Colorado ski hall ballot loaded with Aspenites
The Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame ballot is loaded this year with nominees from Aspen.
There are 15 finalists on the ballot for 2015, and six of them have roots in Aspen or still live in the town. The finalists include Steve and Mike Marolt (nominated as a pair), their uncle George “Bud” Marolt, Casey Puckett, Chris Puckett and John “Johno” McBride.
A nomination committee selects the finalists. Only four members of the field will be inducted into the Hall of Fame later this year. A 140-member voting panel is holding the election March 20 through April 2, according to the Hall of Fame’s website.
It’s fitting that the Marolts are nominated as a pair since they are twins. Their candidate biography for the Hall of Fame said “They have brought worldwide exposure to Colorado as a premiere ski-mountaineering destination and (were) instrumental in the growth of the AT skiing movement.
“Using Colorado as their training base, they have climbed and skied over 40 of the world’s largest peaks, including the north ridge of Everest twice,” the biography said.
Their passion for ski mountaineering has been captured in the films “Skiing Everest” and Warren Miller’s “Higher Ground.” The Marolts also were recognized in Outside Magazine’s Top 25 Outdoor Achievers and in Sports Illustrated’s “Famous Descents.”
Bud Marolt was the eldest of the Marolt brothers, who included Max and Bill. He was a forerunner in the 1950 FIS World Championships in Aspen, was a member of the 1952 U.S. National Team and qualified for the Olympic team but couldn’t participate because of a family obligation, his biography said. By age 20 he was certified as a National Ski Patroller and a ski instructor. He taught and patrolled in Aspen through 1953.
He moved to Denver and got involved in the Loveland Ski School. Marolt brought 2,500 kids from Denver to ski Loveland each winter.
Casey Puckett was nominated for his two distinct ski-race careers, first as a member of the U.S. Ski Team for 12 years in technical events and later in speed events. He competed in four Olympics with his best result coming in Lillehammer in 1994 with seventh in the slalom.
After his alpine ski-racing career, Roaring Fork Valley resident Puckett helped take the sport of Ski Cross to a higher level. He won two X Games gold medals in the event and participated in his fifth Olympics when Ski Cross was added in 2010.
Puckett’s older brother Chris was nominated as the first athlete from Crested Butte to be named to the U.S. Ski Team and to go to the Olympics as a true four-event skier. He had a long career in racing and coaching.
McBride was nominated for his long, successful career as a coach of ski racers.
“He coached Aspen Valley Ski Club from 1989 to 1995 and then the U.S. Ski Team for a decade where he led his athletes to a U.S.-record number of wins and podium finishes on the World Cup in addition to Olympic and World Cup medals,” said his nomination biography. “He coached Bode Miller to Olympic medal performances and two overall Crystal Globes and Daron Rahlves to 28 World Cup podiums, 12 World Cup.”
He was recruited by the Canadian team to coach their speed team through the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
McBride is now head alpine coach for the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club.
The 2015 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held Oct. 2 in Vail.
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Facing a nearly more than $700,000 shortfall in transportation funding, Upper Roaring Fork Valley elected officials decided to dip into their savings account to continue all funding commitments for a year.