Snowsport Pioneers Making History
To honor and celebrate the athletes and industry pioneers
who have made a significant impact on snowsports in America
while displaying the artifacts that support their historic achievements.
Serving as the executive director of the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) since 1992, Michael’s guidance and influence has been instrumental in the distribution of research statistics and other resources that help resorts to be more successful. Under Michaels leadership, the NSAA has produced more training, awareness to laws and regulations, communication with government affairs within the industry, risk management, safety programs, resort affairs training and much more.
Coming in at a time when the industry was maturing and looking at an eminent “changing-of-the-guard”, Michael focused on creating a sustained growth model for the future owners to enjoy. The industry has seen overall resort visits in the US grow from 50 to 57 million annual visits since 1993. Michael continues to provide leadership and oversees NSAA’s budget, operations and market research programs.
A lifetime ski industry leader, Michael has been at it for 50 plus years. Prior to NSAA, Michael was President for Kirkwood Resort in California and he also worked at Keystone, Sun Valley and Vail. He continues to work and advocate for the Colorado State University’s Masters of Tourism Program and has also worked with the California Ski Industry Association, the National Forest Foundation and the USSA where he was awarded the Julius Blegen Award for services to ski organizations.
Dan and John Egan
Campton, NH & Moretown, VT
Two of the most influential skiers of our time, Dan and John Egan skied side by side for over two decades launching cliffs, starring in films, competing on the World Pro Mogul Tour, World Pro Race Tour and performing some of the most daring descents in the world including the famous 1990 Cornice Break at Grand Tarhee, Wyoming captured in Warren Miller’s Film “Extreme Winter”.
The Egan brothers were pivotal in the growth of action sports. They founded The North Face Extreme Team and skied in locations that chronicled the geopolitical landscape of the 80’s and 90’s. Featured in more Warren Miller Films than anyone else, the Egan’s put “extreme” on the map for skiing. In addition to starring in films and movies, they narrated live film showings to promote for Warren Miller Entertainment and produced television shows including Dan Egan’s Wild World of Winter which reached over 75 million homes annually.
Since the early 90’s, Dan and John have taught thousands of skiers. As successful businessmen, they remain ambassadors for the sport of skiing.
Ellen Post Foster
A world-class freestyle skier and 8-year member of the PSIA National Demonstration Team, Ellen is a revered clinician, coach, and author who has been instrumental in the evolution of how ski instructors understand and teach skiing. She is known for her in-depth knowledge of technique and her articulate leadership and writing styles.
Devoted to helping young skiers excel, Ellen played an invaluable role in the formation of the USSA Youth Ski League, a program that began in 1984 and continues today. She received the Russell Wilder Memorial Award from USSA in 1993 for outstanding achievements in focusing the interests of America’s youth on the sport of skiing.
Ellen’s books, the Alpine Skills Achievement Manual, Technical Skills for Alpine Skiing, and Race Skills for Alpine Skiing, provided much needed instruction for coaching young skiers. Her 1996 award-winning book, Skiing and the Art of Carving, educated instructors, coaches, and the skiing public on how to maximize performance on shaped skis.
Most recently, Ellen co-authored PSIA’s Alpine Technical Manual and received the PSIA-AASI Award for Educational Excellence in recognition of her outstanding educational contributions over the years. Her books, Alpine Star newsletters, and magazine articles have helped instructors and coaches teach skiers nationwide, including champions of our sport.
Leading the charge heading into he 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo, Jeff was more than just a ski jumper. Even in his early career, he motivated teammates, brought camaraderie to every practice and worked tirelessly to raise himself and his entire team to a higher level. Setting the bar for what is possible, Jeff placed fourth just inches from a podium in Sarajevo setting a record for US ski jumping that remains to this day.
Jeff, a four time U.S. National Ski Jumping Champion, went on to make a name for himself in US ski jumping by continuing as a coach and mentor starting in the Calgary games in 1988 where he coached the US Nordic combined team and remains active today instructing the next generation of ski jumpers in America.
Jeff is an outstanding leader exemplifying what is possible through his hard work and dedication. Jeff was a founding member of USANS and he remains active as a commentator, coach, judge and sport advocate. Recently, Jeff helped raise over $3 million as the race director for the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth Half Marathon helping to ensure that no child will ever receive a bill for treatment.
In more than 30 years in the sport of ski jumping there are few areas that Jeff hasn’t touched. His leadership and accomplishments continue to aid in our athletes’ performances.
Marion Post Caldwell
Small but mighty, Marion dominated world freestyle skiing competition in the 1970s. She secured the Women’s Overall Championship Title in 1976 and 1977 and was crowned Women’s Freestyle Skier of the Year by Skiing Magazine and Freestyle Competitor of the Year by Ski Racing. Marion’s imagination was sparked by the ballet event, igniting a passion. In 1974, fresh out of high school, Marion won the World Ballet Championship at Heavenly Valley. This began a string of victories and a 4-year reign as Ballet Grand Prix Champion.
Throughout her 5 years of professional skiing, Marion shared her respect of people and sport and her love of learning. She mentored her home Jiminy Peak Junior Demo Team and spent a month every summer coaching future world champion freestylers at Airborne Eddie’s. She broke new ground in acrobatic skiing with John Clendenin as they partnered to create and perform stunning pair ballet routines, incorporating lifts and throws. As an ambassador of freestyle skiing, Marion performed at London’s Ski Trade Show and was invited back twice. Norwegian athletes brought her to Beitostolen to teach them ski ballet. With a generous spirit and her humble nature, Marion displays elite athleticism, backed by an outstanding competition record.
Time Magazine described Chuck Lewis as one of the most visionary ski Entrepreneurs of the 20th century. Skiing first at age 5, Chuck was winning every race he entered by the time he reached high school. He was selected for the U.S. Junior Olympic team and competed as a collegiate racer for Dartmouth College. In 1955 he was beckoned by the U.S. Army and stationed at Camp Hale, Colorado where he worked with the Mountain and Cold Weather Division.
Amongst his many achievements, Chuck coached Junior Olympic greats Bill Marolt, Moose Barrows, Billy Kidd and many more. Despite Chucks impressive resume’ as an athlete, soldier and coach, it was his business leadership and talent for which he is most well-known and remembered.
Working his way up to CFO and Executive VP at Vail, Chucks early career was booming. He left Vail to complete a 3-year feasibility study on what would become Copper Mountain. Chucks instrumental vision for design and trail layout is featured on many mountains today. Copper Mountain won several environmental awards, hosted World Cup Events and the U.S. Alpine National Ski Championships three times.
Chuck passed in March of 2000 leaving a legacy on the industry. His several protégés remain running successful ski areas across the country. Snowsport enthusiast across the US enjoy slopes each winter day that Chuck’s vision and talent helped to set standards for.
Gretchen Rous Besser
Gretchen’s unprecedented career as a ski patroller and first aid instructor are impressive, her impact as a historian, international liaison and visionary in the world of skiing clearly sets her apart. For 40 years, Gretchen has remained an active patroller while becoming the first and only NSP Historian writing more than 140 articles focusing on ski safety, technical developments and new technologies that help keep us all safe out on the mountain.
In addition to her role as a historian, Gretchen represents skiing and ski patrolling on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, she has presented at various Winter Olympic Games and is our International Liaison in Canada, France, Australia, China, Japan, Chile and Argentina.
Gretchen selflessly volunteers as an author and has sat on both the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame board and the International Skiing History Association board. Her contributions to the ski industry are immeasurable. She has helped in the preserving of important archives and artifacts all around the world and was also a college professor of French literature authoring three books and hundreds of articles in that field.
Through tireless effort, enthusiasm and a lifetime of wholehearted dedication Bernie has changed the snow sport industry in so many ways. Bernie exemplifies what it means to dedicate yourself to something you are passionate about. The result of such devotion has created wins for our industry on so many fronts.
Known globally throughout the industry, Bernie has done it all. As an advocate, Bernie organized and ran the first freestyle skiing competitive circuit putting freestyle skiing on the map. Through several hurdles, Bernie’s efforts brought the sport to the world stage and ultimately the most popular / most-watched sport in the Winter Olympics today.
His innovative SKIUSA worldwide promotions successfully introduced the American mountain experience to skiers and snowboarders around the world. SKIUSA brought millions of resort-goers to the US and was pivotal in the sustainable growth of today’s resorts. Through the Youth Enrichment Service, Bernie also helped less fortunate kids hit the slopes and learn to ski.
From the early days with Harry Leanord, Berne took to the tradeshow industry. He originally wanted to join the circus but decided the tradeshow industry might serve him better. From cleaning booths and managing the floor to what has become today, Bernie has transformed the industry through BEWI Productions.
His passion for history has helped both the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame and the International Skiing History Association further their reach and move their organizations forward.