Nels Nelsen came to Canada in 1912 and settled in Revelstoke. Considered one of the most active promoters of skiing in Western Canada, he was largely responsible for bringing “big–time” ski jumping to Revelstoke. Nelsen was inducted into the National Ski Hall of Fame, the Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame in 1982, and the Canadian Ski Museum in 1983.

Nelsen assisted with the formation of the Revelstoke Ski Club in 1915 and organized the first local ski tournament on the slopes of Mt. Revelstoke. In 1916, he unofficially broke the world ski jump record on Mt. Revelstoke with a distance of 183 feet and he continued to break his own records for the next decade. In 1925, on Revelstoke’s Suicide Hill he set a new world distance record of 240 feet, which stood for seven years.

Nelsen had designed and built Suicide Hill in Revelstoke National Park. It was later renamed “Nels Nelsen Hill” in his memory in 1949.

Nelsen was appointed Western vice-president of the Canadian Amateur Ski Association in 1934 and played a large part in uniting the western ski clubs and aligning them with the eastern clubs of the CASA.