I've been absent from Epic for quite awhile.
In a recent thread I was given a link to Ski Magazine's archives. In there I saw an old article of a workout by Willie Schaffler.
It reminded me of my good friend Dave Miller who passed away last June.
Dave skied for Willie at DU. He was a member of the DU team of 1954 that was inducted into the DU Hall of Fame in 1999.
He was an Associate Coach for the US Ski Team in Central Division for many years.
He also flew a T34 Mentor with the "Warbirds" at Oshkosh and other air shows.
As a WW II aircraft geek, one of the biggest thrills of my life was flying with Dave in an actual warbird.
The 1954 Men's Ski Team
In 1954 the University of Denver ski team began a remarkable run of dominance in the winter sport. It was at the conclusion of the 1954 season that the Pioneers captured the first of 14 national championship titles. In fact from 1954 to 1972 the Pioneers never finished lower than runner-up in the most prestigious collegiate skiing competition in the country. It was just the second season legendary coach Willy Schaeffer was the team's head coach and it was the first of 13 national crowns for Schaeffer while coaching the Pioneers. The Pioneers finished ahead of Seattle for the national crown in 1954 and the team was led by Marvin Crawford, Willis S. Olson and John L'Orange. Crawford, who was inducted into DU"s Athletic Hall of Fame in it inaugural year, had a banner season in '54 as he captured the national championship in the individual cross country competition as well as the skimeister event. Olson and L'Orange each won national titles as well. Olson was the NCAA champion in the jumping event and L'Orange was the NCAA slalom champion. For Olson it marked the start of three consecutive ski jumping titles he would win, which still ranks tied as the NCAA record for consecutive national championships won. Only three other times in DU skiing history have the Pioneers had four individual champions in one season. Other members of the 1954 ski team are Gary Bubeck, John Cress, Glynn Cress, Rusty Crook, Stanley Driskoll, Ole C. Gotaas, Gunnar Jansen, Gerald McClellan, David Miller, Dave Shaw, Dale Thompson, Francis Wallace and Alvin Wegeman. No all-America ski team was chosen until the 1956 season. The other members of the 1982 championship gymnastics team included Toni Anderson, Joyce Marie Boyle, Rebecca Brown, Lori Avis, Linda Kring and Jackie Martinez.
The pastor that held his memorial service was a former Viet Nam fighter pilot and for the closing read the poem "Flight" which I had always found inspirational.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, --and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of --Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air...
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew --
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
Skiing is the closest that I've ever come to those feelings but Dave did both.
Farewell my friend