Harry Modell – Father, grandfather, brother, uncle, confidant, bon vivant and the last of a generation of sportsmen, kibitzers and wags – died last week in Scottsdale, Ariz., surrounded by his two children, his granddaughter and his close friend. He was 89 years old.Harry, a Detroiter by birth, and his late wife, Trudy, who died in 1998, moved to Aspen permanently in 1986, after 20 years of being part-time residents. For the last couple of years, he spent more time at his Scottsdale home. In both places, he played tennis, golf and backgammon. Sociable by nature, he made new friends (preferably, he used to joke, with people who could drive at night). When he was 75, he learned to skate ski from his son Andy, who also lives in Aspen.Harry, who owned Mohawk Liquor in Detroit, loved a perfect Manhattan, dry martini, a good brisket, an ample plate of frog legs and a hot cup of coffee. But mainly he liked a good time, schmoozing in Detroit’s London Chop House, playing pool and eating hamburgers at the Red Balloon in Detroit, deciding which Jaguar to add to his collection or playing tricks on the counselors at Camp Strongheart in Minocqua, Wis.He preferred custom-made clothes by Eldon Genrous, a tailor in Birmingham, Mich. The suits would include his trademark ticket pocket, 15-inch side vents, a pocket square scrunched into the pocket and a vest. He loved wearing argyle socks with plaid pants, an ascot on Sunday and a tweed cap. But for fancy dinner parties at home, it wouldn’t be out of character for Harry to show up in jeans, a T-shirt with a yellow smiley face and a black long-haired wig.An Army veteran of World War II, he was quick-witted, generous, thoughtful and well-read. Toward the end of his life he was still configuring complicated formulas for buying stocks, counting the days he could get back on the golf course and telling corny, PG-13 jokes.The son of Celia and Joseph Modell, Harry had a brother, Saul, who preceded him in death. He leaves behind sisters Rose Fishman, Joan Kalt and Mildred Kaplan; a daughter and son-in-law, Maggie Citrin and Richard Culbert of Vancouver, Canada; son Andy Modell; granddaughter Ana Citrin; five nephews; three nieces; and scores of friends.
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For the first time ever last season, skier visits generated by ski passes exceeded skier visits from single- and multi-day lift ticket sales at U.S. resorts, according to a study for National Ski Areas Association.