Stu Campbell, author, skier, instructor

Passing Date: 
Thursday, December 4, 2008

Stuart Duncan Campbell
(From the Vermont Ski Museum) Author, skier, Vermont native, Stu Campbell, passed away December 4, 2008, at his home in Stowe after a 20 year battle with cancer. He was 65.

Known throughout the skiing world, Campbell fashioned a career from his own understated elegance, both on skis and with his ability to put words to the act of gliding on snow.

He grew up skiing in Bennington, Vermont, and was a 4-event ski racer (slalom; giant slalom; cross-country; ski jumping) while a student at Middlebury College. He graduated from Middlebury in 1964 with a BA in American Literature and received his master's degree in English Literature from the University of Vermont in 1972.

Campbell taught English literature and coached skiing at Harwood Union High School and at the Valley Junior Racing Club from 1967-69 before settling in Stowe as Technical Director of the Sepp Ruschp Ski School. Campbell moved from Stowe to Heavenly Valley, California, in the late 1970s, where he served as Director of Skier Services. He oversaw Heavenly's ski school, other skier services and a very active race department that hosted World Cup, professional and celebrity ski races. He spent more than a dozen winters at Heavenly (though during that time he continued to spend his summers, writing, in Stowe). He returned to Stowe full time in 1997 and led the development, construction and opening of The Country Club of Vermont, pursuing his late-in-life passion for the sport of golf.

Campbell's extraordinary grasp of the technical elements of skiing and ski teaching led him to positions with the Professional Ski Instructors of America as a Demonstration Team member, as co- chairman of the Technical Committee and as an examiner with PSIA's Eastern division.

But it was as a writer for Ski Magazine that Campbell mentored the greatest number of skiers. He served as Technical and Instruction Editor at Ski from the mid 1970s until his death, penning everything from illustrated quick tips to feature articles. "The art of skiing," Campbell wrote in 1991, "is, ultimately, the search for sensation." He encouraged the reader to use his skis "like a draftsman's compass" to scribe arcs on snow. He saw skis as "tools for sculpting space on the tilt."

Campbell also wrote ski instruction books, including Ski With the Big Boys, The Way to Ski, and, with Tim Petrick, Good Things to Know about Gliding on Snow.

Some of his Vermont neighbors knew him best for his books on gardening and alternative house design, including 1975's Let it Rot!, which helped start the home composting movement, and The Underground House Book (1980). Campbell and his wife Carol West-Campbell lived for 28 years in a radically earth- bermed house in Stowe.

The Vermont Ski Museum awarded Campbell the first Paul Robbins Ski Journalism Award for "lifetime commitment to ski journalism with ethics, humor and good taste. . ." He told the gathering at the museum to "get up on the mountain and make lots and lots and lots of turns. Every turn you make is good for the soul."

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Leave a comment


If you would like to leave a comment or remark, please login to your subscriber account.