Eighty years ago today, Carl Bechdolt, Jr. of Tahoe City was sitting on top of the world.
For starters, his father, Carl Andrew “Pop” Bechdolt, owned the Tahoe Inn, unofficial headquarters of all community activity.
Carl Jr. (or “The Hawk”, as he was known) was among local youngsters who had grown up under the influence of national ski competition, making a name for himself in the Ski Jumping and Slalom events.
Carl Jr.* turned 18 in May 1937, and that October married his sweetheart, Elsie Belle Brougher. (On May 13, 1938, the couple would become parents with the birth of their daughter Christine.)
And as if this wasn’t enough icing on Bechdolt’s cake, in December 1937 the Lake Tahoe Ski Club elevated him to their highest office. Here’s the story:
In the years leading up to World War II, young Bechdolt continued to win ski honors, including California State titles, but in 1943 he was stricken with polio and encephalitis, and was forced to retire from competition. In 1950 he and Elsie bought the Tahoe City Golf Course, and he took an active role in its operation until his death in May 1976.
Of course there is much more to the story of this Tahoe pioneer, but we will save it for another day.
* “Carl Jr.” was actually not a “junior.” His father’s full name was Carl Andrew Bechdolt and he was Carl Lawrence Bechdolt.