Max Marolt inducted into Colorado Ski Hall of Fame
Aspen Times Staff Writer
Aspen skiing legend Max Marolt was inducted into the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame on Saturday, three months after he died while skiing in Chile.
The entire Marolt family attended the 27th annual induction ceremony in Denver, and Mike Marolt, one of Max’s four children, accepted the award for his father.
“It was emotional,” Marolt said. “It was a real honor to accept the award for him.”
Max Marolt was born in Aspen in 1936 to Bill and Celia Marolt. In 1951, he placed third at the National Junior Meet in Stowe, Vt. Three years later, he qualified for the U.S. Ski Team and in 1960 competed in the Olympic Games in Squaw Valley, Calif., placing 15th overall in the downhill and giant slalom events.
But his son said racing was not his dad’s primary focus nor his greatest achievement.
“One of the neat things about dad was he had an appreciation for just the sport,” Mike Marolt said. “He had an incredible love of skiing, he absolutely loved it with every cell in his body – that’s why, in my mind, he should have been inducted.”
He said his dad’s life revolved around his family, skiing and Aspen, which is why he got involved in local politics.
“He was a county commissioner,” Marolt said. “The one thing people didn’t realize was that he he did it for one reason and one reason only: He absolutely loved Aspen and wanted to make sure he made it a place where his kids could stay and raise a family.
“That led to his overall passion with skiing.”
Marolt said when he spoke about his father at the reception, he found himself unable to talk about his successful racing career.
“I wasn’t around when he was racing, and he never boasted or bragged or anything,” Marolt said. “I didn’t realize how good he was. He never talked about it, he didn’t even keep any of his medals. It was something that was fun and he enjoyed it.
“So I talked about how he influenced us kids, how he started by taking us skiing up on Independence Pass,” he continued. “Nothing was more important than his family and grandkids – he just wanted us to enjoy the mountain culture and ski lifestyle.”
This year’s ceremony broke new ground, as a snowboarder, Kevin Delaney, was inducted into the Hall of Fame for the first time. As a result, the Colorado Ski Museum in Vail has changed its name to the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Museum.
Additionally, three of the five inductees this year have ties to Aspen. Delaney is the former operator of the Aspen Adult Snowboarding Camp, and Morrie Shepard served as the assistant director of the Ski Schools of Aspen.
The Hall of Fame also welcomed Frank Penney, who has coached the Winter Park ski school for 35 years, and Park Smalley, the first coach of the U.S. Olympic Freestyle Team.
The Aspen Skiing Co. was one of the main sponsors of the event, which drew more than 500 people.
“It was a really great tribute to my dad,” Marolt said. “Dad supported [the Skico], and it really meant a lot to my family to have them support that whole deal.”
Steve Benson’s e-mail address is sbenson@
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