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Ski Greats Gather to Celebrate the Sport

Ski Greats Gather to Celebrate the Sport

Posted - Apr. 7, 2003 at 3:45 p.m.



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Shelley Osterloh reporting North America's most celebrated ski historians and ski greats gathered in Utah to do a little reminicing and -- what else -- skiing.

The event was the International Skiing History Association annual meeting.

The earliest days of skiing were inspired by the need for transportation across the snow. But it didn't take long for people to discover just how fun it was. And recreational skiing was born.

Wolfgang Lert, Ski Legend: "WHEN I CAME TO THE UNITED STATES IN 1932, I WAS 15. I WAS ALREADY IN POSSESSION OF DECENT STEM TURN AND STEM CHRISTI, SO I WAS QUITE A HOT THING IN THOSE DAYS."

Wolfgang Lert was a photographer at the 1960 Winter Games in Squaw Valley and an editor of SKI magazine. Now as a member of the International Skiing History Association, Lert, 86, helps to preserve some of the heritage of skiing.

Also in her 80's, Ruth Rogers Altman was a ski instructor in the 1940's. She says people love to see her skiing today.

Ruth Rogers Altman: "BECAUSE IT GIVES THEM A HOPE THAT AT THAT TENDER AGE AND STAGE THAT I'M IN, THAT THEY WILL ALSO BE ABLE TO DO IT AND ENCOURAGE THEIR MOMS AND GRANDMA TO GET OFF THEIR CHAIR AND GO OUT AND SKI."

Doug Pfeiffer was an editor of SKI magazine who helped to promote a new skiing rage in the 70's --- freestyle.

Doug Pfeiffer, Ski Writer: "BECAUSE BACK IN THE 70'S EVERYTHING HAD BECOME COOKIE CUTTER PERFECT. YOU SKIED BY THE NUMBERS. THE SKI INSTRUCTORS WERE STUCK IN A RUT, THE SKI INDUSTRY WAS STUCK IN A RUT. THEY DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO DO.

"SO WE CAME UP WITH THIS CONCEPT OF FREESTYLE SKIING TO FIND THE BEST SKIER ON THE MOUNTAIN."

These historians say knowing the history of skiing enriches the experience.

John Fry, Pres. International Skiing History Association: "IF YOU KNOW ABOUT THE GREAT CHAMPIONS OF THE PAST, WHETHER IT'S TY COBB IN BASEBALL, OR STEIN ERIKSEN IN SKIING, IT GIVES YOU A GREATER DEPTH OF THE EXPERIENCE OF THE SPORT AND YOU CAN RELATE IT TO OTHER PEOPLE."

Olympic gold medalist Stein Eriksen says skiing's appeal is that the whole family can enjoy it at any age.

Stein Eriksen, Ski Legend: "IT IS A LOVE AFFAIR BETWEEN FAMILIES AND IT'S A LOVE AFFAIR WITH NATURE."

Skiing, like others sports, continues to evolve and change, making new history every day.

The International Ski History Association publishes a magazine and maintains a website about the people, places and events that make ski history. Check the box above for a link.

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