Ski Pioneer ... RIP
September 22, 2006
Just happened to see this -- thought it was interesting. Actually I have a request -- i'd like to be able to change the forum I am posting to, ... from within this editor thing. maybe there's a way but I don't see it!
Ski Pioneer Cushing Dies at 92
Monday August 21, 12:04 pm ET
By Martin Griffith, Associated Press Writer
Ski Pioneer Alexander C. Cushing, Who Brought '60 Winter Games to U.S., Dies at 92
RENO, Nev. (AP) -- Alexander C. Cushing, the founder and chairman of one of the world's largest and best known ski resorts, died at his summer home in Newport, R.I., the resort said. He was 92.
Cushing, who helped launch the sport in the U.S. by bringing the 1960 Winter Olympic Games to his Squaw Valley USA near Lake Tahoe, died Saturday of pneumonia, the resort said Sunday.
Cushing opened the California resort in 1949 with one chairlift, a rope tow and a 50-room lodge. Today, it is one of the world's premier resorts, with 34 lifts and an Alpine village complete with upscale restaurants, shops and lodging.
Among other things, Cushing set standards for the ski industry with advanced lift systems and cutting-edge facilities, said Warren Lerude, a corporation board member.
"Alex Cushing was one of the great pioneers in the ski industry in America," Lerude said. "By bringing the Winter Olympics to Squaw Valley, he ... helped spark the development of the ski industry in the United States."
Cushing bid for the games as a publicity stunt, never dreaming he might get them.
His fledgling resort was little known outside California, and he stunned the sports world by beating out internationally known resorts in Europe. He made the cover of Time magazine in 1959.
The Games were the first ever televised, exposing 10 million viewers to what was then considered an elitist sport. Millions of middle-class families caught the skiing bug, and resorts proliferated.
The games brought international attention to the Sierra resort and sparked a development boom at Lake Tahoe, sparsely populated at the time.
Ironically, Cushing, who was inducted into the Ski Industry Hall of Fame in 1999, acknowledged he was never much of a skier.
"I was never a good skier," he told The Associated Press in 1995. "I could get down the slopes. But now, it's a lot more like snipping daisies and flowers."
Cushing fought with environmentalists and government officials for years over everything from ski runs to diesel fuel contamination.
In 1989, the Sierra Club and Hewlett-Packard Co. co-founder William Hewlett sued him for $4.5 million, claiming he cut down thousands of trees for a new ski run without permits.
In 1999, the resort was accused of blasting large chunks of a mountain and allowing the excavated material to wash into a sensitive stream without permits.
Born in New York City, Cushing graduated from Harvard Law School and joined the Navy the day after Pearl Harbor.
He gave up a legal career to start the resort after a friend took him to California in 1946. He opened the resort with the backing of relatives and friends.
This news makes me think of the first generation of US ski area founders; mostly gone to the great powder stash in the sky. Can anybody add/edit this list, esp local founders? A lot of these guys had amazing wives that helped get their mom&pop operations up and running. Somewhere there's probably already a list of these pioneers.
Dick Bass, 1930-, founded Snowbird, UT in 1971
Ernie Blake, founded Taos Ski Valley (with wife Rhoda Blake), NM in 1955
Alex Cushing, 1913-2006, founded Squaw Valley, CA in 1949
Max Dercum founded Keystone (with wife Edna), CO in 1973
Dupree family, Seven Springs, PA
Averell Harriman,1891-1986 , founded Sun Valley, ID in 1935
Paul McCollister, 1915-1999 , founded Jackson Hole, WY in 1967
Dave McCoy, 1915-, founded Mammoth Mtn, CA in 1955
Friedl Pfeifer and Walter Paepcke, 1897-1960, cofounded Aspen, CO in 1947
Pete Siebert, 1924-2002, founded Vail, CO in 1960
Preston Smith, founded Killington, VT in 1958
Walter Schoenknecht, ..-1987, founded Mt. Snow, VT in 1954
Robert Redford, Sundance, UT
Tommy Cochran, Waterville Valley, NH
Chet Huntley, Big Sky, MT
I can't add to the list but when i was in big sky a few years ago, there was a bio of the founder of big sky -- which was pretty dang interesting. Unfortunately I can't add anything more to it much, maybe i can poke around on the web and find something about it...
Actually I am thinking of Everett Kirchner -- founder of Boyne resorts, "co-founder" of Big Sky... and some others I think.
Started off as a studebacker dealer in Michigan or something like that.
is Doc Brigham still around? founded at least 1 resort in nc (beech?) and then the shoe.