I'm doing a little homework on some of the Hall of Fame inductees who were voted in October 2017 and will be inducted during ceremonies at Squaw Valley, April 14.
The Class of 2017
Airborne Eddie Ferguson
Freestyle iconHermann Gollner
Freestyle's somersault kingMarty Hall
Legendary cross country coachMike and Steve Marolt
Two of the most accomplished ski mountaineers aliveSteve McKinney
The late speed skiing world-record holder and Squaw Valley legendShaun Palmer
Local motorsport and snowboarding pioneerThom Weisel
Passionate fundraiser for the U S. Ski Team
Getting to know the Hall of Fame Class of 2017
- airborne eddie ferguson
- freestyle skiing icon
- freestyle's somersault king
- fundraiser for the u s. ski team
- hermann gollner
- marty hall
- mike and steve marolt
- shaun palmer
- skiing hall of fame
- snowsport history celebration
- squaw valley ceremony april 14
- squaw valley ski area
- steve mckinney
- thom weisel
- us ski and snowboard hall of fame
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Airborne Eddie Ferguson
Eddie Ferguson started teaching skiing at Bogus Basin, ID, when he was 14. In 1973 he was Freestyle World Champion and was also named "Hotdogger of the Year" by Ski magazine. Ferguson trained more than 4,000 students at his Airborne Eddie Freestyle Ski Camps around the world from 1972 to 1979.
Among some of his accomplishments, Eddie, now 70 years old, recalls broadcasting beside Bud Palmer on ABC's Wide World of Sports and teaching Steve McQueen and his son how to ski in Sun Valley.
In a recent interview, Airborne Eddie said that his induction into the Hall of Fame has stirred a lot of memories. One in particular was going up against fellow Bogus Basin skier Mark Stiegemeier, who was 4 years younger, in the 1975 Freestyle World Championships. Two kids from Bogus Basin had made it in the heyday of freestyle skiing. Stiegemeier had a strong finish in the previous event at Snowbird; Ferguson was intent on edging him out, but crashed 50 feet from the finish line. Ferguson recalls the bittersweet feeling of the student surpassing the master.
I have some special stories about Hermann Gollner from my first few years after moving to Tahoe. He is a highly revered ski coach in the Tahoe region and an extremely kind person. He was among the first to make a lasting impression on me from a professional and personal standpoint, but I had no idea that he was this pioneer in the early days of freestyle. He is well known in the freestyle world as the inventor of the mobius flip.
Hermann also invented a race gate that used discs to elongate the flex zone, a screw-in base, and a wrench. The Hermann Gate eliminated the plastic gates that had proven to be painful for skiers and quite the workout for coaches. Gollner patented the gate in 1981, but even though it became the standard for 30 years, the invention never paid off for him because of expensive patents and indefensible patent infringements.
Although he's being inducted into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame for his skiing accomplishments, Hermann is also a world-class climber, who at 71 climbed a 5.13a wall known as Pump-O-Rama, as seen in this 2014 article in Rock and Ice magazine.
Mike and Steve Marolt
Identical twin brothers, Mike and Steve Marolt were referred to as the most accomplished ski mountaineers by Outside magazine. They have built one of the world's greatest resumes of ski descents from 5,000 to 8,000 meters — climbing with no supplemental oxygen, porters, or altitude drugs. They have completed 13 expeditions in the Himalayan mountains in true pioneer fashion.
Their backcountry bug was inspired by their dad, Max Marolt, who took them on their first ski adventure to Fourth of July Bowl up Independence Pass on July 3, 1977. That lead to a future of skiing peaks in the Elk Mountains, Northwest Alaska, the Andes, and ultimately the Himalayas.
The Ski Hall of Fame said of the Marolts: "They spent most of their lives climbing and skiing, entirely together, without exception, nearly 50 of the highest and greatest peaks in the world. Their identical resumes in skiing list multiple first climbs and descents to include the North Ridge of Everest and peaks in Bolivia, Peru, and South America. They were the first Americans to ski from an 8,000-meter peak in Tibet."
When asked about their induction into the Hall of Fame, they humbly said it was an unexpected honor and surprise, not something they were gunning for. "We're just a couple guys going out and doing it," said Steve. Added Mike, "It's a massive honor."Last edited: Apr 9, 2018
Steve McKinney is among the local favorites in the Hall of Fame Class of 2017. He was born in Maryland in 1953, but his family moved to the Lake Tahoe area early in his life. Steve became a lover of speed after he became a junior ski racer at Squaw Valley. He went to the University of Colorado briefly in 1971, leaving to train and compete with the U.S. Ski Team as a downhill specialist. He left the team in 1973 after an advertising transaction disqualified him from amateur status. After leaving the organized ski racing world, he took to climbing, which is where he found a passion for ski mountaineering, which eventually took him to Mt Everest to hang glide.
Even so, Steve's passion for speed is the dominant part of his story. Steve set a world speed record of 189.473 km/h (117.7 mph) in Cervinia, Italy, in 1974. That record was broken the following year. Determined to continue breaking records, he went to Portillo, Chile, in 1977 and recorded a speed of 198.020 km/h (123.0 mph). He followed that up the next year by breaking his own record with a speed of 200.222 km/h (124.137 mph,) which marked the first time a skier broke the 200-km/h barrier.
Franz Weber surpassed that achievement five years later with a speed of 203 km/hr. Weber's record would stand for five years until McKinney staged a comeback, hitting 209.790 km/h (130.4 mph), the fastest speed he had ever recorded in competition. That record fell the same year, and he never again held the title of fastest man on skis.
Sadly, Steve McKinney's life came to an end in 1990. After having car trouble on I-80 between San Francisco and Truckee in the middle of the night, he went to sleep in the back seat to get some rest before continuing in the morning and was hit by a drunk driver.
His sister Tamara McKinney, a well-known USST athlete from the 1990s, will be speaking at a special event hosted by the Squaw Valley Institute on Thursday April 12 to honor the King of Speed.
It is fitting that we wrap up this post with a quote from Steve in Ski magazine, March 1975: "I discovered the middle path of stillness within speed, calmness within fear, and I held it longer and quieter than ever before."Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
Where do we begin with Shaun Palmer? Shaun has excelled as a competitive snowboarder, mountain biker, motocross rider, skier, and snowboard builder. He grew up skiing in South Lake Tahoe, but he was intrigued by this new sport called snowboarding. At the age of 12, he built his own snowboard and taught himself how to ride. He was never schooled formally in the sport: "I just figured out what felt right and did it," said Palmer in a People magazine interview. Three years after he taught himself how to snowboard, he dropped out of school to become a professional snowboarder.
Although Shaun Palmer's quest to be an Olympian eluded him due to an achilles tendon injury in 2006, he has achieved volumes of other accolades from the sports world, including USA Today's World's Greatest Athlete, Details magazine's Athlete of the Year in 1998, and the NEA Extreme Athlete of the Year in 2000. Also in 2000, Palmer was named the inaugural Laureus World alternative Sportsperson of the Year. In February 2001, Shaun Palmer was awarded the ESPY Awards Action Sports Athlete of the Year, along with all his other medals.
In 1995 Shaun created Shaun Palmer Snowboards as an offshoot of a major snowboard manufacturer; the company is still in existence, but the boards are only available in Europe.
You can catch a glimpse of Shaun's life in action sports in "Shaun Palmer: The Miserable Champion."
To give you an idea of just how crazy Shaun Palmer is, he is competing in a motocross race on Saturday, April 14, just before being inducted into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame at 7 p.m. that same day.Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
Marty Hall is one of the Hall of Fame inductees who you may not have heard of; if you have, you're probably a cross-country skier. Marty has been a strong force as the U.S. Ski Team's cross-country coach, an advocate for the inclusion of women's cross-country skiing in the Olympics, as well as a noted innovator with waxing techniques such as base sanding and the application of mohair strips to skis.
If you're a female cross-country skier, then you should thank Marty for his impact on your sport. In fact, you could say that Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall did what they did at Pyeongchang because Marty Hall did what he did in the 1970s. Tiger Shaw has said, “Our current success in cross country owes a great debt to the groundwork put down by Marty Hall 40 years ago.”
In 1981 Marty published the book One Stride Ahead, which has been described as the bible for cross-country skiers. On a more controversial side, Hall has been vocal about doping and its impact on competition.
Thom is interesting to research and write about. He is a banker and tech innovator who loves skiing and did his best to generate resources to keep the U.S. Ski Team funded. Raised in the Wisconsin, Thom graduated from Stanford University with a degree in economics and became a banker. Later he became known as a pioneer in the development of the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley. The list of his accomplishments in the business world is enormous (see here for more details), but we are here to talk about his accomplishments in the ski world.
Weisel won a bronze medal in 1982 Masters Racing, which fueled his passion to do more with his position on the board of directors (since 1977) of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team, of which he became the chairman in 1983. He was responsible for merging the USST with the U.S. Ski Association and overhauling its governance and funding; this brought him accolades and awards including the George M. Steinbrenner III Sport Leadership Award from the U.S. Olympic Foundation, and the Julius Blegen Award, which is the USSA's highest honor.
His contributions to skiing are not necessarily high profile, but they have definitely had a big impact on this sport.wallyk likes this.
I started skiing at Bogus Basin in '73, and can remember guys barreling down the moguls under the Superior lift using Eddie's technique. Not sure if it was Eddie or not, but it was classic mogul bashing. Lots of air time, and you needed quads of steel. A 20 minute lift line on the weekends was common, so you had an audience, for sure.
I added the Marolt brothers, Mike and Steve in post #4.
I had heard their names but didn't grasp the scope of what they'd done.
One of the interesting quotes I happened to read about them while doing research is that they're bummed a little about the induction because they have a fellow mountaineer and friend, Jim Gile, who has been with them on nearly every expedition and is not being recognized along with them.
Another thing I noted is that they father, Max, competed in the 1960 Olympics at Squaw Valley, which make their induction at this location all the more fitting.
With the recent passing of industry legends and pioneers, who is the next batch of ski industry leaders that have transformed the ski industry in the modern era or transforming it now? Are there any left?
Is it people like Cyrus at Renoun or another boutique production based visionary? Is it Greg Stump? Is it a Leon Black and other financiers that are transforming the ski industry into a publicly traded entity? Is Lewis Bacon who bought Taos? Is it the marketing group that invented the multi-resorts pass? Or is it the ski coaches at Buck Hill in Minneapolis that have turned out many Olympians and countless numbers of skiers on the various national teams, collegiate and high school racers? Is it the owner of a smaller local area that develops para and blind skiers?
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