I had the honor and privilege last evening of being inducted into the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame. What an incredibly humbling yet at the same time uplifting experience. The event was held at the Marriott City Center in Denver, Colorado. It was a well organized and beautifully produced “gala,” replete with displays about the five 2005 inductees, videos of same, a good dinner, and lots of excellent speeches stories and laughs.
It was amazing to hear inductee Ed Lucks speak about pioneering adaptive skiing. He had to invent methods for folks such as blind double leg amputees to ski (no joke). This required huge amounts of creativity and inspiration that he beautifully tributes to God. Then there was Dick Eflin, a true go-getter who built the Crested Butte ski area from nothing. Dick’s talk about the old days of CB was priceless, especially his story about installing the new gondola, and how it broke the moment it was blessed by a priest brought in special for the occasion.
George Gillett was there last night as well, the guy who bought Vail years ago and molded it into the model of modern resort skiing that’s still setting trends. When you listen to a man as successful in business as Gillett, you wonder how much their talk will be about self. It was sweet to note that Gillett was strongly focused on his family and colleagues — he made it obvious it was a team effort. (And Gillett’s search for the perfect apple fritter was a welcome glimpse at the man’s humanity). Inductee Dick Hauserman was the nuts-and-bolts behind Vail. He did the early snow surveys, served on the board, and even designed the Vail logo still in use today.
Yep, that’s Lou in a suit instead of a fleece. And hanging around his neck is a lifetime full season ski pass for all resorts in Colorado! (Ultimate swag?) An incredibly fun evening! Thanks goes to Ski Museum and all folks involved with this!
I was more nervous about giving my speech than I should have been — it was intense getting all the attention. Sure, I’d done plenty of presentations, but most times I talk about all the individuals in my book, Wild Snow, rather than talking about myself. Nonetheless, once I got going it was easy to focus on the greater connections, and thank all the individuals who had supported my ski mountaineering career. More, it was easy to bring the view out to some of what ski mountaineering and backcountry skiing is about, be it 1:00 am starts or sublime summits, which I did by reading some selected journal entries. Here is a ‘graf from my talk:
“I want to focus for a moment on something I think is important tonight. That’s challenge and inspiration, which in the end lead to hope — hope in the midst of what is sometimes a tough world. It’s inspiring when you look at the Hall’s roster and see so many individuals who’ve borne up to adversity — be it business, athletics, disabilities — even combat. All this related to the sport we love so much, skiing. I’m humbled and honored to be associated with these men and women.”
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.