Eight skiing legends will be entered into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame’s Honor Roll as the Class of 2011 on Saturday, April 14. The lineup is headlined by Olympic and World Championship medalists Joe Pack and Eva Twardokens as well as ski area pioneer, Nick Badami. The 2011 class includes World Cup and pro skiing racer Tyler Palmer, ski area pioneer Phil Gravink, ski history enthusiast Mason Bekley, speed skier and writer Dick Dorworth, and ski show pioneer Harry Leonard. The elite group will be officially enshrined at the Ishpeming Hall of Fame later on in the year.
“Our eight inductees represent a diverse cross section of some of the greatest figures in skiing whose passion for the sport was shown throughout their careers. The Hall of Fame is proud to recognize their achievements and contributions to our sport,” said U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame Chairman, Bernie Weichsel.
Nick Bedami had an illustrious ski industry career spanning forty years as a business owner, executive, and volunteer. He retired at the age of 49 and bought California’s Alpine Meadows as well as Utah’s Park City Ski Area. Bedami also helped lead the National Ski Areas Association, U.S. Skiing, and the Bid and Organizing Committees for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. He passed away in 2008.
“Nick Badami was a difference maker for our sport,” said USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt. “The leadership he brought to our organization, and our industry skiing industry, is still felt today. He was one of the key architects of the USSA as a best in the world Olympic sports organization.”
Pack was a silver medalist in the freestyle aerials event at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, and he’s been on the World Cup podium twelve times with three wins. He also won two World Championship bronze medals in front of his hometown crowd at Deer Valley Resort. Pack turned to professional golf in Hawaii after retiring from skiing.
“Joe was a standout performer amongst an amazing team of aerialists,” said Marolt. “His silver medal at Deer Valley in front of the hometown crowd will remain one of the greatest moments in U.S. Ski Team history.”
Twardokens opening with a World Cup Debut at the age of 17 back in 1982 and immediately picked up Ski Racing’s Junior Racer of the Year honors in 1982 and 1983. During a career that spanned twelve years she reached 3 podiums and earned 34 top tens, including a bronze medal in the 1985 World Championships. The two-time Olympian is now a fitness promoter and lays claim to a Masters National Weightlifting title.
“Eva was an inspirational athlete on an amazingly talented team when she started her career with a World Championship medal in 1985,” said Marolt. “Her hard work paid off throughout her U.S. Ski Team tenure.”
New Hampshire native Tyler Palmer dominated the World Cup tour in the 1970′s as he became the first American man to reach top 3 overall in slalom. He won two World Cup slaloms, appeared on the podium 4 times, and had 9 top tens, on top of winning 5 races on Bob Beattie’s World Professional Ski Tour. Palmer coached junior racers in Sun Valley until retiring in 2010.
“Tyler was a key figure in ushering ski racing into its modern era,” said Marolt. “He followed Billy Kidd and Jimmie Heuga with his own World Cup slalom wins and went on to be dominant figure in pro ski racing’s heyday.”
Dick Dorworth, ski racer, world speed record holder, coach, instructor, and journalist, was an All-American in 1962 and 1963 for ski racing as well as world speed record holder with a speed of 170 kph. He became the ski school director in Aspen and U.S. Ski Team Coach as well as a published author of several skiing books. As recipient of an Ullr Award by the International Skiing History Association, his writing has been showcased in many skiing magazines and journals.
“Dick was an outstanding athlete and always a trendsetter who wasn’t afraid of leading the way,” said Marolt. “As an athlete, he really made his mark in the new sport of speed skiing but left his legacy as an author and storyteller for the sport of skiing.”
Businessman and skier, Mason Beekley was a notorious ski history enthusiast. He built up a library dedicated to skiing and his collection of ski art led him to create the International Skiing History Association in 1991 (which now has more than 2,000 members). Beekley died in 2001.
Phil Gravink spent 35 years in the national level of ski area management starting by founding Peek N Peak before going on to run Gore Mountain and Loon Mountain. He also influenced U.S. Forest Service policies and served for 18 years as director of the National Ski Areas Association. Gravink has been the recipient of the NSAA’s Sherman Adams Award for leadership, the Lifetime Achievement Award, and the BEWI Award.
In the 1960′s and 1970′s, Harry Leonard was the ski industry’s best visionary and cheerleader. He created the first ski consumer show in 1958 and partnered with Jerry Simon to turn shows into creative, fun, and entertaining events. Leonard invented the Ski Deck (bringing skiing right into his shows) and brought in top skiers to headline events.
The class of 2011 was selected by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame’s National Selection Committee and included a vote by its National Voting Panel. The legendary group will be inducted at Seattle’s Bell Harbor Center on April 14, 2012. For more information visit: www.skihall.org.