Ski legend Bob Beattie’s memorial kicks off with races Saturday at Aspen Highlands |

Ski legend Bob Beattie’s memorial kicks off with races Saturday at Aspen Highlands

Bob Beattie grants an interview in the office of his Woody Creek home in March 2017. Beattie, who lived in the Aspen area since 1970, died April 1 at his son's home in western Colorado.
Aspen Times file photo

It is only fitting that a legend in the ski industry will get a ski-oriented memorial service this weekend.

Bob Beattie will be remembered Saturday with a full day of races, a community barbecue and an apres-ski gathering at Aspen Highlands, then friends will gather at the Hotel Jerome for a remembrance of their friend.

Beattie died April 1 of various health ailments at age 85. He was remembered for changing the status of U.S. skiing as head ski coach at the University of Colorado from 1957 through 1960 and as head coach of the U.S. Alpine Ski Team from 1961 to ’69. The team won four medals at the 1964 Olympics.

Beattie also teamed with European friends in 1966 to create the World Cup ski-racing circuit.

Zeno Beattie, Bob’s son, said he had a discussion with Bob prior to his death about whether the family should hold a memorial service. Zeno said there had been a couple of recent, big events in Bob’s honor, including a well-attended gathering during the March 2017 FIS World Cup Finals in Aspen.

“I suggested that we could call it good,” Zeno said. Bob thought about it for a second and said, “No.”

He felt it’s always good when there is a reason to get friends together to visit and have a good time.

“That’s sort of why we’re going to go for it here,” Zeno said. “He had a lot of really good friends.”

The ski club will host the Bob Beattie Memorial Race at Aspen Highlands during the day. Skiing legends will be paired with Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club racers for a dual, team, giant slalom race. It’s only fitting to have a dual format since Beattie championed it as an alternative to World Cup’s single-skier-at-a-time approach.

The race at the base of Aspen Highlands will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Some of the racers who Beattie coached on the U.S. Ski Team will participate, including Moose Barrows, Bill Kidd and Bill Marolt. Other ski legends booked for the event are Gordi Eaton, Christin Cooper, Barb Henderson, Mike Lafferty, Dan Mooney, Tyler Palmer, Terry Palmer, Mark Tache, Otto Tschundi, Ritchie Woolworth and Viki Fleckenstein Woolworth.

A community lunch with beers, sodas, sliders and appetizers will be served at a party tent on the Alehouse deck at the Highlands base starting at 1 p.m. An awards ceremony and prize drawings will be held at the party tent at 3 p.m.

Zeno Beattie said an estimated 400 people are expected for the event. It is intended to help raise funds and awareness for the ski club, which Bob was passionate about assisting because he firmly believed that every effort should be made to get kids of the Roaring Fork Valley onto the slopes, regardless of their family’s economic situation.

It’s fitting for personal reasons that the event is at Aspen Highlands.

“Dad loved skiing at Highlands,” Zeno said.

In his later years, his routine would be to ride up the lifts and ski to the base, take another trip up to have lunch and a glass of wine at Cloud 9, ski down and call it a day.

Saturday evening, the Bob Beattie Memorial Celebration will be held at the Hotel Jerome. It has already reached capacity with more than 300 attendees. The doors open at 4:30 p.m. A memorial and video presentation will start at 5 p.m.

The event was organized by Mike Hundert of the Bob Beattie Ski Foundation, which advocates for the future of ski racing and ski racers.

Zeno Beattie said there are some surprise events planned. Organizers will play a video that was made when Bob turned 50 years old while working as a commentator at ABC. One of the highlights is Beattie’s attempt at log rolling with Bob Uecker.

“It’s hilarious,” Zeno said.

About 17 members of the Beattie family members will attend. Beattie has numerous friends in the Aspen area. He lived in Woody Creek since 1970.

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