Soldner, Beattie to be inducted into Aspen Hall of Fame | AspenTimes.com

Soldner, Beattie to be inducted into Aspen Hall of Fame

Naomi Havlen

Two men who helped make Aspen what it is today will be inducted into the Aspen Hall of Fame on Nov. 4.

Former U.S. Ski Team coach and ABC Sports announcer Bob Beattie and Anderson Ranch visionary and acclaimed ceramist Paul Soldner are the newest inductees into the hall of fame.

The nonprofit hall was started in 1987 as part of the Aspen Skiing Co.’s 40th anniversary of skiing celebration. Every other year, a board of 16 community members takes nominations and decides who will be honored.

Inductees have to meet the hall of fame’s mission to “honor men and women whose hard work and innovative ideas have built our resort community.”

Besides getting national recognition for making the National Standard Race wildly popular in his 30 years as commissioner and being partly responsible for the creation of the World Cup, Beattie encouraged a partnership between the Aspen Valley Ski Club and the Skico. The partnership offers ski school to all children in the valley with a “no child left behind” philosophy, and generous scholarships are offered to give all children the opportunity to ski and snowboard.

Soldner, the artistic visionary for Anderson Ranch in 1966, is known internationally as the creator of “American Raku,” a unique firing technique for ceramics. Anderson Ranch, which he directed in the early ’70s, has since become one of Aspen’s most important art galleries and schools.

Both men will be honored at a banquet at the Hotel Jerome on Thursday, Nov. 4. The banquet will feature seven-minute films on each new inductee, produced and directed by documentary filmmaker Greg Poschman of Aspen.

“What’s historically valuable is having a sense of who the person is ” their sense of identity, their sense of humor and what’s important to them,” Poschman said. “It’s less about their achievements and more about what makes them tick.”

Poschman spent time with each subject, and, following with a camera, let people tell stories in their own words. As a result, he got to know both of this year’s inductees well over the past few months.

“Bob Beattie is amazing. He’s full of energy and an icon in American skiing,” Poschman said. “What he’s done for the world of skiing in Aspen reaches much further. He’ll show up in a ski resort on a landfill in the Midwest and be swarmed by fans who credit him for getting them into skiing. He’s Aspen’s secret weapon.”

Beattie coached the U.S. Ski Team from 1961 to 1969, developing America’s first Olympic-medal skiers, Billy Kidd and Jimmy Huega, for the 1964 games in Innsbruck, Austria. Eventually his voice became synonymous with Olympic skiing as the announcer of the 1976, 1980 and 1984 games for ABC’s Wild World of Sports.

Similarly, Poschman said Soldner’s influence reaches far beyond the Roaring Fork Valley.

“He’s like a national living treasure ” the pre-eminent Raku sculptor in the country, and yet he’s a low key guy,” Poschman said. “He’s like an 800-pound gorilla in the art world, and he hasn’t tried to be. He just followed his own thing.”

Soldner’s love for art grew following his service in the U.S. Army, when he spent three and a half years as a medic in World War II. His works have been exhibited in major cities in Europe, the United States, Canada, Japan, Korea and Australia.

Beattie and Soldner will join past inductees such as Elizabeth and Walter Paepcke, Fritz Benedict, DRC Brown and Gretl Uhl.

“This is one of the very few locals parties that are left in Aspen,” said hall of fame board member Pat Bingham. “It’s a great place to see the meat-and-potatoes of Aspen. This year with Paul and Bob being inducted you’ll see a more artistic crowd, maybe some people from Anderson Ranch, and Bob’s skiing crowd. It’s a fun mix.”

Tickets to the Hall of Fame banquet are $75 per person, and include dinner at the Jerome. For more information or to buy a banquet ticket, contact Linda Keleher at 925-2172.

Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com


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