It's 2011 and we're chomping at the bit to hit the slopes. However there is an awesome article by Steve Cohen from Ski Magazine from the year 2000 we thought we would share with you. The article is below and in a PDF file we have linked here you can see it from the February 2000 issue of Ski Magazine. Enjoy reading about NY Skiing in the year 2000!
A NEW YORK STATE OF MINE
By Steve Cohen
I’ve sat idling in my driveway for two minutes and still can’t bring myself to twist the ignition switch off. The journey has been epic yet I know I’ve barely touched the soul of my home state’s ski culture. But after 15 days, 1,200 miles and 20 ski areas, one unshakable image of New York skiing persists—like native son comedian Rodney Dangerfield, it gets no respect.
Think of great ski states. Colorado and Utah, come to mind for sure. But New York probably has more ski areas than both those luminous states combined. I write probably, because with a handful of tiny tow areas still clinging to life, nobody—not even the state’s ski area trade association--knows how many areas New York really has. A good guess puts the total in the mid-50s. “In good years the little guys open,” says Ski Areas of New York (SANY) executive director Rob Megnin, “in bad years they don’t—and who knows if they’ll be back the year after.”
But that doesn’t stop New Yorkers from skiing. New York recorded the fourth highest skier day total of any state in the nation last winter trailing only Colorado, California and Vermont—and more New Yorkers alpine ski than the residents of any other state except California.
And until 2002, New York remains the only state in the U.S. to host a Winter Olympics. Two of them, in fact, both at Lake Placid whose Whiteface ski area has the largest vertical east of the Mississippi.
But Empire State skiing isn’t about big, it’s about little. Lots of little. Not one of the state’s ski areas recorded 500,000 lift ticket sales, an industry benchmark for size. Nor do the tentacles of corporate skiing stretch here; none of New York’s areas are owned by the handful of continental resort conglomerates.
But there are a half dozen run by governments, including three by New York State, which is the largest municipal ski operator in the country. There are also several private clubs--unique vestiges of skiing formative years--including Holimont, the largest in the country, and Skaneateles, perhaps the smallest.
But mostly New York skiing is about fiercely independent and devoted small businessmen—virtually all native New Yorkers—running places that are clinging to a skiing way of life that is fast fading as the big regional and national ski area chains drive breeder areas back to pasture. It’s about incubator ski areas that support the whole Oz-like infrastructure of skiing. It’s about ski areas that never make anybody’s Top 60 list, let alone register on skiing’s national radar.
THE BATTLE FOR LILLIPUT
The marketing wars fought by ski areas over size are legendary. They culminated in the late Eighties in Vermont with Killington conducting an aerial survey that purported to show competitors were inflating their ski terrain counts.
In NY they’re still battling over size, but with a twist. “We’re the smallest are in the U.S.” John Goodfellow boasts, pointing to articles tacked to the walls of the Four Seasons ski area base lodge attesting the fact. Goodfellow is owner/ski instructor/cat driver/lot sweeper of the 80-vertical foot anthill surrounded by subdivisions in Fayetteville, a Syracuse suburb.
Four Seasons is really a golf driving range and summer ball swatting is still what pays the bills here, but it would be a mistake to think that this gentle incline and tiny patch of forest isn’t a serious ski area.
For 30 years, the place has drawn up to 4,000 skiers each winter, most of whom are a decade away from getting a driver’s license. “Twelve is considered old for a Four Season skier,” jokes Goodfellow, handing me a brochure for his kids’ birthday party package.
His last lift upgrade was in 1978—“We went from a rope tow to a J-bar,” says Goodfellow but he does have a legitimate snowmaking system and a relatively late model snowcat. And, fittingly, a miniature golf course outside the base lodge of his miniature hill.
But Goodfellow also has a reputation as a claim jumper in the western part of the state. “I like John but I’m not sure he’s correct about being the smallest in the country—or even the state,” says Dan Fuller. Fuller is what qualifies as a conglomerate in New York. He owns Bristol, the big hill on the western side of the Canandaigua Finger Lake. With 1,200 vertical, it boasts of being “the biggest ski area between the Adirondacks and the Rockies” and is where serious Rochester and Buffalo skiers go.
Bristol also has concessions to run two other admittedly money-losing municipal operations in Rochester city parks that don’t even total 200 feet, including Powder Mills, which is said to be a foot shorter than Four Seasons. It’s certainly smaller, with a single slope about 50 feet wide and an arm jerking rope tow running up its flank.
It too, is a place that manufacturers new skiers—most of whom Fuller expects will some day be Bristol customers—and some days up to 250 kids yo-yo Powder Mills’s tiny spit of white. Fenced in on all sides, parents are basking in the warm spring sun, comfortable in letting even the youngest kids roam free. And they don’t worry about them eating the snow either; Powder Mills taps Rochester city water for snowmaking, making it the only are in the country with fluorinated snow. It also may be the only ski area in the U.S. where the Ski Patrol shack has a life preserver mounted on the wall among its rescue equipment, protection in case some small fry falls into the creek that runs along the base of the slope.
SANY’s Rob Megnin has come along for the ride today. He tries to hide it but tears are welling in his eyes as we watch nursery school tykes slide downhill. Rob learned to slide here as a 7-year-old and rambled across Powder Mills Park for a good part of his youth. It is a rich trip down memory lane that many long-time skiers don’t get to make anymore in the U.S., their starter hills either covered with weeds or sub-divisions.
THE CRADLE OF GREEK SKI CIVILIZATION
The downstate economic boom, fueled by record Wall Street revenues, still hasn’t spread to Central New York where manufacturing jobs have continued to ebb for much of the past two decades. The Syracuse Journal <CK PAPER NAME> heralds a new 400-job plant for making composite shoe inserts that will be built in the city but not too long ago, Smith-Corona dominated the typewriter business from its world headquarters in nearby Cortland. That’s gone now, along with the Rubbermaid plant and 10,000 jobs at the shuttered IBM facility.
Still, skiing continues to survive, if not thrive, here in the state’s Greek section, where a historically reverent band of Army engineers gave the surrounding towns names such as Syracuse, Ithaca, Marcellus and Homer.
Greek Peak, the biggest of four areas within a 40-minute drive of each other, has suffered the most from the region’s downturn but continues to plug away with innovative learn-to-ski programs—it even offers free video analysis on the hill. With a financial boost from the state’s economic development agency, it has constructed a new snowmaking pond and a master plan to create a regional destination resort, “like Seven Spring, Pa.,” says area owner Al Kryger who is scrambling to find investment capital for his dream.
Until that happens, Greek Peak will continue to rely heavily on the region’s big college population that surrounds it at Cornell, Ithaca and the State University at Binghamton. Kryger says, “It’s not unusual to see African and Asian students not only try skiing for the first time, but to also touch their first snow.”
Greek Peak’s college connection is strong throughout the ski business. “I can’t go to a ski area in the East without running into someone who skied here during college,” says Kryger, who casually drops mention that American Skiing Co. president Les Otten received his first ski industry paycheck as a Greek Peak ski instructor.
It’s clear skiing hasn’t fully permeated the soul of Central New York. The DJ on WAAL, the Binghamton classic rock station, is moaning about possible afternoon snow showers and wishing winter to quickly end. His misfortune is my good fortune as I roll up the state’s belly toward Labrador, Toggenburg and Song. This is to be the first three ski area day of my life and fresh snow will make the marathon ever sweeter.
Lab and Tog, as they are know locally, are friendly rivals and hard to distinguish from each other. A ten-minute drive apart on successive ridges, they are virtually identical 700-foot vertical hills that steepen from left to right. Both are named for animal breeds, the first a canine, the second a Swiss goat. Both have historic post-Revolutionary War cemeteries in the middle of the parking lots across from their base lodges. Both areas are filled with kids; Rob and I appear to be the only junior high school graduates sliding this Friday afternoon as the fresh snow the Binghamton DJ feared pelts the hills.
I finally figure out how to tell the areas apart: Lab is the area with the classic ski themed Wipeout pinball machine in its base lodge, Tog is the one with the large cornfield across the street.
That’s not surprising. While the state’s global image is forged by the all-pervasive New York City around which half of its population sprawls, it remains at heart, a farming state, not unlike it was 100 years ago. Labrador’s base lodge was originally a 150-stall milking barn and the region still boasts some of the largest dairy farms in the state with upwards of 500 cows. Here, news about the Northeast dairy compact, a piece of legislation designed to trickle a few more cents into the pockets of milk farmers, is as important as a makeup compact is downstate in Manhattan.
Small areas today are at peril if the don’t pay scrupulous attention to costs. The folks at Tog are exceptionally resourceful. Farm-bred mountain manager Larry Sipfle jokes, “Old parts never die here, they just enter our internal recycling program.” When high-tech tower guns proved beyond its budget, Tog jury-riggged its own, bolting lengths of pipe up the sides of lift towers. When it needed a mount for a new fan jet snowgun, it fashioned it from an old T-Bar tower. Even its retired rental skis have found a home. Cut down to size, they serve as coat racks and, with holes drilled through their tips, serving trays for shooters in the Foggy Goggle lounge.
The Foggy Goggle is an unexpected treat and the pride of TK-YEAR-OLD GM Jim Hickey, a second generation ski area operator who sampled a career in hotel management before returning to his roots. His dad, a physician of the same name, founded the area in 1953 and four years later installed what was only the second T-Bar in the state. “He was making lots of money and didn’t know how to lose it,” the younger Jim says wryly.
Hickey, who can often be found in the Foggy Goggle kitchen putting his Culinary Institute of America degree to work, has turned the lounge into “a place where I like to hang out.” So too do many locals, including snowmobilers who detour off a nearby trail and have made the Foggy a popular watering hole. On Friday evenings up to 100 sleds jam the Tog parking lot.
After a fine early dinner of Hickey’s cardamom-rubbed ribs—he’s just a likely to find tips for running Tog in Bon Appetit as Ski Area Management--I drive to Song Mountain to complete my triple header under the lights.
New York’s ski season may be short—most of the small and midsize areas are happy to crack to 100 operating day mark—but its ski days aren’t. All but three New York ski areas—Gore, Whiteface and Hunter—light their trails and most would cease to exist without extended days.
It’s still blowing and snowing and the crowd at Song is sparse but enthusiastic. I join the Megnin family, which lives across the street from Song, for five runs down the 700-foot vertical followed by a hot chocolate. Although it is a Thursday night, it is not unusual for the entire family—including Rob and wife Anne’s three school age kids—to be skiing. “As long as homework is done,” says Rob, “we’ll go out for a few runs. It helps the kids get to sleep.”
Song has struggled financially for much of the Nineties and is the first of the Central New York family-owned resorts to succumb to corporate ownership. The lifts are fine but the snowmaking, grooming, food service and overall infrastructure had grown weak. A 1997 incident where nearly 1,500 people drank tainted water at the area hurt its image substantially. Now, a new investor group with deeper pockets—some of whom also own the Swain area in the western part of the state and a Finger Lakes golf resort—have taken over, promising to change Song from “ski area to mountain resort.”
I quickly lose my concern that Song will lose its chummy, informal atmosphere after its much need makeover. As I sip my hot chocolate, Song marketing director Char Palladino slides into the seat next to me and slips me an envelope. “Take a look at these,” she says excitedly. I expect the usual compliment of press materials but am pleasantly surprised to find myself rifling through a stack of snapshots from Song’s recent Mardi Gras party, Char enthusiastically naming each local in the photos.
LIGHTENING IN A BOTTLE
I get lost on my way to Branting. Repeatedly. I know I’ve traveled the same barren road before because there can’t be three, 200-strong herd of grazing buffalo in New York. Thanks to the miracle of cell phones, Michelle Steinrotter, 23-year-old daughter of owners Fifi and Pat, successfully guides me into this 240-foot bump of a hill just south of Lake Ontario. Despite being less than 40 miles from downtown Rochester, Brantling is surrounded on all four sides—for miles—by working farms.
I have come because of Brantling’s international reputation. Not for terrain, lifts, apres-ski or any of the other typical ski area yardsticks, but as a factory. And what the Steinrotter family manufacturers here are ski racers. Last year, 11 kids in the Brantling race program went on to train at the nation’s elite ski academies, the proving grounds for the U.S. Ski Team. Michelle herself, was a five-time All-American skier at Babson College.
But once they truly caught lightening in a bottle here at Brantling. Olympic and World Championship gold medalist Diann Roffe got her start at this tow-only area that doesn’t even open until 4 pm weekdays, when the kids are let loose from school. “You’ve got to go to Brantling,” Diann implored me when I saw her a few weeks before setting out on my odyssey. “It is so cool.”
Retired now but still travelling the world promoting skiing, Diann continues to call Brantling her home area. You might think it mandatory, given that she’s married to Steinrotter son Willi, but like all Brantling race rats, she became a de facto member of the extended Steinrotter clan when she joined the race program as a youngster. You can’t help but feel that the Brantling shrines to Diane, including her namesake run and the big welcome sign that touts her accomplishments, would be there whether she was actually part of family or not.
For everyone who skis regularly at Brantling is family. Right down to vacationing together. Unfortunately I’ve missed Fifi, Pat and about 50 FOBs (Friends of Brantling). They are all on an annual ski trip Fifi runs back to his hometown in Germany. Must be a family reunion.
WHERE DA CITY SKIS
Among other things, New Yorkers constantly argue about where “downstate” ends and “upstate” begins. As with most disagreements, perspective tends to color reality. My childhood friends who live on Long Island consider my Westchester County home, a mere 40 miles from the southernmost tip of Manhattan, to be “upstate.” My wife, who grew up in Manhattan and summered about 15 miles north of where we now live, considers her childhood vacation spot to be “upstate.” This past July, as I waited to pay a check at a diner about 50 miles south of the Quebec border in a Plattsburgh, NY, I overheard the cashier talking on the phone with a friend. “Can you believe it?” the woman said as she related a recent conversation to what was obviously a local friend. “Robin lives in Binghamton and she keeps saying she lives upstate. That’s not upstate. We’re upstate.”
After traveling the length and width of the state—which is shaped like a T-bone steak with it’s point facing west--I feel qualified to be the geographical arbiter of this nagging New York debate; for all intents and purposes, upstate is everything north and west of Albany, the state capital. Which means Hunter (or as the regulars call it, “Hun-tah”) and Windham are downstate, both in terms of geography and attitude.
These are the areas where City folk ski and for all the détente the area’s managers profess exists, their rivalry is every bit as intense and real as the one between the City’s two baseball teams, Hunter playing the role of the brash and boisterous Yankees, Windham the genteel and polite Mets. New York City’s Finest (the police) and Bravest (firefighters) ski Hunter; Wall Street brokers ski Windham.
I’ll pull no punches. Everything you’ve heard about Hunter is true. It is raw, brash and total New Yawk. The mountain is steep, the trails mostly winding ridge cuts carved from its rocky face, sheer cliffs looming above on one side, fence-lined drop-offs on the other. It makes most skiers shy to the middle of the trails and the hill tends to resemble a VW Bug graveyard all too often.
As I stand outside the maze and click into my bindings for my first lift ride to Hunter’s summit, a portly skier in his late twenties pulls up, a glowing cigar plugged in his kisser, one of his poles bent at a 60 degree angle from what appears to be a recent fall. Sweating profusely, the man begins to straighten the crooked pole over his knee, as his companion implores, “Don’t do dat. It’s gonna break. I’m tellin’ ya, don’t do dat.”
Like all New Yorkers, the man ignores his friend’s sage advice and continues his metal working until, inevitably, the pole snaps in half. “I told ya not to do dat,” his friend screams. “Wadda ya gonna do now?” Assessing his predicament, the man calmly tosses the bottom section of the pole to the ground and skis onto the chair with his jagged pole stump in hand—never once removing his cigar from his lips. This, my friends is pretty much all you need to know about Hunter skiers. They come to ski hard, if not pretty.
If Hunter is bumps, Windham is buffed. It is a polished place, the trails decidedly blue, even when marked black. Unlike Hunter, there is little here that frightens.
Windham customers certainly come to ski, but also to leisurely sip a Brooklyn Beer in the Legends bar while Metro New York rock legends Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel wail on the stereo, and perhaps check their stocks in the TotalTel business center using the high-speed T-1 line. The contrast between the areas is evident from the moment I pull up. As I drag my gear from the far reaches of the parking lot, an obviously well-heeled Windham skier drops $13 to valet park, saving him a few steps before spending the rest of the day working up a sweat.
THE ENEMY IS THE STATE
New Yorkers don’t have a problem with big government. They do have a problem with big government ski mountains. While New York owns and operates the state’s only pair of 2,000 foot mountains, it hasn’t done so very successfully. Both Gore and Whiteface draw a fraction of the skiers that similar sized resorts do in neighboring Vermont.
Each has its own set of unique problems. When the winds howl—and they do--Whiteface’s Iceface nickname is deserved. Good skiers worship the terrain, but like Jackson Hole, Wyo., it scares the legions of weekend warriors. At least it has Lake Placid nearby, one of the country’s premier winter resort towns, I theorize as I enjoy an brownie sundae in the Mirror Lake Inn’s spectacular library.
Gore’s problems are more frightening. The birthplace of New York skiing—back in the Thirties, thousands of New York City skiers rode trains each weekend to the rope tow in nearby North Creek—I cringe as I drive down it’s decaying Main St. I had overnighted in Lake George Village, one of the vibrant summer resort towns ringing Lake George. Unfortunately, the 40-plus minute drive to Gore is just a bit too long for the region to serve as “Gore’s Lake Placid.” With the exception of the world class Sagamore Hotel, few lake properties are able to lure enough skiers even to remain open in winter.
But both Gore and Whiteface also share a common history that combined to drive skiers elsewhere: slow, old lifts, poor snowmaking and snappy civil service like service. Last winter, Placid was the only 3,000 foot mountain in the country without a single high-speed lift.
Not anymore. With the backing of Gov. George Pataki, New York’s skiingest chief executive since Averill Harrriman, both Whiteface and Gore installed new high-speed lifts this past summer. The twin eight-passenger, heated gondolas now whisk skiers from bottom to summit in just minutes and are transporting the areas from the early 80s into the new millenium. Whiteface is also continuing to-date unrewarded efforts to transform Iceface into Niceface continuing to beef up its snowmaking and recontouring the hill so intermediates can experience all 3,200 vertical feet.
Gore, meanwhile, seems to have found a patron saint in Elliot Monter, a wealthy 47-year-old Long Island real estate developer whose first visit to Gore in 1961 spurred a lifelong love affair with the Adirondacks. “Some people call it insanity,” admits Monter, who has turned North Creek into his personal urban redevelopment project.
In addition to building The Preserve, an upscale second home community, Monter has restored North Creek’s Copperfield Inn to four-star status and created perhaps the most entertaining ski shop in the country. His Mountain & Boardertown in North Creek is a mini-retail Disney World with 13 video screens playing non-stop loops of adventure sport films, a half-dozen virtual reality ski, snowboard and whitewater paddling video games, a thrice an hour indoor lightening and rain storm show and a climbing wall that soars above its cash registers.
And Monter isn’t finished. He owns 300 developable acres in town including part of the original Ski Bowl and another 1,100 acres nearby. “Gore is moving in the right direction,” he says. “The expansion will
will bring lots of people back.” And hopefully a bunch of new ones to try what at the end of the day I judge to be the state’s best all-around skiing mountain.
THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE CATSKILL EMPIRE
I pull into the deserted parking lot at Kutcher’s Resort Hotel, passing a homeless drifter as I exit the Quikway in Monticello. The hotel is empty of guests today, a too-frequent occurrence in the death spiral that has gripped the once glamorous and vibrant resort hotel business in the Catskill Mountain’s Borscht Belt, less than 100 miles north of New York City.
Epitomized in the movie “Dirty Dancing,” from the early Fifties up to the early Seventies the area’s hotels were a haven for upwardly mobile Jewish families who came year-round to eat prodigious amounts of food and chortle at comedians like Jerry Lewis who defined their era. It was at places like The Concord, Grossinger’s and Kutscher’s that many a Jewish youngster—this writer included--first sampled skiing on the tiny snow-covered hills that spilled off the resorts’ golf courses.
Today, the hotels that survive are mere shadows of their glory day selves, peeling paint and cracked windows replacing third helpings of prime rib as their signatures. Many have shuttered, others have converted to residential apartments. Some hang on, clinging to a thread of hope that the state will someday legalize gambling in the depressed region.
Virtually all of their original clientele has either died or fled to the Sunbelt. The succeeding baby boomer generation assimilated and in winter, tends to frequent big Vermont ski areas like Mount Snow and Killington.
Out back at Kutscher’s, I find the ski hill in emblematic decay. On a wooden pole stuck in the middle of the slope stands the resort’s entire snowmaking arsenal--a single fan gun that looks like it was jury-rigged from a Lawn Boy mower.
THE ASPEN OF THE EAST
I came a skeptic, left a believer. Local boosters had repeatedly called Ellicottville, “The Aspen of the East” but I couldn’t fathom that anyplace in western New York could claim that title when Stowe and Lake Placid provide such stiff regional competition.
While it may not have the star-studded eateries or flashy shops of the Colorado legend, Ellicottville is a surprisingly first rate resort town, dotted with good restaurants and bars, interesting shops and galleries and two slickly-run ski areas (Holiday Valley and the private-club Holimont) that lack vertical but not interest. The town even has its own celebrities; reigning Miss USA Kimberly Pressler is a former Holiday Valley lift attendant.
With little national fanfare, the slickly run Holiday Valley draws upwards of 450,000 skiers each winter, eclipsing better known Hunter and Windham for the state’s top spot. While it doesn’t stretch high—it sports a smallish 750 vertical foot rise—it ranges wide with three distinct base areas dotting its winding access road. Holimont’s vertical is similar but it doesn’t spread as far. It does, however, have the distinction of being the largest private ski area in the country in terms of members. But it’s nuances, not numbers that make these places special.
The culture at both areas is downright clubby but unpretentious, a unique blend of egalitarian elitism that rarely exists in skiing today. Both places have dominant groups of regulars, most prominently at Holimont where opening weekend at the private area is “like a college reunion,” says 25-year-member Dick Ferrick as the 1,240 familes families primarily from Western New York, Ontario and Ohio reunite.
But it is the dedication of the well-heeled and well-schooled volunteer members that take a role in guiding every facet of the area from the racing program to building maintenance to social event planning that makes Holimont tick. The area even owns a patent on a popular snowmaking gun thanks to a group of members who helped develop it and receives up to $75,000 in royalty payments annually which help defray expenses.
While Holiday Valley is decidedly more commercial, it too has a strong scent of skiing as it used to be. The Ellicottville Ski Club, which traces it’s roots to the 1930s when skiing first started in this region, has its own clubhouse at the base of the lifts. I am struck by the hominess of the place when I enter the vestibule and am greeted by a grid of cubbys filled with wicker picnic baskets, the more elaborate ones emblazoned with family ski motif crests.
In Holiday Valley’s Tannenbaum lodge, an elegant riverstone and log timber complex patterned after Vail’s Two Elk, the top floor is one of the classiest brown bag areas in any ski resort. One family has brought the trappings of home, decorating its table with a floral cloth and a cooler filled with beer and wine. In a bow to local tradition, the perimeter is ringed with numerous electrical outlets, so the regulars can plant themselves at a table and plug in their crock pots filled with home cooked meals. But don’t think then standoffish. Area etiquette, in case you visit, permits you to move a crock pot to the floor and join a family at a table if there is room.
THERE’S MORE NEW YORK
Despite a relatively insane pace, I never did visit even half of the state’s ski areas. My biggest regret is missing Snow Ridge, reputedly an Alta-like snowcatcher without the vertical. Tucked on the eastern edge of Lake Ontario in Turin, it’s the state’s snowiest area, averaging more than 300 inches each year on its 500-foot vertical. Unfortunately the area was slammed shut by a two-foot snowstorm on the late March day I was slated to visit, Lest you think this a wimpy state, know that Snow Ridge was a willing host but the local power company was unable to provide the juice.
And I never did get around to writing about Don Edwards and Bill Gilbert, whose Catamount is the state’s easternmost area, straddling the New York/Massachusetts boarder in the Berkshires. Slick native New Yorkers, they tout their Mass. address when marketing to New England, their Empire State location when pitching the New York crowd.
Or about Peak ‘n’ Peak, the state’s westernmost, where you don’t have to agonize between choosing a second home on the fairway or one with ski-in ski out convenience. A small but polished resort, its village homes sit atop a ridge where the ski trails lie out the back door, the golf course out the front.
Guess these are New York stories you’ll have to discover for yourself.
EMPIRE STATERS WHO MADE THEIR MARK
You don’t have to grow up in Vermont or Colorado to become an important part of skiing. These native New Yorkers all impacted skiing on a national basis.
Terry Barbour and Mermer Blakeslee—Current PSIA Demo Team members, they cut their teeth on New York’s hills.
Michael Berry—Current president of the resort trade group, National Ski Areas Assn.
Geoff & Kathy Bruce-- Former brother/sister USST and pro racers in the Eighties,
Geoff now heads the Hotronic boot heater company.
Alex Cushing—Former New York City lawyer chucked it all to co-found Squaw Valley, Calif. where he orchestrated the first televised Winter Olympics in 1960, ushering in a boom in skiing.
Larry Demarese—One of Bristol Mtn.’s founders, he went on to launch Hedco, a leader in fan jet snowmaking technology.
Brian Fairbank—President and owner of Jiminy Peak, Mass. hails from Orchard Park, home of the Buffalo Bills.
Vicki Fleckenstein—Former USST and pro racer in the Eighties.
Victor Hall—Through the mid-Sixities, his Watertown company was the leading lift builder in the U.S. installing more than half the country’s lifts during boom years.
Gov. Averell Harriman—As Union Pacific chief, he founded Sun Valley in 1936. As NY governor he was instrumental in the creation of Whiteface and Gore.
Hank & Bucky Kashiwa—This brother act from Old Forge jointly run the Volant Ski Co. Hank was also a successful pro racer and remains a nationally-recognized TV sportscaster of ski events.
AJ Kitt---Recently-retired U.S. Ski Team downhiller shared a crib with Diann Roffe-Steinrotter as an infant when both their parents patrolled at Swain Ski & Snowboard Center in Western New York.
Lloyd Lambert—Patron saint of septuagenarian skiers everywhere, he founded the 70+ Ski Club.
Cindy Oak--Former USST racer and 1984 Olympian was a Holimont skier where her dad still patrols.
Roland Palmedo—A New York City financier, he helped found both Stowe and Mad River Glen in Vermont.
Tim Petrick—Renaissance ski man of the 80s and 90s. He is the former head coach at the influential Aspen race club, writer/editor/sales director at Powder Magazine, president of K2 skis and currently vice-president of at the Booth Creek Holdings resort operation.
Ron Ratnik—His long-time namesake snowmaking company is one of the industry’s most successful and has been responsible for many of the current developments in air-water systems.
Diann Roffe-Steinrotter—Two-time Olympic medal winner hails from Rochester suburb of Williamson.
Bill Stenger—Current president of Jay Peak, Vt. is a Corning native.
Alex Wilson—A Holiday Valley skier, he was the only American to win a World Cup mogul event last season.
Lowell Thomas—A famed radio broadcaster whose on-air accounts of globetrotting ski experiences probably did more to popularize the skiing than any other media member in history.
Tom J. Watson, Jr.—Former chairman/CEO of IBM, he founded Smugglers’ Notch.
Bernie Weichsel—New York City native is the reigning impresario of the nationwide clutch of ski shows that tours the country each fall. He also founded Ski USA which was instrumental in luring now-prevalent overseas visitors to U.S. resorts.—S.C.