Seven set for Hall of Fame induction | Sports Features

A couple whose skiing glory days didn’t ignite until their 50s. A former Alpine program director who helped propel Jackson Hole into the national spotlight. A snowboarding pioneer. An Alpine race starter. A ski cinematographer who’s documented the sport from Alaska to Antarctica. A ski-racing preparation expert. A former Biathlete of the Year.

Those are your seven inductees into the Class of 2022 Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club Hall of Fame, the organization’s third class since its inception in 2014.

The club’s hall of fame was created in 2013 and is part of its museum, housed in the ski shelter side of the Snow King Mountain Resort center in Jackson, where Thursday’s induction ceremony will take place on Snow King’s Grand View lawn.

The club receives about 40 or 50 nominations during each four-year period, said Grace Tirapelle, student-athlete support program director for the club, and those are whittled down and finalized in August prior to each induction year.

“It’s really a careful selection process,” Tirapelle said.

The ones who make the cut, and 29 have done so since that first class in 2014, “are obviously the standout individuals, and many are still active in the club,” Tirapelle said. “We have a really good spread this year across our athletic disciplines.”

Inductees are selected in at least one of four categories: Competitor, pioneer, innovator, inspiration.

Here’s a look at all seven inductees:

Med and Petie Bennett skied almost all their lives, especially after relocating to Jackson Hole in 1970, 23 years after Cynthia “Petie” Bennett first laid eyes on Grand Teton National Park. They lived in Wilson, first on the banks of Fish Creek, and then in a log cabin just east of town, where they raised cows, chickens and turkeys, and where Petie trained horses, eventually becoming a skilled equestrian. They hiked, backpacked, boated and skied at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, with their girls Lisa and Edie becoming top-notch Nordic skiers in the ski club as their parents pitched in to help with local ski races.

After the girls graduated high school, the Bennetts both became masters skiers in their 50s. They spent more than a decade training year-round and competing all over the world. Petie won multiple world gold medals in her age group. In 1985, they both qualified for the world masters skiing championships in Germany. They both competed into their 60s and traveled to regional and national races, including watching world championships in Lake Placid, New York; Finland; Austria; Quebec; Italy; and Alaska.

“I’m proud and grateful to the Ski Club for choosing to honor my parents,” Edie Bennett, who lives in Jackson Hole, said in an email. “Not only did my parents foster a love of skiing within our family, but they also inspired many people in the Nordic community through their masters racing and overall longtime involvement with the club.”

Med Bennett died of Alzheimer’s disease in 2001 at the age of 73. Petie Bennett died in 2020 at age 89 from heart disease. Both of their daughters plan to attend Thursday’s induction ceremony.

Scott Bowdler was the club’s Alpine program director from 1986 to 2000 and oversaw a period of exponential growth in participation at all age levels, according to the club. Bowdler led several key advances that grew the club from a local race program into a strong contender in the Intermountain Division of US Ski and Snowboard. Bowdler built up the club’s coaching roster with accomplished former NCAA racers, and he and his staff di lui worked with the Intermountain Division and the US Ski Team to boost the Jackson alpine racing scene. His own coaching expertise inspired and enabled a generation of Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club athletes to reach national prominence.

Bowdler also led the development of the new club headquarters in the Snow King Center that replaced the old log shelter, adding offices, athlete facilities, a race room and timing area that significantly upgraded Intermountain Division races. He was instrumental in running the race requirements and on-hill course development for the US National Alpine Championships in Jackson in 2000, which propelled Jackson Hole into the national spotlight.

Back in the 1980s, anyone riding a snowboard on Snow King or at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort was looked at with a mixture of wonder and amusement, recalled John Griber, now a Jackson-based freelance videographer who films everything from National Geographic series to sherpas descending Mount Everest.

“‘Can you turn that thing?’ skiers would say from the chairlift. ‘Can you stop that thing?’ It was just called ‘that thing,’ ”Griber said with a chuckle.

Griber became a pioneer in the sport that’s now one of the most recognizable winter sports around the globe, making the first of many snowboard descents in the Teton Range. Sponsorship by The North Face took him around the globe, climbing and riding on all seven continents. He has completed more than 10 expeditions to Nepal and summited Everest twice. And he was the first North American to ride from an 8,000-meter peak – Tibet’s Cho Oyu, the sixth tallest in the world. Griber became the Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club’s first snowboard program director and coach, directing the likes of snowboarding great Travis Rice, one of the original inductees of the club’s hall of fame.

“It’s exciting,” Griber said of his impending induction. “I guess I was a little surprised. It’s just cool that I was a part of snowboarding in its early stages, and especially in Jackson. It’s really cool to be recognized for that. “

Mike Hammer’s long-standing support of the Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club began in the early 1980s. Four decades later, athletes still approach him to share fond memories of his encouragement of him at an alpine race start, according to the club. Hammer has lived in the Jackson Hole area since a business opportunity brought him here in 1979, and soon after he became involved with the Jackson Hole Ski Club, taking on the role of Alpine starter. For more than 20 years, Hammer was the starter for hundreds of races and that role evolved into various other roles in the Intermountain Division of the US Ski Team, including president of the division in 2007. He also served a couple of one-year terms as interim executive director of the club.

“Amidst all the administrative work, Mike was also a JHSC Masters program participant,” a profile on the club’s website says. “The tone Mike set – his focus on joy, laughter, hard work and care for racers and staff alike – continues to drive the culture of the [club] today. “

When it comes to skiing, Rick Hunt has done it all. He was a top skier at Jackson Hole High School four decades ago and at Montana State University. He’s worked as a ski instructor. He’s a rock climber. He’s a cinematographer. He’s completed several first descents of the Bridger Mountains – and filmed them. He’s a masters skier and has worked with NBC as part of the Olympic Downhill crew. He’s served three terms as a member of the Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club’s board of directors, starting in 2009. And he was a key contributor to the Building Our Base Campaign for the club in 2013.

Hunt was also one of the original pioneers of the Jackson Hole Air Force, a legendary group of boundary-pushing skiers who worked to open the nearby backcountry via Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

“In those days, all the youngsters aspired to be ski racers or cowboys in the rodeo,” Hunt told JH Style Magazine. “The high school team got out of school at 1 pm for training. Back then, a lot of us still wore Levi’s skiing, and it was cold. “

A Boulder rancher, Tom Johnston has been involved with race hill preparation for the 2002, 2014, 2018 and 2022 Winter Olympics. He’s considered one of the foremost experts in the world on race hill preparation and venue safety. He’s been a Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club Alpine coach and is known for his cowboy work ethic, according to the club.

“Tom’s legacy can be felt from the robust race culture that continues to grow and develop in Jackson to the Olympic alpine courses,” according to the club.

A recent News & Guide story said Johnston’s known worldwide for his “skill in molding a race surface that is fast, stable, smooth and safe.”

Over the past two years, Johnston has made anywhere from “eight to 10” trips to South Korea. He did spring and fall inspections and determined what dirt work needed to be done to shape the course, although he said he didn’t have as much say in that process as he would have liked. He worked with NBC to determine camera positions for TV coverage and with the International Ski Federation race directors to determine course sets and to decide where to put the myriad safety nets.

Pam Weiss was a member of the first US biathlon team to include women in 1980. In 1982, she was named by the US Olympic Committee as the Biathlete of the Year. She was a leading member of the US team for the world championships in 1985, 1986 and 1987, placing in the sprint, individual and relay events in 1985 and 1986. She has 17 career medals, five of them won in international competition and nine of them gold. She also volunteered as a coach on the Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club Nordic team from 1982 to 1988 and she served on the board of directors from 1993 to 1995.

“Throughout her competitive career, Pam was a leader and mentor who forged the way in overcoming obstacles to women’s participation in Biathlon,” the club said as part of her induction profile.

“There were no sports other than cheerleading at my high school,” Weiss wrote in an e-mail to FasterSkier in 2014. “I even tried to train with the boys’ track team, but was denied training there, too.” Weiss got into Alpine ski racing because her father di lei was a ski patroller. She raced Alpine at the University of Vermont in the mid-1970s and also ran cross-country before moving to Jackson Hole.

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