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Met Ski Hall of Famers?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

This might be fun.  Not meant to be merely a name dropping exercise, but for fun anecdotes and appreciation of the history of our great sport!

Some of you are in the US National Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame. Some of you have relatives who are members, or routinely interact with friends that are in it. Some of you have never heard of it.

How many members of the US National Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame have you met in person? Check the membership list here:

Half credit if you've met one of the 2009 nominees:

Might also get partial credit for near misses if story is particularly good.

My modest tally: 2.5.  My kids and I had a friendly encounter with gold medalist Tommy Moe when he made an appearance at a 2004 ski shop sale in my area, spoke with Hans Gmoser (founder of Canadian Mtn Holidays) while attending reception in his honor hosted by the Ambassador at the Canadian Embassy in Wash DC in Apr 2006, had a fine chat with 2009 nominee Sepp Kober (Father of Southern Skiing) during a visit to his ski operation at The Homestead, Virginia in 2005.

post #2 of 15
When I was 11 I skied with Diane Roffe, the Olympic Gold Medalist in 1994, for two days. She was great and taught me a lot of tricks (some which I have forgotten unfortunately).
post #3 of 15
Not a US hall of famer but I did talk to Franz Klammer on the phone once. The only reason I remember this is I had to tell my manager Hans that Franz called and wanted him to call him back. And no I was not able to keep a straight face while doing so.
post #4 of 15
 I went through the list of Hall of Fame Members, and it was a bittersweet exercise.  I spent some years in ski retailing back in the 60's, and skied mostly in Colorado since the mid 40's.  Given all that time many of the members I met are deceased now, hence the bittersweet reference.  I found 20 I could claim to have met, talked with, and/or been on the hill with, but far behind as my skills didn't match theirs.  I won't list any names as most would no longer be remembered here.  They were giants in their time and I feel lucky to have met them.
post #5 of 15
I skied with Bumpfreaq    OK not quite hall of fame skills yet, but world class cool dude.

When I was a teenager the USSA Junior Freestyle Champion was on my team.  His name was Tom Kelly (Kelley?) but there's another USSA racer guy with that same name about the same age, completely different people..
post #6 of 15

Like a lot of people who've skied Steamboat, I had the pleasure of skiing with Billy Kidd once. Also skied with the Mahre brothers, sort of, once on Mt Hood. And I skied powder with some of the Italian slalom/GS team once at Made.

I've skied with Nobody.

post #7 of 15
Thanks for the link to the membership list, Jamesj.  

Like JTNSKIS, I had fun reading through those names of people who have meant so much to this sport we all love.  I've been lucky enough to meet and/or ski with quite a few of the skiers on that list and every single encounter was a thrill. 

For terms of this thread, my most fond memory would be the day I skied with three future Hall of Famers in a single day.

It was in March of 1984 and the U S Nationals ski races were being held at Jackson Hole.  This was a few weeks after Phil Mahre had won his Olympic gold medal in slalom at Sarajevo and it was 20 years after Pepi Stiegler won his slalom gold at Innsbruck.  Phil was in Jackson to forerun the races and Pepi, of course, was the Ski School Director at Jackson Hole.

There were two U S Ski Team photographers in town for the races and somebody from the ski team had the brainstorm that it would be cool to get some shots of Phil and Pepi skiing together.  I was a backcountry ski guide working for the ski school at the time, so Pepi was my boss.

So this one morning I'm walking by the office and Pepi asks me for a favor.  He explains that they want to do this photo thing and the photographers want Phil and Pepi skiing "untracked" snow together - in sunshine.  Pepi wanted to know if I could act as the guide to take them out of bounds to some untracked snow.  Well, it hadn't snowed at Jackson for at least a couple of weeks and it had been sunny pretty much the whole time.  That meant that the only "powder" around would have to be somewhere north-facing and out of the sun, but the photographers wanted their shots to be in sunshine.  So, I told Pepi I could take them to untracked snow but I doubted that it would be "powder".  We had a little pow-wow with the photo guys and they decided that sunshine and no tracks trumped snow quality, so I say fine - I know where we can go.  We made plans to get our stuff together and meet at the tram in half an hour.

When we all gathered at the tram, we had quite an entourage.  Pepi thought there should be a patroller with us and one of the ski corp marketing guys came along.  A former U S Ski Team member who happened to be in Jackson for a promo showed up as well - Suzy Chaffee! So, our group consisted of me as the guide, the marketing guy as the host, the patroller as the tail gunner, two ski team photographers, and future U S Ski Hall of Famers Pepi Stiegler, Phil Mahre, and Suzy Chaffee.

This was during Suzy's phase as the Suzy Chapstick girl and she was also skiing the freestyle circuit as a ballet skier.  Her skis of choice that day were 160cm Hart Ballet skis, which were probably about 60mm underfoot.  These turned out to be a relatively poor choice as a tool for the conditions we would encounter.  Phil was on his K2 VO Slaloms and Pepi was on Kastle GS skis that had about as much flex as the Washington Monument.  This was, of course, years before fat skis would appear on the horizon.

We all went up the tram headed out of bounds.  My destination was a big, open snowfield at the top of Pinedale Canyon, which is the third canyon south of the ski area boundary.  I knew this would be untracked because I had looked at it the day before from the top of Four Pines.  I also knew that the snow would be - at best - zipper crust.  But it WOULD be untracked and it WOULD be in the sun.

After a mini-slog of sidestep traversing across Cody Bowl, Rock Springs, and Green River, we finally arrived at the top of Pinedale.  It was a brilliant sunshiny day and the snowfield was - as predicted - untracked.  I skied down to mark the edge of where they should ski and it SUCKED.  A "mild" sun crust could be somewhat skiable on those old skis as long as you crashed through the crust on every turn.  This crust was much more solid than zipper crust but not strong enough to hold you up through the length of a turn.  At the time, I considered myself somewhat of an afficionado of junky snow, but it was all I could do to flail myself down that slope while barely staying upright.  The photo guys came down next and just did a series of connect-the-dots face plants.  It was fugly skiing.

Eventually, the photographers got set up and gave the go-ahead to Pepi and Phil, who were going to ski side-by-side.  That was the exact moment in my skiing career that I first REALLY appreciated how much better elite skiers are than the rest of us.  Phil was arguably the very best skier on the planet at that time and Pepi still had about 94% of his skills.  Watching them, I wouldn't have known how bad the snow was if I hadn't just skied it myself.  Those two guys skied that crust so fast and so smooth and so solid that you would have sworn they were on corduroy - except for the fact that there were crust chunks the size and consisency of manhole covers flying up behind them.

It was truly amazing.  I just stood there with my mouth hanging open.

I don't want to take anything away from Suzy because she was also a fantastic skier in her day, but those ballet skis just weren't the right choice for those conditions.  Let's just say that she struggled a bit and leave it at that.

And that's the story of how I skied with three Hall of Fame members in one day.

Thanks, Jamesj, for giving me the chance to stroll down memory lane.
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Great story Bob.  The super human excellence of elite athletes is humbling and inspiring at the same time.
It's also really neat to witness some of these legends that are fortunate enough to remain skilled well into old age.  Here were my impressions of Sepp Kober when I met him in 2005:

Still vitally engaged in current skiing events and area operations, Sepp was conversant on everything from the status of Maier and Miller on the World Cup circuit, to the nuts and bolts of The Homestead’s powerful new snowmaking system. Even more impressively, he skis like most of us breath and was all over the slopes giving children ski lessons both days of my visit. At age 84, the man is a god and had me thinking of his late, great golfing counterpart at The Homestead, Slammin’ Sammy Snead.

Footnote:  I should add that coming from the Southeast myself I find it has some poignancy that Sepp would choose of all places the small hills and warm temps of the banana belt to make his mark on the ski world.  I'm sure The Homestead took decent care of him, plus I hope he made some nice late season ski trips each year after his home area closed :-)

post #9 of 15
Bob, great story as always!
You should make a book of "Bob's Bedtime Ski Stories!" One a day to last us throughout a summer at least
post #10 of 15
Bob Peters, 
It would be cool if you could find a photo from that shoot & post it?  I bet Mr. Stiegler has one somewhere.

I've met a few of the people on the list over the years. 

I got to Water-ski with Greg Jones once.  Most of you have probably never heard of him, but he was a shining light for the U.S. before the Mahre's came along.

Once during a town race at Heavenly I looked next to me & Phil Mahre was in the gate.  He was there conducting one of the Mahre Training Center clinics.  He took it easy on me out of the start & I thought I was doing pretty well keeping up till about the last third of the course, when he put the hammer down.  It was amazing to watch him get 2 seconds ahead in such a short distance.  He had a 32 & I had a 34.  I'm sure he could have been a few seconds faster had he been going for it.  A few years later I ran into both Mahre brothers at the first Wakes & Gates event.

I have skied with AJ Kitt a few times during NASTAR pacesetting trials at Keystone.  A really nice guy who really wants to give something back to skiing.  Did anyone know that he received his PSIA LIII after he retired from World Cup?

On the nominees list,  I skied & worked with Stu Campbell many times over the years.  A true mentor to myself and many others!  RIP Stu.

Glenn Plakes father lived across the street from me for many years.  I got to ski with Glenn occasionally when he was growing up.  His dad would always egg him on to go bigger or try a new trick.  Later, when he was an up & comer I remember being over at a friends house when Glenn showed up with a video to show us.  It was the rough cut of Blizzard of Ahh's.  There was no audio, but the skiing was amazing.  Another time I ran into him in Killebrew Canyon at Heavenly.  He said to follow him to this steep chute.  I was right on his tail as the slope rolled over into the chute, where I started to slow down & make some really short controlled turns.  When I looked up he was doing about 50 MPH up the other side of the canyon far, far away from me.  He had straightlined the whole thing.

I met Tamara McKinney & Picabo Street briefly.

Edited by 4ster - 7/25/2009 at 05:49 am GMT
post #11 of 15

I've had the great good luck to meet nine, including the 2009ers, and actually ski with six.


post #12 of 15
I am at 4 with 1 of the 4 being 2 from this 2009 nominiees.

I met AJ Kitt in the offices of OLN where I once worked.  He seemed like a very nice guy.

I met Picabo Street in November 2001 when she was attempting a comeback for the 02 Winter Olympics.

I met Billy Kidd at Steamboat (Where else does one meet Billy Kidd.)

From the current nominees, I met Glen Plake at a cable television trade show.   He signed a pic for me, thank you Glen.

I met Paul Robbins at a training camp for the US Ski team.

Unfortunatley, I have skied with none of these people.
post #13 of 15

This is a fun thread. I didn't realize I knew so many until I went through the list. I wish I had more, interesting stories to go along with my list. I have shared a lot of my experiences that led to how I met many of them in the More Retro Memories thread:

I have met 16 on the list. Most I skied and trained with briefly in Portillo and Hintertux, although I didn't have much time to get to know them for my racing career ended abruptly.

Of the rest, one reconstructed my left ACL (Steady), one ran Cranmore Mountain in NH which is where I learned to ski (Herbie Scheider). Another was the father of a fellow Masters racer (Paul Valar). My father and uncle were waiters for the reception at Stonehurst Manor when Paula and Paul married. One was the girlfriend of my coach's brother (Cindy Nelson).

I met Dick Durrance in the late 90's at the NE Ski Museum's fund raiser at Mt. Cranmore: The Hannes Schneider Meister Cup Race. I raced my brother in a NASTAR course at the event; we were both on wooden skis and leather boots as well as dressed for the 1940s. I won the race against Steve, he won the classic ski fashion contest.

I bought a lot of gear at Carroll Reed's over the 18 years I lived in North Conway. Reed was my first product sponsor providing me with a pair of Dynastar DH skis. I met Brooks Dodge when applying to Dartmouth (they didn't take me ). I raced his son, Brooks III, for a few years when we were young. He was very good. I haven't skied Dodge's Drop, yet. Speaking of Mt. Washington, I shook hands with Toni Matt while he was at Whiteface Mt. and I was racing in an Eastern Cup DH.

I met Billy Kidd at Portillo in August 1977 at the top of the DH training course. I was training with the US Team and I frankly can't remember if he ran the course or not, but I think he did. It was one of the highlights of my youth to meet him. I also saw him recently at NASTAR Nationals at the 'boat.

Skiing is a wonderful sport with great people that participate in it. So many successful people come from skiing and ski competition in particular. It has been an honor to have met so many of the greats that have had and continue to have such an influence on an activity that we all love.


Adgate, Cary
Cooper, Christin
Dodge, Brooks
Durrance*, Richard
Kidd, William Winston
Mahre, Phil
Mahre, Steve
McKinney, Tamara
Nelson, Cindy
Patterson, Peter
Reed*, Carroll
Schneider, Herbert
Valar*, Paul
Witherell, Warren
Steadman, Dr. Richard

post #14 of 15
 I know or have met about 1/2 dozen on the two lists.  I didn't happen to see Pepi on either list which seems wrong to me.  I also didn't see Franz Klammer or some other name racers I would have expected to see.  There are a few Air Force guys who belong there too.
post #15 of 15

Had a draft with Stein Ericksen where else - at his lodge .......

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