The ten new members of the U.S. Ski and Snowboarding Hall of Fame pose after the induction ceremony.
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO (April 11, 2015) – A packed crowd was on hand at the Steamboat Grand to honor ten new honored members as they were inducted into the class of 2014 of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame. They bring the total to 404 athletes and sport builders who are enshrined in the Hall of Fame, located in Ishpeming, MI, the birthplace of organized skiing in America.
Among the inductees were Olympic champion snowboarder Ross Powers, World Alpine Championship medalist Erik Schlopy, noted big mountain skier Chris Davenport, ski instruction pioneer Curt Chase, and goggle innovator Bob Smith. Others included resort designer Joe Cushing, World Cup race winner Kristina Koznik, alpine development leader John McMurtry, women’s innovator Jeannie Thoren and Ralph Miller, one of the great American ski racers from the 1950s. Their induction took place in Steamboat Springs on April 11, 2015. There will also be a special enshrinement ceremony weekend for Honored Members at the home of the Hall of Fame in Ishpeming on September 18-20, 2015.
It was an emotional evening for the new honored members, who regaled the sell-out crowd with stories of inspiration. The induction capped Skiing History Week in Steamboat Springs, which also featured a memorable evening recalling Steamboat’s favorite son Buddy Werner, who was killed in an avalanche while filming young Willy Bogner’s Ski Fascination film in 1964. Buddy’s brother Loris spoke, along with Buddy’s teammates Chuck Ferries, Moose Barrows and Billy Kidd.
The annual gathering of both the Hall of Fame and International Skiing History Association attracted around 500 enthusiasts.
The Hall of Fame, founded in 1956, honors both athletes and sport builders who have made a national contribution to the sports of skiing or snowboarding. Nominations are open with a national voting panel of over 100 sport experts casting ballots. Deadline for nominations for the next class is April 30, 2015. For more information on nominations or to pledge your support, go to skihall.com.
HONOREES Curt Chase (Colorado) was an innovator and motivating force in the field of ski instruction for over 40 years. He served as a survival training instructor of the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division and later held the same position for the Strategic Air Command. He contributed to what is now known as the American Ski Technique and was one of the eight founders of the Professional Ski Instructors of America. He passed away in June of this year.
Joe Cushing (New Hampshire) was a pioneer in ski area planning and design. Working with the legendary Sel Hannah, Hall of Fame Class of 1968, he worked on over 400 projects—of which, over 150 include some or all of his design influence. Among those areas where his impact can be seen are Loon Mountain and Bretton Woods in New Hampshire, Sugarbush and Stratton in Vermont, Copper Mountain and Keystone in Colorado and Deer Valley in Utah.
Chris Davenport (Colorado) is widely regarded as one of the world’s premier big mountain skiers. In 1996 he was recognized as the World Extreme Skiing Champion and four years later was the International Freeskier’s Association‘s World Freeskiing champion. In 2007 he became the first person to ski all 54 of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks in one year. He has been featured in 30 ski films.
Kristina Koznick (Colorado) was an outstanding slalom racer from the midwest who began her career under the coaching direction of Erich Sailer, Hall of Fame Class of 2005. With six national titles and six World Cup victories she finished second twice in the season-long FIS World Cup. She was named to three Olympic teams and competed at six World Championships.
John McMurtry (Colorado) was a U.S. Ski Team coach during the 1980s, which saw several of its members win World Cup titles, Olympic medals and the only Nation’s Cup Award for the U.S. Alpine Team. In 1987 he became the U.S. Team’s development director and later alpine director, establishing a regional development program that continues to bring thousands of young athletes into the sport including Picabo Street, Bode Miller, Lindsay Vonn and Julia Mancuso.
Ralph Miller (Kentucky) was one of America’s top skiing competitors in the 1950s where he excelled in four event competitions (downhill, slalom, jumping, cross country). He won or placed in the top three of many of the top competitions held during this time and frequently was able to beat Olympians like Stein Eriksen, Hall of Fame Class of 1982, and Othmar Schneider. In 1955 he set a world speed record of 109 mph, which stood for 15 years.
Ross Powers (Vermont) is the fourth person from snowboarding to be elected to the Hall of Fame. He won the first U.S Olympic medal in snowboarding, a bronze, at the 1998 Nagano Games and was the Olympic halfpipe champion in 2002, leading an American podium sweep. Two years earlier he won a World Championship. During his career he held every title in halfpipe snowboarding.
Erik Schlopy (Utah) was a three-time Olympian and seven-time national champion who had one of the longest and most successful careers in U.S. ski racing history. He was a World Pro super G champion and a bronze medal winner in the giant slalom at the World Championships in 2003. Throughout his career he demonstrated not only his great ability but also his perseverance and tenacity coming back from many serious injuries to compete with the best in the sport.
Dr. Robert Smith (Idaho) was a dentist turned goggle inventor who changed skiing, which was his passion, when he founded his eyewear company in the 1960s. Smith Optics was founded literally from his kitchen table where he developed a thermal lens goggle that did not fog up when it was being used on the ski slopes. It was an invention that was enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of skiers initially and continues to have an impact on the experience of skiers and snowboarders today. He passed away in 2012.
Jeannie Thoren (Minnesota) is regarded by many as the “Johnny Appleseed” of women’s skiing. She was a pioneer in developing women’s-specific ski equipment, which helped women ski better because they were using equipment better suited to their physique. For nearly 20 years, beginning in 1988, she conducted an estimated 70 women’s ski equipment seminars annually around the country in her effort to improve the sport for all women.