. The Silver Skates Derbies, a Tribune-sponsored race, grew rapidly during this time. A boys division was added in 1919. Women first raced in 1921, and a girls division followed in 1922. The Silver Skates competition continues today. See more photos.

Olympian Cammi Granato visits Highland Elementary School in Downers Grove where she attended as a child, Feb. 26, 1998.

How many local athletes have won gold medals in the Olympics? Really, it’s difficult to know. It’s tricky to track since the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee only keeps tabs on an athlete’s birthplace and hometown.

That said, here are four stories of triumph in the Tribune’s archives spanning from 1932′s Winter Games to an iconic race by Chicago-raised and Evanston-trained speedskater Shani Davis in 2006. Read more.

Join our Chicagoland history Facebook group and follow us on Instagram for more from Chicago’s past.

Have an idea for Vintage Chicago Tribune? Share it with Ron Grossman and Marianne Mather at and

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