Ski-coaching legend Beattie to appear at Aspen Business Luncheon
Ryan Summerlin November 20, 2012
ASPEN – Aspen resident Bob Beattie – whose contributions to the sport of ski racing are said to be immeasurable – will be the featured guest at Wednesday’s Aspen Business Luncheon at the Sky Hotel.
Beattie, 79, will be interviewed by Mike Marolt, of Aspen, who has skied Mount Everest and co-produced the 2009 documentary “Skiing Everest.” The event starts at 12:30 p.m. and will be held in the hotel’s Aspen Mountain Room.
By all accounts, Beattie, who was raised in New Hampshire, has had a storied career. He began coaching at age 22 at his alma mater, Middlebury College in Vermont, serving as acting ski coach. Soon after, he was coaching the ski team at the University of Colorado, where his teams won NCAA championships in 1959 and 1960.
In 1961, he was named head alpine coach for the U.S. Ski Team. At the 1964 Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria, his skiers earned four medals; he coached the first two U.S. men to garner medals for alpine skiing, Billy Kidd and Jimmie Heuga. He co-founded the World Cup tour in 1966. He resigned his post at CU in 1965 to devote his full attention to the U.S. Ski Team until he quit in 1969 – in part because he felt he was driving the athletes too hard. A year later, he founded the World Pro Ski Tour.
Later, Beattie was a commentator for ABC’s coverage of the Winter Olympics, among other winter sports programs. He also has authored books on skiing and ski racing. In 1984, he was inducted into the National Ski Hall of Fame. He also is a member of the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame and the Aspen Hall of Fame.
Beattie was honored in March at a gala event at the Hotel Jerome. A story in an April issue of the Denver post describes Beattie as “a demanding coach who knew Americans in that era (the late 1950s and early ’60s) had no chance of beating Europeans unless they were stronger and tougher. He drove them relentlessly through offseason training sessions in Boulder. They cursed him then. They love him now.”
Marolt said Beattie is responsible for the modern evolution of ski racing as it is known today. The creation of the World Cup tour provided a way for those involved in the sport to gauge athletes around the world in years when the Olympic games weren’t held, Marolt said.
“He really changed the face of skiing in America and is definitely credited as being the father of modern-day ski racing and skiing,” Marolt said.
Marolt said his latest documentary, “Can Do: The Legacy of Jimmie Heuga,” which will be screened at the Wheeler Opera House on Nov. 29, also includes Beattie.
To inquire about advance tickets for Wednesday’s event, send an email to email@example.com.