ISHPEMING, MI Nov. 4,2003 – The U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame has selected seven new members, including Olympic ski champions Tommy Moe and Diann Roffe, World Championships medalist AJ Kitt and Alex Cushing, who brought the 1960 Winter Games to Squaw Valley, Calif. The seven will be inducted Jan. 24 in Ishpeming, where organized ski competition in America was founded in 1905.
In addition to those four, Hall of Fame President Dick Goetzman said the Hall had elected Clare Bousquet, founder of Bousquet’s Ski Area in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts who helped popularize skiing with the “ski trains” of the 1930s; Jerry Nunn, a pioneer National Ski Patrol member and the first woman avalanche ranger in the U.S. Forest Service; and ski lift pioneer Ernst Constam. Bousquet and Constam will be honored posthumously.
Moe electrified the ski world on the first day of the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, winning the gold medal in downhill. Four days later, he returned on his 24th birthday and took the silver medal in super G. Born in Missoula, Mont., he was living in Alaska when he was named to the U.S. Ski Team in the late-’80s and now lives in Jackson Hole, Wyo. He would go on to race in three Olympics and three World Championships; he won one World Cup race, two U.S. championships and two World Junior Championships gold medals.
A native of Williamson, N.Y., Roffe grew up skiing at Brantling Ski Center near Buffalo. At 17, she became a World Champion, winning GS gold at the 1985 World Championships in Bormio, Italy. A month later earned her first World Cup victory – another GS, this time at Whiteface Mountain outside Lake Placid, N.Y. She tied for Olympic silver in GS at the 1992 Games in Albertville, France, and two years later ended her career by becoming an Olympic champion, winning the super G in Lillehammer and then winning her last World Cup race a month later in Vail, Colo. Roffe, who now lives in Camphill, Pa., raced in three Olympics and five World Championships, and also won six U.S. titles.
Kitt, who moved onto the 1988 World Cup tour after graduating from Vermont’s Green Mountain Valley School, was the first U.S. male skier named to four Winter Olympic teams. He won the opening downhill of the 1992 World Cup season and was bronze medalist in downhill at the 1993 World Championships in Morioka, Japan; he was the unrivaled leader of the powerful U.S. men’s downhill team for most of the Nineties. Kitt learned to ski at Swain Ski Center outside Rochester, N.Y. Kitt, who now lives in Mount Hood, Ore., was also second in the fabled Hahnenkamm downhill in 1992 and third that season in the World Cup DH standings; he raced in four World Championships and won four U.S. titles.
Cushing, who had been a New York City attorney, opened Squaw Valley – in the Lake Tahoe Basin straddling the California and Nevada border – on Thanksgiving Day 1949; there was a small base lodge, a rope tow and the longest chairlift in North America — and a mountain with great promise. In 1954, he surprised many by landing the 1960 Winter Olympics, which not only provided exciting competitions but a new era with the introduction of an Athletes’ Village and computers. More recently, Cushing has expanded the resort, cutting new trails, adding more lifts and creating a genuine mountain village at Squaw Valley. Many consider Cushing’s relentless efforts to get the 1960 Olympics one of the catalysts as skiing moved into growing popularity across the nation.
Bousquet was a sporting good store owner in Pittsfield, Mass. who, during the winter of 1932-33, convinced members of the local Mount Greylock Ski Club to ski on the family farm by converting his garage to a modest warming hut. The next year, he had a formal trail on the hill, attracting Boston area skiers, and on Feb. 10, 1935, the first “snow train” out of New York City – carrying 447 skiers – came to Pittsfield. A year later, he installed two rope tows and skiing beegan to make an impact on the average American’s consciousness. Despite his modest ski hill, Bousquet created the East’s top area in terms of skier capacity and introduced night skiing to give skiers another opportunity to ski. Among his other innovations that helped boost the growing sport was the Rope Tow Gripper, which enabled skiers to use rope tows more easily.
Nunn learned to ski at Soda Springs in the Lake Tahoe area, where she also began, as a teenager, to help the area’s on-call physician. When the National Ski Patrol System came west in 1944, she already had four years of first aid experience; five years later, Nunn joined the ski patrol at Sugar Bowl. She also worked with Squaw Valley’s patrol before joining the Forest Service Snow Ranger program. She was one of 60 patrollers named to the staff at the 1960 Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley. Nunn later helped develop the Avalauncher, which fired canisters of explosives into risky snow packs and has become a standard piece of equipment to reduce avalanche dangers.
Born in Switzerland, Constam was a ski mountaineer and also made his own skis. Among his major contributions to skiing was the next step beyond rope tows, inventing a lift with a continuously circulating overhead cable, so vital in creating the T-bar, Pomalift, chairlift and gondola. He also designed the (single-passenger) J-bar in time for the 1934-35 ski season as his subsequent inventions made skiing more popular because they helped make it easier.