50 People for 50 Years
● By Grant Johnson
Steamboat Ski Area has historically featured a cast of characters, ranging from its original visionaries to big-time operators, from legendary athletes to hard-working ranchers.
In addition to the founding families, featured in the "Family Ties" article, here are 50 personalities who contributed to the shaping of the ski area. Although some are racing champions, this is not a list of Olympians; those will be duly recognized in 2014, the next Olympic year.
Doug Allen - Has been with the mountain since 1986 and is vice president of mountain operations, as well as a member of the National Tramways Services Board.
Tom Barr - Founded the WSC snowboard team with Randy Havens, 1990; first official snowboard instructor at the Steamboat Ski Area, 1989
Moose Barrows - Steamboat Olympian, ski instructor, philanthropist and realtor whose lifetime of service to Steamboat includes volunteerism, community involvement and ranching.
Mix Beauvais - The first marketing director of Steamboat, Mix spent 16 years promoting the fledgling ski area, seeing it through to its fruition as a world-class ski area in the 1980s.
Nelson Carmichael - First Steamboat skier to win an Olympic medal.
Marvin Crawford - One of the original founders of the ski area, Marv was also a ski jumper, who was elected to the National Ski Jumping Hall of Fame and the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame.
David Crisler - Worked at the ski area for 44 years and is currently director of slope maintenance, as well as a veteran ski racer and jumper.
Esther Delli Quadri - Was the first female ski patroller on the mountain, Winter Carnival queen, ski racer and long-time race
official, who is currently on the board of the Rocky Mountain Division, USSA.
Rick DeVos - Former director of the Steamboat Ski Area ski & snowboard school, now executive director of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.
Chris Diamond - President and chief operating officer of the Steamboat Ski Area since 1999; community and ski industry leader.
Shannon Dunn - First Steamboat rider to win an Olympic medal.
Joe Foreman - Presided over ski area expansion into Morningside Park and Pioneer Ridge.
Hans Geier - Current nominee for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame, Geier was the ski area president for nine years, increasing annual skier-day visits from 360,000 to over 1,000,000
Sherry Gibson - Joined the ski area in 1980 and has served as executive assistant to the president since 1994.
Rod Hanna - Presided over the marketing department of the Steamboat Ski Area for 25 years
Martin Hart - Was chairman of the Steamboat Ski Corporation from 1980 through 1989; stayed on as chair through 1991 under Kamori Kanko ownership.
Dick Hauserman - Designed the famous Steamboat logo in 1970.
Ray Heid - An Olympian and familiar cowboy in Steamboat, Ray skied the backcountry with Buddy Werner et al. before the ski area was opened, and he still skis it today.
Delbert Heid - Served on lift & maintenance crews when the resort opened and was a member of the National Ski Patrol.
Errold Hitchen - First paid ski patrolman at the ski area, Hitchens helped to build the Christie and Thunderhead lifts. Supervised the ski area for LTV Recreation Development from 1974 to 1981, during which time sales doubled and the ski area grew to 600 employees.
Carl Howelsen - The father of skiing in Steamboat Springs and beyond, jumping over an elephant inside a tent at Barnum & Bailey Circuses throughout the United States. Howelsen Hill is named for this famous Norwegian Olympian.
Kimihito Kamori - President of Kamori Kanko, which owned the ski area from 1989 through 1997. Kamori Kanko operates ski areas and other resorts, primarily in Japan.
Hank Kashiwa - Professional ski racer who represented the Steamboat Ski Area as world champion in 1975.
Billy Kidd - Steamboat's director of skiing since 1970, silver medalist in the 1964 Olympics and world champion, 1970.
Gary Kihlstrom - Helped to build the first lift at the ski area, tended bar at the old Gallery restaurant, initiated security at the ski area. The Kihlstrom maintenance building is named in his honor.
Kent Kirkpatrick - "Switchboard Kent," the voice of Steamboat since 1994.
Bob Kuusinen - The former vice president of mountain operations, Kuusinen worked for the mountain for 31 years. Kuus' Cruise run is named after him.
Liz Leipold - Helped to found Steamboat's first adaptive ski program in the early 1970s.
Verne Lundquist - Nationally known sports commentator, Lundquist lives in Steamboat Springs and is an avid ski area enthusiast and community
Ruth McClelland - Worked for the ski area for 30 years, as an instructor, supervisor and administrator. Daughter of Rudi Schnackenburg.
Gary Mielke - Served as ski area president for five years, during which time snowboarding was legalized.
Merle Nash - Helped develop the original Storm Mountain, where he worked for 15 years, cutting trails, setting lifts and doing maintenance before becoming mountain manager and lift manager.
Les Otten - Former CEO of American Skiing Company, which purchased Steamboat in 1999. Locals personified ASC in the form of Otten and created a series of anti-ski corp. bumper stickers, including "More Steamboat, Less Otten."
Glen Paulk - Supervised the ski area for LTV Recreation Development from 1974 to 1981, during which time sales doubled and the ski area grew to 600 employees.
Roger Perricone - Race course manager and FIS official; 2012 president of the Rocky Mountain Division of the U.S. Ski Team
Hank Perry - Investment broker involved in funding its early years.
Sherm Poppen - Creator of the "snurfer," the forerunner of the modern snowboard.
Dick Randolph - Oversaw operations and lifts at the ski area in the 1970s, after which he became chairman of the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board chairman.
Rudi Schnackenberg - Was a 10th Mountain Division veteran and ski school supervisor. Rudi's Run is named in his honor.
Park Smalley - Dubbed the “godfather of freestyle skiing.” The freestyle complex on Voo Doo run is named in his honor. He is a member of the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame.
Chris Smith - The owner of Powder Pursuits, Chris contracted his services to the ski area to create its first ever snowboard instruction program.
Charlie Swinehart -Ticket sales superintendent for 16 years. The women who worked in the office with her were affectionately dubbed “Charlie’s Angels.”
Marion Tolles - 25-year career at the ski area culminated in her position as executive assistant to the director.
Sureva Towler - Wrote the book on skiing in Steamboat. Literally. Her book, "The History of Skiing at Steamboat Springs," forms the backbone of most writing on the subject.
Lonny Vanatta - World Pro Slalom champion 1981; Lonny won 20 races, competing for Steamboat and went on to coach for WSC.
Cathy Weidemer - One of the most photographed skiers in Steamboat, Weidemer was the public relations manager at the ski area. With Pete Wither, she developed the first summer mountain biking program. "Cathy's Cutoff" bike trail is named in her honor.
Deb Werner - Has worked on the mountain for 40 years and is currently director of lift operations.
Sven Wiik - Olympic gymnast from Sweden who coached many local skiers and whose influence shaped the Nordic community.
Pete Wither - Retired ski patrol director, under whose tenure the summer mountain biking program was started. "Pete's Wicked Trail" (bike trail) is named in his honor.
Gordy Wren - Steamboat’s only four-way Olympian (alpine, cross country, jumping and Nordic combined); he went on to coach all three Werner children, among hundreds of other young skiers at the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.
Nominate your own Steamboat hero at www.steamboatmagazine.com