Alex Lowe, hailed as the world’s finest all-around climber, died earlier this season when a massive avalanche swept down Tibet’s 26,291-foot Shishapangma peak. Part of a six-man team, Lowe was attempting to summit and then make the first ski descent of Shishapangma. However, at 19,000 feet, an avalanche broke, killing Lowe and Aspen, Colo., photographer David Bridges. Unlike many modern climbers, Lowe did not suffer from summit fever; he climbed because he loved the sport and its arena. “Adventures in the mountains are not about being the best,” Lowe said.
Icon Rainer Kolb believes that ski instructors have to be held to a higher standard. To that end, he spent 25 years managing Sun Valley’s Ski School, building it into one of the nation’s elite programs before he retired earlier this season. Kolb has been an innovator in teaching techniques and a leader in the movement to elevate the professionalism of U.S. ski instruction. An excellent skier in his own right, Kolb skied with the famed Austrian Demo Team in the mid-Sixties. Hans Muehlegger will take over management of the Sun Valley ski schools.
After 43 years in the industry, SKI executive Ian Ferguson is retiring this month. Ferguson, 63, attended the University of Vermont, then started a career in the sport he loved. He taught skiing at Stowe, Vt., in the Fifties, worked for Head, Dynamic and Lange in the Sixties, then spent the past 25 years at SKI. He is respected for both his love and knowledge of skiing and its history, all of which earned him an induction into the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame in 1997. Asked about his retirement plans, Ferguson answered in one word: “ski.” We’ll add that he also plans to spend time with his wife of 39 years, Beth.