Yesterday was my first-ever day at Colorado’s Aspen/Ajax, the first of four adjacent mountains that were developed for skiing in the once-decrepit mining town that is now world-renowned as a mecca for winter sports.
The annual gathering of the International Skiing History Association began two nights ago, and IHSA members were out in force on the mountain. I bumped into ISHA president Seth Masia at the Sundeck Lodge on the summit, and he took the picture of me above.
Sometime later I also bumped into Suzy Chaffee, the former glamour girl of American skiing, a lady who was an outstanding competitor in alpine racing and subsequently enlarged her legend after switching to freestyle. Suzy was a major driving force in promoting women’s participation in skiing from the 1970s to the present. She was the first woman to serve on the International Olympic Committee and she was a force to be reckoned with in lobbying campaign that resulted in the passage of Title IX in 1972. (Click here to see her bio in the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame.)
We took a few runs together and chatted about a few ways that the ski world could (and should!!!) honor women — especially non-athletes who built the sport and industry. Suzy was quite interested when I told her about Sisters of Skade: Women in Maine Skiing 1870-2016, a program that I created for the Ski Museum of Maine. We exchanged ideas on how such a concept could be expanded to become national in scope.
I referred Suzy to the Ski Museum of Maine’s latest issue of Snow Trail, which contains two major articles devoted to women in skiing history.