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Back Talk – September 1999

First Tracks

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I was very disappointed in your article on the most influential people in skiing “The 25 Most Influential People,” January 1999. You never mentioned Stowe and Perry Merrill-and was it Sepp Ruschp? How could you not even mention Stowe, one of the major ski resorts in the East?

Robert Youker

via the Internet

I enjoyed your 50th Anniversary issue because it brought back so many memories. But you missed the boat by not featuring the one person who did more than Warren Miller to popularize skiing: John Jay. In the days before TV, his ski movies often appeared in Movietone News, which was shown in every theater before the feature film and fascinated a nation that had never seen real skiing before.
Dr. Thomas Kelly
Brooklyn, New York

Sorry, your list is missing some of the sport’s most influential people. For instance, Howard Head, who took us off wood skis, and National Ski Patrol founder Minnie Dole. What about snowmaking? Would we have skiing east of the Rockies without it? And who designed the first chairlift at Sun Valley?
Bob Larubbio
Park Ridge, New Jersey

I was so pleased to see that you included Jeannie Thoren in your selection of the 25 most influential people. I have attended two of her Thoren Theory Seminars, and she helped me resolve the problems that nearly caused me to give up skiing. I can’t thank Jeannie enough for putting the pleasure back in skiing.
Ann M. Langford
Park Ridge, Illinois

I cannot believe that you can publish a 50th Anniversary issue, choose 25 people who you claim are the most influential in skiing, and not include Alf Engen or Dolores LaChapelle. To add insult to injury, you completely forgot or ignored the fact that Alta’s ski lifts turned 60 this year! Unless you have spent a season as an Alta liftie, you’re completely clueless and should get in line with all the other beaters at Breckenridge or Vail and have a wonderful day on the groomers.
Alti of Alta
via the Internet

Bravo! As a skier since 1950 and a longtime subscriber to Skiing, I must tell you that the 50th Anniversary issue gave me untold pleasure. It is a real winner.
Richard Wolff
Montclair, New Jersey

Thanks for the mention in your 50th Anniversary issue. However, on the subject of safety, former editor-in-chief Al Greenberg deserves more credit than I. More than any other person, Al set the agenda for the greatest improvements in skier safety. By encouraging research and the standards-development process, Al made intelligent debate possible. And through honest reporting and fair analysis, he won the confidence of the diverse organizations, companies, and individuals whose support was necessary to bring about change.
Carl Ettlinger
Underhill Center, Vermont

Your special 50th Anniversary issue was captivating, in particular”Skiing’s Timeline” and “Great Innovations.” However, absent from your list was the Burt retractable binding. For several years in the late ’70s, these ingenious devices were used by rental shops as well as by those of us wanting to avoid the frustration of yard-sale falls. The Burt binding also elevated the boot above the ski, something for which we now pay extra (in the form of lifters) to gain superior edging. Having kept two pair of Burts for nostalgic reasons, I am half tempted to mount a pair on a new shaped ski.
Paul J. Kleiber
Lake Ozark, Missouri

Your 50th Anniversary issue was skitabulous. I loved reliving those memories through your timeline. As kids in the 1940s, we were skiing in lace boots, with wood skis, bear-trap bindings, and bamboo poles. In the ’50s we wore those 10th Mountain Division tan-and-white fur-hooded parkas and baggy ski pants. Thanks again for all my skiing memories!
Jane Jackson Coates
Mill Creek, Washington

There are two glaring omissions to your list of the 25 most influential people in skiing. The first is Ingemar Stenmark. He virtually changed ski racing through hiss almost poetic use of the racing skate step. The second omission of note is Alberto Tomba. To neglect the one person who has brought more attention to the sport than anyone is something that should be rectified.
Chris Brumitt
Woodland Hills, California I was appalled by your omission of Willy Schaeffler in your salute to the 25 most influential people in the ski industry. In 1936, Willy was a member of the German ski team. He was director of ski events at the 1960 Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley. From 1970 to 1972, Willy was the Alpine program director for the U.S. Ski Association. Your omission of Willy from your most-influential list is erroneous, but it was inexcusable to make no mention of him in the timeline.
Melinda Mikkelson
Greeley, Colorado

Let me start out by saying you guys have the best skiing magazine on the market today. I really loved “Into Fat Air” March/April 1999. Those pictures were fantastic, and the descriptions helped me with my tweaks and helicopters. I hope to see another section like that in the near future. Keep up the good work.
David Hoyer
Edmonton, Alberta

To my saviors at SKIING, I opened my mom’s envelope to find goodies like hot chocolate, Maxwell House coffee bags, and you! I’m in the Peace Corps doing a two-year stint in Romania. Flipping through your pages, it’s almost like I’m back at Copper sharing virgin lines with my friends. I’m holding off reading as long as I can, so the wait for my next issue will seem shorter. God, I love you guys.
Nicole M. Tripoli
Baile Herculane, Romania