....Dateline: Falun – This
is a charming 1,000 year old town of about 50,000 people near
the geographic center of Sweden, northwest of Stockholm.
....Falun is noted in history
as the Copper Town. For it was from here in the 17th Century
that two thirds of the world’s Copper was mined and
smelted from a single mine – that still operates!
....The surrounding area is a
lakes, farms and forest – a setting not uncommon to
many parts of picturesque Scandinavia.
....It was time again for the
World Chain Saw Competition for Loggers. And here we were
all the way from little old British Columbia to uphold Cana-dian
loggers’ chain saw skills against teams from 12 other
....This marked our fourth trip
to Europe and this time the Swedes were our hosts. And very
generous and kind hosts they were. From the moment we landed
at Stockholm’s airport they looked after all our wants.
Excellent housing, great food and a language mix to keep everyone
....The countries competing were
Fin-land, Norway, Denmark, The Nether-lands, Hungary, Czechoslovakia,
Rus-sia, Poland, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Rom-ania, Sweden and
....If you recall last year’s
competition that I reported on from Finland (BCL, Oct. ’83)
you might remember that we took a new team made up Wayne LeBlanc,
Bryan couture and Ralph Bischoff, with Gord Hart as technical
chief. We added Glen Erickson as a tree climber when our hosts
asked us to put on a Canadian logging show after the competition
. And to add some color to our shy little group we welcomed
two dear ladies – Judy Hart and Jan Moore. A fine lot!
....Our new team had been surprised
last year at the expertise of the European loggers with their
chain saws. Gord and I were not, for we had seen them in action
many times and their competitiveness were something to be
....One should remember that
Canadian contests. It was an afternoon of good practice and
our team felt they were ready for tomorrow.
....We were taken from the practice
area to our lodgings and a bit later were bussed into the
downtown square of Falun for our official reception by leaders
of he competition and the town representatives. It
was a rather nice
young Swedish ladies dressed in traditional costumes leading
each team, with a brass band out front
Our flags all flew high and it should be noted that Bryan
Couture loves a par-
ade – flags, bands, costumes et al. Right on Bryan!
....The next day was the real
thing out in the forest. A 70 acre site had been felled and
logged except for the compe-tition felling trees. These were
in groups – all marked with the competitors’ numbers.
All contestants had drawn their numbers the evening beforehand
as one logger finished falling his tree another logger was
called to pre-pare his tree.
....The tree felling drew a crowd
of about 2,500. Considering the show was out in the forest
and the spectators were held back a long distance from the
felled trees, it was a compliment to the competition that
so many turned out. The day was cloudy but cool compe-tition
weather. There was a bit of puffy wind that affected the points
of many loggers – including us. But our boys hung in
and we came ninth out of 18. Not bad for a second year. Wait
....Gord Hart was not in the
judges’ pool that day and was therefore able to stay
with the boys and pick up on the wrongs we did. We had great
talks that evening back at our motel and like most champions
all the loggers are free with tips and new ideas to help each
other. This is where the interpreters come in handy, as the
mix of languages gets quite heavy in a crowded room.
....The next morning we were
all bussed to the bottom of Falun’s giant ski jump.
This site played host to the World Ski Championships in 1954