Aspen’s Marolt to be inducted into Ski Hall of Fame

Jennifer Davoren
Aspen Times Staff Writer

The Colorado Ski Hall of Fame will posthumously honor Max Marolt of Aspen on Oct. 18 during its 27th annual induction ceremony.

Marolt, who died in July at the age of 67 while on a ski trip to Chile, witnessed Aspen’s birth as a ski town. He saw the opening of the town’s first ski lift, and was one of the first to sign up for the local junior ski racing team.

Between 1951 and 1960, Marolt skied at the National Junior Meet; joined the ski team at Denver University and competed in the Olympic Games and the FIS Championships. He also created the West’s first regional ski repair and service center in Aspen in the late ’60s.

Marolt received news of his Hall of Fame induction shortly before his death, said his son, Steve. Marolt responded “like any athlete – to get that recognition, and to be included with people of that caliber – was exciting,” Steve said.

Marolt’s brother, Bill; his wife, Betty; four children, Marlis, Roger, Mike and Steve; and his grandchildren plan to attend the ceremony. After viewing a video highlighting Marolt’s many slopeside accomplishments, his children will speak to ceremony attendees.

The induction will be a bittersweet occasion for Marolt’s nearest and dearest, but one they wouldn’t miss for the world.

“It’s going to be an extremely hard evening for the family to get through, but it’s awesome, too,” Steve Marolt said.

Marolt is one of five men – and one of three men with ties to Aspen – to be honored at the ceremony. The Hall of Fame will also welcome Colorado natives Kevin Delaney, Frank Penney, Morrie Shepard and Park Smalley during the induction ceremony.

Delaney might be known locally as the former operator of the Aspen Adult Snowboarding Camp, but the world-class snow slider gained notoriety in 1986 when he moved to Telluride and founded the first snowboarding instruction program in the country. He also won the overall and freestyle titles at the U.S. National Snowboarding Championships in 1988 and the U.S. Professional Men’s Super-G Championship in 1992.

Penney has coached for the Winter Park ski school for 35 years, contributing to the development of hundreds of Colorado skiers. His work has helped the resort develop its nordic and ski jumping programs into one of the most competitive in the country. He also served as the nordic combined manager at the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.

Shepard moved to Aspen shortly after World War II to work with the local ski patrol. He went on to serve as assistant director of the Ski Schools of Aspen before joining his boyhood friend, Pete Seibert, in nearby Vail to aid in the development of the new ski area. Shepard’s supervision of trail construction and ski school development helped the fledgling resort become one of the most popular spots in the nation.

Smalley, the first coach of the U.S. Olympic Freestyle Team, is known as a lifelong advocate of the skiing style. His passion led to the construction of world-class aerial hills in Steamboat Springs, allowing for the development of several competitive freestyle events at the resort. He is known these days as a former CBS sports commentator – his coverage of the 1998 Olympic Games even earned him a “Silver Medal” from The Wall Street Journal.

The Oct. 18 banquet is one of several fund-raisers for the Colorado Ski Museum, located in downtown Vail. Tickets to the event – $100 for members, $120 for nonmembers – are available by phone at (970) 476-1876 or e-mail at

[Jennifer Davoren’s e-mail address is]