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Craftsbury Outdoor Center founder

Passing Date: 
Monday, July 30, 2018

Russell Mason Spring Jr. passed away July 30 at age 92. With his wife Janet, Spring founded the Craftsbury (Vermont) Outdoor Center, one of the most successful Nordic training facilities in North America.

Sparky Spring grew up skiing in Wellesley, Massachusetts and graduated from Lenox High School. He joined the U.S. Navy in the closing days of World War II, then attended Yale on the G.I. Bill. Graduating in 1950, he joined the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Displaced Persons. He worked in Austria resettling refugees – and skiing.

Spring returned to the U.S. in 1953 to help raise his younger siblings, Jim and Debbie (Jim Spring grew up to edit SKI Business magazine, launch the market research firm Leisure Trends Group, and serve as chairman of ISHA). He began teaching skiing at Stowe, and married fellow instructor Janet Lauderdale. They had three kids, and to support the family, in 1963 Spring went to work as a stockbroker in Burlington, Vermont. The family moved to Craftsbury, Vermont in 1972, where they founded the Windridge Tennis Camp and turned the Cutler Academy campus into a Nordic trail system called the Craftsbury Outdoor Center. Soon the center hosted training programs for runners and scullers. Over the decades the center taught hundreds of local kids to ski.

In 2008 Spring was diagnosed with Parkinson’s-related dementia. The couple sold the Outdoor Center but continued to live on the site. Janet died in 2016.

 

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