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One of the Great Ones...Jerry "Bergie" Berg - Page 2

post #31 of 99

Another blast from the past: Bergie in 1974. Going to miss you Bergie, 

post #32 of 99


Conehead, I do miss you as well.  You and Bergie were quite the funny team.  Bergie was a great guy -- don't let anyone know how very kind hearted he was.  He hid that behind his sarcastic wit, but he really was charming.  I tried to follow in your footsteps and was the race chairman for ...ohh... I am not sure, 10 or 15 years.  Bergie was my idol, no one on Vail Mountain was ever as powerful and graceful a skier - maybe a couple of the better WC racers.  Was it Bergie that put the Potatos on your car "Spudman"?

post #33 of 99
Thread Starter 
Remember JJ's.

JJ's? John (Johny Mogul)--so you must be the other "J" in JJ's! I've long wondered about that!

The season I spent at Vail, working with Bergie out of Gold Peak, was one of my best and most memorable ever, largely because of Bergie. A few of us were out skiing with him one day, and someone (might have been me) asked in jest "how come there's no trail named after you here at Vail, Bergie?" "There is," he replied. "Follow me, and I'll show you." He led us down Riva Ridge, past Tourist Trap, and then stopped abruptly on the right side with his ski tips extended out over a very steep, nasty looking little pitch littered with boulders and stumps, bare spots where the snow had slid to the ground, and a handful of trees, that dropped directly into a small pond at the bottom. He proceeded to tell us the story of how he and another person had skied it once, twenty years earlier or something like that, and somehow ended up in the pond, and that the following summer they hiked back up to the spot and put a little commemorative sign high in a tree to mark the spot. Then he pointed straight across at a tree in the ravine, at about eye level to where we were standing, and sure enough, there was a tiny blue sign that read "JJ's."

Then we thought about skiing it. It looked all but impossible to ski without causing significant rock damage to our skis, at least, but Bergie looked at it and deciphered a route. "You just have to launch off that boulder heading to the right and land in that little spot of clean snow next to the trees on the right side, balanced and on edge for a tight left turn back into the middle...just don't hit that tree...and stay out of the pond....easy!" I looked doubtful, but then Bergie launched and skied it exactly as he had described, a perfect, flowing, run of extraordinary linked, precision direction changes and air that looked like he did it every day, and skied out at the bottom. It only took a moment--couldn't have been more than about five or six turns long--and he made it look so easy. One after the other, we followed and survived, dry, somehow--surely without anything resembling the effortless grace of Bergie's perfect demonstration.

So I've skied JJ's, and a couple times since, for good measure. I'll have to do it again sometime, in his honor. But I long ago forgot who he said the second J was. I guess it was you!

Welcome to EpicSki, John (and also to all of the others who have signed on for the first time here to reminisce and honor Bergie's memory). Thanks for another reminder of how much Bergie has meant to so many of us. I still cannot believe this--seems surreal.

Best regards,
post #34 of 99


I will always remember the first time I skied with you and Bergie.  When we skied toward Challenge and I was just trying so hard to keep up, I didn't stop at the top and ended up flying off, landing about half way down the run without any equipment.  I can't believe neither of you laughed, you were both concerned and I earned a hot chocolate!  Barb Smith

post #35 of 99

Skiing the Zoo in the heart of the Indiana Alps. As stated;  it's where it all began. 

post #36 of 99



I'm floored to hear of the loss of Bergie. That's me with my elbow resting at Jerry's left foot. I was perhaps 20 years old when this picture was taken and a Ski Professional on Aspen Mountain at the time with Jerry and Paul Ruid (standing, top right) as my superiors. I was heavily influenced by Jerry's presence. There were times when Jerry frustrated me greatly - those times were few, the were primarily centered around him trying to assist, mold, direct a young, cocky kid who had been raised in Aspen and knew little of worldly things. I no longer ski but am now an educator in triathlon and living in Los Angeles. I probably use one or two things that Jerry taught me about athletics, movement analysis and motivation with athletes here every day.  He's extended reach is wide and ever expanding. I still get back to Colorado often to visit my mom, high school class mates Katie and Megan Harvey and others. I kept expecting and looking forward to bumping into Bergie. This is just a reminder to actively make those things happen rather than waiting for them to occur.


You'll be missed Jerry.

Ian Murray

post #37 of 99

Life goes fast. So did Jerry Berg

It is with sadness and shock I read this notice about Jerry Berg.  He worked so hard against the odds in his early career to get to the top.  He was an unbelievable skier and more than that an unbelievable athlete; and yes he could bowl like a Midwestern maniac. I was always scared skiing with Jerry.  Go fast and don't fall was no joke.  I am not sure I fully appreciated his unbelievable athletic skill back then in Vail but he had that incredible talent you couldn't hold back.  I am only sorry for me that I did not see him more.  Last time was in Crested Butte at least 12 years ago.  He was still a powerful force and personality,  pressing the edge of life even then.  It was like we had never been apart even though it had been at least nine or ten years.  I drank a tequila with him like I was still 20 and actually thought of staying in Crested Butte and not going home.  My better judgement kicked in.  I wish his family and friends my most sincere condolences. Life goes fast so don't slow down.


Roland Wick

post #38 of 99

it is bittersweet to see so many old friends reunite. It sounds like it has been far too long in many cases. I hope you get to see each other on happier terms next time. 


For those that are new to Epicski today. Please hang around, we would love to have your experience and knowledge as part of our community. 












Edit: fix typo

post #39 of 99

This news certainly caught me by surprise.  The world has lost one of the nicest and most genuine people to walk this Earth.  My favorite weekend of the year has always been and will always be our annual pilgrimage to Alta with Scotty, Hobie, Ed, Burl, Bergie, Tim and Dave.  While the periphery of the group would alter from year to year, Bergie always made sure he made it.  I'll always have fond memories of he and Scotty doing loop after loop on Collins from top to bottom and not stopping until the lifts shut at 4:30pm...Followed of course by a few cold ones in the Sitz.  Or the time Scotty donned your circa 1980 white one piece USA skiing suit.... You are a good man Bergie and you will be sorely missed by one and all.  Your Friend, Dan

post #40 of 99

In response to Martin Bell.


High praise. He inspired me, made me work to get better. Hugely entertaining.  He was a sort of American Hans K (but without the chain smoking).  Life is always too short, my heart goes out to his kids.

post #41 of 99

So sorry to hear the news. I'll truly miss our days of ripping the bumps...always pushing it. And our conversations about what we would do if we owned the ski resort and what we'd do different. I hope the bumps are big and soft up there. See you later.

post #42 of 99

Hello Tim.  Thanks for sharing your story about the exam in Steamboat.  It's so painful but at the same time so comforting to hear about everyone's bond with Jerry.  I never called him "Bergie" but I know that was a term of endearment.  I hope you are well and I am sorry to contact you at such a sad time.  I am still waiting to hear about the service/memorial for Jerry.  Best to you Tim.  Gina Hoag

post #43 of 99


Have to connect at 50th reunion. We will all raise a toast to Bergie!

Glad you held the race committee together all those years, did not know that.

Look forward to catching up.


post #44 of 99

You didn't have to experience his teaching skills to take a liking to him. It was his sense of humor, and his honest to god sense of compassion that added to his charisma. Jerry always seemed to have a reason to laugh, or a way to make you laugh.

post #45 of 99

I am in China right now and am devastated of this news about Jerry! I am sick to my stomach at the feeling that someone so full of life and energy and love for all the the things that we all cherish could leave us so soon in life! The love of skiing the mountains, biking, hiking and just being in the in the mountains!  I was looking so forward to seeing him at the Vail 50th reunion in September!  Truly an incredible skier and technician and truly a very special person. He was also doing such a great job with the Facebook posting hundreds of historical photos of the best of "Ski School Years"  I will grieve his passing!!!  Love to all that loved him!  RIP Jerry! We will miss you so!

post #46 of 99

'Well said, Bob. Bergie was "one of a kind" and an inspiration to many of us. Bergie always held us at the higest standards and encouraged us to do our best, no excuse. He was like "Tinker Bell" on skis as he had such a magic touch in every condition. He made us laugh, cry and perform. Bergie is a legend and his twinking eyes and smile will forever be etched in my soul.


Annie Emich Black

post #47 of 99

Thanks so much for a brilliantly written piece to help us who never met Bergie to get a glimpse into the marvelous life and contribution this terrific guy made to skiing and learning to do it with passion and excellence.  Thanks again.  Marilyn Lake  (Winnii)

post #48 of 99

Thanks so much for making all of us nubes feel so welcome, really appreciated.  xox M

post #49 of 99

John Boy!  I love you broh!  This is terrible news!  Miss you and love you!  Hope to see you at the 50th!  Send me your email! dhchilds12@aol.com  Get on Facebook!

Regards to all up there! David Childs

post #50 of 99
post #51 of 99

Post pics or videos on facebook.com/skilikethat

post #52 of 99

Hey, did you hear the one about Bergie going for his "Full Cert" in the 70's @ Rib Mtn in WI.  The day of the exam it was 20 below & Bergie was wearing "SCOTT BOOTS".  Needless to say he froze his feet.  He froze them so bad, he had to be carried off the hill.  Later in the hospital as his feet were thawing, he found out he was the only one who passed the exam....The next season I believe he moved to Vail & was on different boots!  Bergie was special - RIP

RG/ Crested Butte

post #53 of 99

Wow what a shocker. I admired Bergie from afar. I never had the opportunity to be in a clinic with Jerry on snow, but I remember one time watching him move toward a lift line from an on snow clinic meeting area. The way he glided effortlessly across the flats, poles in one hand, some sort of paper in the other, a score card I think. For me it was the epitome of efficiency of movement. I think about it often as I watch skiers move across the snow.


I did, however, have the opportunity to have Bergie in an indoor MA clinic when I was studying for full-cert. During the lunch break at the local pub, I jokingly asked him what I needed to do to attain Level III. He told me I needed to stop drinking beer (ha ha). It was an example of what others have been saying here, about being a relentless task master, with a sharp wit, and little sympathy for anyone who didn't try their best. For me he was telling me to step up my game, take the task seriously, and do my best.


Those two small experiences have stuck with me and have continued to inspired me.  Rest in peace, Jerry. Wish I could have skied with you.



post #54 of 99

So many of us continue to navigate those steeps and deeps in Aspen with just a little better precision – it’s because of you, Jerry.   Ski in peace

post #55 of 99

Jerry was just a fixture in Vail. We never tired of his antics.  He will be sorely missed.  Jean

post #56 of 99

If anyone has the time, I believe the Memorial for Bergie will be Sunday at 3PM

The location right now is the Donovan Pavilion - however they are still trying to get Ford Park.


I think that we should also plan a meeting time and place at the 50th reunion in Vail.

Any ideas?  Billy Suarez's restaurant "Billy's Island Grill"  ??

post #57 of 99

"SKIING'S BEST"   You didn't have to know Jerry Berg personally to know Jerry Berg. He has influenced 100"s of us who never knew him personally, those who did know him personally, what a gift. Bergie's best was skiing's best.

post #58 of 99

I love seeing all of the first time (or nearly so) posters who have come to this thread to pay respects.  What a gift that a person's Life Well Lived and a website can bring those who live Life well together...  Thanks for stopping by, I regret the circumstances.


It has been a tragic joy to watch folks respond to Bob's beginning to this remembrance; I have held back from posting because I never knew Jerry 'round here.  a few months ago, I got to see Jerry ski on Bob's Crudology vimeo, and of all of the skilled contributors, Jerry's brief segment embodied what I hope to pursue well ('master' is too presumptuous).  


His exit was too early (I never got to meet him and bust his balls), but even now he is that giving fellow you all remember.

post #59 of 99

I taught and trained with Bergie in Vail for many years.  He was not only a superb skier, he was a great story teller.  What follows is my attempt to retell my favorite, with apologies to those who know better, if I have some details wrong.  


So our boy goes off to France for the first time, speaking no French, to be one of the first, if not the first, "Americain" to attempt French cert.  He doesn't know much about what to expect, but gathers quickly that, especially for the one "Americain", this is more a question of what the esteemed auto racing commentator, David Hobbs, calls "large attachments", than anything else!  


So he decides the winning strategy is to be right on the tail of "Le Professeur" no matter what.  "Le Professeur" is, of course, a superb, brave, and aggressive skier, but he says almost nothing - ever.  JB, having never skied in "Les Alpes" before, has never seen such hard snow, such steep chutes, etc., but he is not deterred, and for two days, every time "Le Professeur" turns around, there is Jerry, smiling warmly.  


On the third day, part way down a tough run, "Le Professeur" looks over his shoulder and quickly says "Be careful!"  Please imagine Jerry telling this with a French accent :-).  Needless to say, that got super skier's attention, but he managed to make the jump, and go between the rocks, still right on LP's butt.  


On the final day, LP drops in to a tuck at the top of a steep chute with what looks like a "whoopie jump" at the bottom, and just as he is gathering speed, LP looks over his shoulder and says "be careful" again - and then a few seconds later, while approaching the sound barrier, comes "be careful" again!  Now he really has super skier's attention, but both of them go flying into the dip before the jump, up...and over a cut through a big snow bank that has two railroad tracks at the bottom.  


LP landed with JB right on his butt.


The candidates were staying in a cold wooden dorm building, but they only saw the "Professeurs" during the ski day, and got no feedback on their efforts for the entire week.  They expected to see the "Professeurs" the morning after the last day, but no, all they saw was a single sheet, posted on the back of the front door, announcing who passed, and who failed.


Our boy passed, of course.


Thanks for the great memories, Jerry.  My only regret is that we never got in that last bike ride.



post #60 of 99

Bergie and I became fast friends training each others butts of for certification on a little mid-west hill the season of 74-75 (yes we both passed)..  What followed was all these years of great friendship, sharing our love of skiing together whenever we could and lots and lots of laughter.  One of those unique days with Bergie I'll share was spring skiing at Vail back in the late '70's.  Bergie thought he could find some North facing power in the trees out past Game Creek Bowl and finish the day with a run down the infamous "Road to Minturn"'.  So Bergie leads my buddie Dave Evrard and I through some pretty good powder tree skiing, but by the time we got down into the "Road" it was late in the day and the spring slush was setting up (hard!) so the real fun begins.  Bergie stepped into a set of the frozen ski (think slot car) tracks and looked over his shoulder with that shit-eat'n grin of his and said: "follow me, keep up, and jump where I jump!".  What ensued was the human carnival ski-ride of all time.  A wall embankment on the right and a drop-off to the creek on the left and stuck in icy fast frozen tracks flyin tips-to-tails behind Bergie up down over and around with no way to try and check speed (not that we woulda if we coulda).  Whooping, hollering, and laughing, jumping over streams across the path, about as much fun scared to death I've ever had.  Legs fried I finally bailed out into a field and David wound up doing a Wylie Coyote body implant into a wall of snow. When we caught up to Bergie in Minturn he was smiling, laughing and half way thru his first beer, but ours were set up on the table.  I miss you Bergie, you will always be a dear to my heart and a special aspect of my life's experiences.  Roger Kane

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