The Colorado Snowsports Hall of Fame has announced its the class of 2022 featuring an impressive group of industry pioneers, inspirational individuals and snow sports builders. The five individuals will be formally inducted on Aug. 21 at the 2022 Hall of Fame Celebration in Vail.
The family-friendly, open-air ceremony will take place at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail, with ticket prices starting at just $ 50 for adults. All proceeds support the Colorado Snowsports Museum, a nonprofit organization and the state of Colorado’s official snow sports museum.
“It is always such an honor to announce the incoming Hall of Fame class and to celebrate their stories,” said Jen Mason, executive director of the Colorado Snowsports Museum and Hall of Fame. “This class is represented by individuals who love snow sports and have dedicated their lives to making it better.”
Meet the 2022 Hall of Famers
Chester (Chet) Upham | Sport Builder
Upham was the owner (with family) and “hands-on” president of Loveland Ski Area – Colorado’s longest operating privately owned ski area – for more than 50 years. Upham’s operating vision, values, innovations, forward-looking development, vigilante investment, good business sense and employment of loyal and devoted Clear Creek County employees, created this iconic, mid-sized ski area. The ski area offers an unparalleled, affordable and classic family-oriented mountain experience. His vision of him influenced the industry through many Loveland “alumni” who went on to have an impact on the Colorado ski industry. Five of his former employees of him are Colorado Snowsports Hall of Famers.
John Dakin | Sport Builder
Dakin’s work across his entire career as a public relations professional has been a great benefit to Colorado. But notable in that career was his time spent in direct contact with global news media during the 1989, 1999 and 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships in Colorado. It provided him a unique platform to tell Colorado’s story with worldwide impact, an impact befitting recognition in the Hall of Fame.
Ron LeMaster | Inspirational
During five decades, LeMaster has brought his engineering and science acumen to the analysis of ski technique and has continuously contributed to the formation of skiers, ski coaches and instructors all over Colorado, the USA and the world. His writing and photographic skills have provided a unique perspective for elucidating the intricacies in ski technique from its most basic to its most highly developed levels. A Colorado native, LeMaster has brought renown to his home state around the skiing world through his authorship of works is considered the standard in ski technique analysis,
Peter Rietz | Sport Builder
Rietz has spent the entirety of his career in pursuits and positions that have defended and benefitted the ski industry. He has devoted countless volunteer hours contributing to the safety of employees and guests of ski areas. Rietz was a contributing author on the last two amendments to the Colorado Ski Safety Act and a co-author of “Your Responsibility Code.” He has also served as special counsel for the National Ski Area Association for thirteen years, and was a founding member and past president of the Association of Ski Defense Attorneys, a global group networking amongst attorneys that defend ski areas. His passion for educating employees on pro-active risk management is unparalleled.
Jeannie Thoren | Sport Builder
Thoren is a skier with a mission to create ski equipment to “fit” women according to their body type. A crusader for women skiers, her motto di lei is “Women Aren’t Small Men,” and for the past four decades, she has been perfecting skis and boots to enhance women’s ability to ski.
The Thoren Theory evolved to help women skiers radically improve their technique through equipment modification. In 1986, she built the first women’s specific ski in the Blizzard factory in Mittersill, Austria. In 2005, Dynastar / Lange hired her to perfect the Dynastar Exclusive Carve Ski which won the 2007 Gear of the Year Award. In 2009, she opened Vail’s first women’s ski shop. Fast forward from 2018 to the present, Thoren has partnered with the Steadman Philippon Research Institute’s Bio Motion Lab in Vail to study the effects of ski boots in relation to ACL Injury risk in women. Thoren has elevated the skiing experience for women across Colorado and global through her dedication, tenacity and perseverance di lei.
Gretchen Bleiler | Athlete, Class of 2019
In addition, the Colorado Snowsports Hall of Fame is excited to welcome Gretchen Bleiler to the stage at this year’s celebration. Bleiler was inducted as an athlete in 2019 but could not make the induction ceremony. We are thrilled to honor her di lei alongside the class of 2022.
Colorado’s most successful snowboard athlete, Bleiler made her mark as an athlete, an entrepreneur and an advocate for causes important to her. In a professional career that spanned nearly 20 years, Bleiler was the top star in her sport of halfpipe from 2002 through 2010, winning four X Games gold medals, World Superpipe Championships gold and two Van’s Triple Crown titles. She dominated qualifying for the 2006 Olympics, going on to win Olympic silver. Following her di lei Olympic medal, she used the platform to speak about her di lei firsthand experiences di lei with climate change around the world, as well as build a business base as an athlete entrepreneur, working with brands to design innovative environmentally minded signature products .
“In 2021, we redesigned the annual celebration with the goal of making it more inclusive, fun and welcoming, and to reflect our mission and excite people about the rich history of skiing and snowboarding in Colorado,” Mason said. “We are honored and excited to build upon the success of last year’s event.”
Hall of Fame candidates are nominated under the established criteria of athlete, sport builder, inspirational or pioneer categories, with the Hall of Fame Nomination Committee evaluating and confirming the nominees to move on to the final ballot. The 140-member Hall of Fame voting panel is comprised of current Hall of Fame members, key ski industry representatives and the Hall’s board of directors.
Ticket information for the Aug. 21 event will soon be available at SnowsportsMuseum.org.
Vail Daily contributed to this report. Read more at VailDaily.com.