Bob Beattie’s friends have fond farewells for Aspen legend
Former ski racer Billy Kidd was understandably sad Monday about the passing of his former coach and friend, Bob Beattie, but he also looked on the bright side.
Beattie is “up there” with three men who skied for him in the 1960s on the U.S. Ski Team — Buddy Werner, Jimmie Heuga and Rip McManus — but passed before he did, Kidd said.
“They’re probably skiing chin-deep powder right now,” Kidd said with a laugh.
Following are statements or quotes from interviews from people who knew Beattie, who died Sunday at age 85:
“Bob was an incredible person that I am honored to have known. He was the Vin Scully of ski racing and helped our sport grow tremendously because of his energetic presence and love of the sport. He is a figure that will always be remembered, especially by me.”
— Lindsey Vonn, American ski racer
“Bob’s passing is a major loss for all of us in Aspen, all of ski racing, and in fact to anyone who has ever put on skis and enjoyed the sport at any level. Bob was a coach, an entrepreneur, an innovator, advocate for the sport, and Aspen loyalist and a true visionary. He was outspoken, a lover of life, and a man of true principles. He was somebody to look up to, he embodied what Aspen Snowmass is all about and while we grieve his passing, we will endeavor to be like Bob as we carry his legacy forward.”
— Mike Kaplan, president and CEO, Aspen Skiing Co.
“Bob’s impact on the ski community is immeasurable, especially here in the Roaring Fork Valley. While he was incredibly influential at the highest levels of ski racing, he cared deeply about the future of the sport and was constantly brainstorming ways to make skiing more affordable and fun for kids. It’s amazing to think that the same person that was involved in founding the World Cup also founded AVSC’s Base Camp program. Bob cared deeply about the youth of our valley, whether he was watching kids pick up their equipment at the beginning of the season or take their first turns at the base of Buttermilk, he was their biggest fan. We will miss him greatly.”
— Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club
“I had the pleasure of skiing on the 1959 Colorado University NCAA National Champion Ski Team. Not only was it fun to ski with my fellow ski team members, but Bob Beattie was the single most important element that made us into winners. His ‘can-do’ attitude was ingrained in each of us and our results proved his point. We certainly were not the seven best individual skiers, but we were the best coached ski team. In the end, that was the difference. As I was on one of Bob Beattie’s first ski teams, it was fun to watch his phenomenal rise to the very top of the ski-racing world. He certainly will be missed.”
— Harold Shaeffer, 1959 CU ski team member
“What I always admired about Bob was his undying passion for the sport and especially for young athletes. His work in developing what is now the Base Camp program of the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club was his life’s joy. Every time you talked to Bob he spoke about his pride in that program.”
— Tom Kelly, US Ski and Snowboard Association
“When you’re a young guy and you have that kind of personality around you, it sort of becomes part of your personality. I look back with great memories about the way he did things. He always talked about team. You can accomplish a lot even in an individual sport if you do it in the perspective of team.”
— Bill Marolt, member of Beattie-led teams at CU and at the 1964 Olympics
“I first met Bob through my wife, Brigitte, who knew him well from her background working in the Olympics. We became good friends through the years of my covering World Cup events and the events on his World Pro Tour. We served together on the selection committee for the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame. He always asked me about CU football and despite all of the success he had coaching skiing, was proud of the fact that he once was on the football staff. I can picture the scene in heaven with Bob and his friend and old ski coaching rival, DU’s Willy Schaeffler, drinking a toast to a life well-lived.”
— Larry Zimmer, CU announcer
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