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To preserve skiing history and to increase awareness of the sport’s heritage
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Museum News: Hall of Fame names Class of 2020
Eight snowsport pioneers were elected to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020 in October. Due to the pandemic, plans for an induction ceremony are pending.
Bobbie Burns began designing and producing skis for K2 in the 1960s, eventually creating the skis that Marilyn Cochran used in 1969 to become the first American to win an alpine World Cup discipline title (GS, 1969). In 1974, Burns launched his own company and began making The Ski, one of the most famous freestyle skis of the era. Nicknamed “The Snow Goose” for his loose style in the bumps, Burns was an iconic founder of hot-dog freestyle.
Brian Fairbank, chairman of the Fairbank Group (Bromley, Cranmore, Jiminy Peak), is a pioneer in resort sustainability. He installed a wind turbine at Jiminy and then added solar, making Jiminy the first U.S. resort to be powered by 100 percent renewable energy. In 2008, NSAA recognized his effort with its Golden Eagle award.
Holly Flanders was one of the most dominant U.S. downhill racers of her era. In 1982, she was second in the women’s World Cup standings, the highest DH ranking for any American woman in more than a decade. From 1987 to 2016, she ran a popular series of women’s ski-instruction workshops at Park City, Wolf Mountain and Canyons in Utah.
Alison Owen was a dominant nordic racer in the late 1970s, becoming the first American to win a FIS cross country World Cup race in 1978, a U.S. women’s mark that stood for 33 years. A year later, she finished second at the prestigious Holmenkollen 10K in Oslo. The eight-time U.S. champion retired in 1981 and became a coach in Sun Valley.
Howard Peterson was a longtime influential leader with the U.S. Ski Team and a pivotal voice in bringing the Winter Olympics to Salt Lake City in 2002. As secretary general of USSA in the late 1980s, Peterson pushed the U.S. Olympic Committee to select a candidate city based on its willingness to develop legacy facilities and training venues that could be used long after the Games. A Maine native, he also co-founded the National Ski Touring Association (now the Cross-Country Ski Areas Association. He died in May 2020.
Kristean Porter was a world champion and two-time overall World Cup title holder as a U.S. freestyle skier in the mid-1990s, excelling in aerials, ballet and moguls. She made her World Cup debut in 1989 and scored her first podium within a month. A year later, she picked up the first of four World Championship medals, taking bronze in aerials.
Hank Tauber raced for Middlebury College and then joined the U.S. Ski Team as a coach in 1967, rising through the ranks to U.S. alpine ski team director, a position he held from 1974 to 1979. Under his leadership, U.S. racers won eight Olympic and World Championship medals. From 1980 to 1984, he was president of Marker USA. He then acquired the worldwide Marker International and was chairman and CEO until 1998. In 1988 Tauber was elected a vice president, executive board and council member of FIS and served in that position until 2002. He was a founding trustee of the Switzerland-based Marc Hodler Foundation and was named an honorary lifetime member of FIS in 2002. In 1982 he received the Julius Blegen Award, U.S. Ski and Snowboard’s highest award for outstanding contribution to the sport of skiing.
Seth Wescott was a back-to-back Olympic champion, winning gold in snowboard cross in 2006 (Torino) and 2010 (Vancouver). In his career he won four X Games medals (one gold) and four World Championship medals (one gold). He also won the fabled Mount Baker Banked Slalom in 2019 and 2020, and co-owns Winterstick.
Oslo Olympians Honored in Oz
Snow Australia, the national governing body for competitive snow sports, has announced the first recipients of its Snow Australia Medal. The new award will celebrate the careers of athletes who represent the country at the highest level of the sport.
The inaugural honorees all competed for Australia at the 1952 Winter Olympics: Bob Arnott (alpine), Bill Day (alpine), Bruce Haslingden (cross country), Barry Patten (alpine) and Cedric Sloane (cross country).
The Oslo Olympics marked only the second time that Australia had sent a team to the Winter Games. Alpine and cross-country skiing were the sole snow-sport events on the Olympic program and the Aussies were amateurs with limited resources. They had to fit their training around work commitments, and for some the activities overlapped: Haslingden was a sheep rancher in Cooma, and wrangling herds was key to his workout regimen. Plus, few Australian ski areas had lifts in the early 1950s. Trudging up the slopes was a great way to stay fit, but not the best preparation for world-class competition.
For the 1952 Olympians, travelling to the Games involved a long and expensive six-week ship voyage. And when they finally raced, Australian athletes could not match their talented rivals from Europe. Austrian skiers dominated the alpine races and Scandinavian racers swept the podiums in cross country.
Bob Arnott later recalled the downhill, a challenging race run on very little snow, as the highlight of his Games. “I started off behind the Greek, there were probably one-minute intervals,” he said. “The Greek” was two-time Olympian Alexandros Vouxinos, who left the start hut just before Arnott, wearing bib 87.
“The start of the race was fairly straightforward: The Greek disappeared, and I was sent off,” Arnott continued. “Then we came to a traverse. It was fairly steep, and the Greek had fallen down the hill, and so I passed him. Then the same thing happened to me: I fell down the hill and he passed me. Then I got up and managed to pass him again with a schuss.” Arnott eventually crossed the line almost two minutes ahead of Vouxinos, who finished dead last.
Arnott, who died in 2016, is remembered not only for his racing career, but also for his 27-year-long tenure within the FIS. As a FIS official, he left a significant legacy in the classification system he conceived with American FIS delegate Bob Beattie: The “Bob Rule” is still at the core of the FIS points system used to rank skiers around the world today.
Over the next year, the Snow Australia medal will be presented to all athletes across alpine, cross-country, freestyle, snowboard, park and pipe, and Paralympic disciplines who during their careers have (1) finished in the top three at FIS World Cup or World Championship level, and/or (2) represented Australia at the Olympic or Paralympic Winter Games. Learn more at https://www.snow.org.au/legacy/medal/.
SKI October 1973
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