Putting Olaus Jeldness on a pedestal...forever
After taking his towering bronze form in China, being shipped across the seas, and getting his skis repaired in Trail, Olaus Jeldness finally stands on Rossland’s busiest corner framed by Red Mountain, his old stomping grounds.
“He was the first ski bum here and he’s happy to be back in town,” said Roly Worsfold, the president of the Spirit of Red, the organization that made this dream a reality over the last two and a half years.
Fundraising began in earnest back in early 2011, and about this time last year a bronze “mini Olaus” turned up and made the rounds for the 115th Winter Carnival—an event instituted by Olaus himself in a legendary race from the top of Red to Columbia Ave. in 1896. Finally, the real deal was cast in bronze and shipped.
“We used all the pictures we had and worked with a Chinese artist,” Worsfold said. “He gave us a product that is just incredible, it’s better than we ever dreamed.”
“The lights are great, and he’s a good looking man,” Worsfold continued. “We’ve already had a drink with him. A day like this he’d probably be planning a ‘tea party’ on Red, which we can see right behind him.”
“He’s got the longest skis in town, which he always wanted. They are early rise,” Worsfold joked, referring to modern ski technology. “Nice sidecut, but no tail riser.”
“He didn’t like being on a ship that much: his skis got a little damaged. He didn’t like Trail all that much either, where the ski tips were repaired. But now he’s happy to have snow on his shoulders again,” Worsfold said as a light snow fell.
“There’s maintenance,” Worsfold added. “He’s waxed and looked after twice per year.” The statue gets a hot wax every fall that is removed and replaced with a cold wax in spring.”
Unexpected costs, such as the repairs, have left the Spirit of Red “broke again,” Worsfold said. “We’re back to looking funds, but that’s alright, we’ll pay the bills on our credit cards,” he laughed.
“We’re stoked,” he said. “The Spirit of Red did a great job, everyone involved did great work. It was just awesome. The generosity of everyone in town and the sponsors was amazing—It’s a people project.”
Worsfold paused to look up and down Columbia Ave. “It might just be the start. I think a lot of people in this town would look good in bronze.”
The official unveiling of Olaus will take place in a ceremony during the 116th Winter Carnival in January, hopefully attended by dignitaries from Norway.