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Dick Durrance RIP

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
post #2 of 6
Very sorry to hear this about a true legend!

post #3 of 6
I chatted with Dick Durrance a few years ago when he autographed a copy of his book for me. We had met once before. Almost 40 years ago a friend and I were standing outside the entrance to Loveland Basin with rucksacks and skis, trying to hitch a ride over the pass. Three fellows in a Land Rover stopped and asked if we wanted to ski the Mine Dump area with them. We would have to take our turns with the driving, shuttling thr Rover back down the pass to the pickup point. One of the three was Dick Durrance. I thought of him as old then, although he must have been only in his late 40's. I was startled, for some reason, that he was still around. He was a hero from the legendary , almost prehistoric days of skiing which seemed impossibly far off. We had a great day skiing untracked powder in this area off of Loveland Pass. These guys had what they referred to as a "cabin" tucked away off one of their secret ski runs. It looked to be some kind of canvas thing, held up by metal poles, a makeshift tent, I guess. They referred to it as their "zip cabin". We didn't have our sleeping bags so we declined their gracious invitation and hitched our way back to Boulder.
Just one day of skiing, many years ago, but a memory I treasure, skiing deep powder under that incredibly blue sky with the old-timers. I'll never forget their enthusiasm for skiing and the generosity in their willingness to share it with us.
post #4 of 6
I believe I saw Dick Durrance skiing Ajax in 1991. On a rare trip for me to Aspen in 1991 I came upon an older man (age 75-80) picking his way with great precision and control through a fairly tough mogul field on Ajax Mtn. I regret that I didn't stop to make a little small talk with him. He was small in stature with a distinctive face and I remember thinking at the time "hmm...could it be Durrance?" Later while I was riding a lift, I saw him on the same terrain again. Most unusual to see someone at that age seeking out repeat runs on moguls. I'll never know for sure, but whoever that man was he could still gracefully tackle the mountain in his old age.
Anybody know if Dick Durrance could have been in Aspen and skiing Ajax during March of 1991?
post #5 of 6
I understand he was living in the Aspen area so it may have been him. Durrance's book "The Man On the Medal" provides a good look at an earlier era of skiing in the U.S., by the way. Thinking back on the book and my own childhood skiing experiences makes me realize how far skiing has come from what another poster characterized elsewhere as an "earlier grittier period of skiing". Some of the qualities which have largely passed from the scene, along with the heroes of an earlier era, are what I would once have thought of as the heart and soul of the sport. Skiing certainly is a different animal today.
post #6 of 6

Durrance is the man who gave birth to...

...such "big feats" skiers as the core Squallywood folks frequently seen in Warren Miller movies, the great Seth Morrison, the unbelievably inventive Shane McConkey...

Durrance lives on through those skiers, who continue to pursue athletic limits on skis the same way Durrance did after his racing career.
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