AVSC Hall of Fame welcomes 3 inductees | AspenTimes.com

AVSC Hall of Fame welcomes 3 inductees

AVSC staff report
Aspen's Mark Tache flashes the form that made him a top ski racer. Here he's racing at Vail.
AVSC photo |

Every year, AVSC opens the winter season with a kick-off party that’s designed to not only generate enthusiasm for the coming year but as a showcase to induct honorees into the club’s hall of fame.

Mark Tache, Tom Anderson and Charif Souki will be honored during the 2013 AVSC Kick-Off Party, set for Dec. 5 at T Lazy 7 Ranch. Tickets for the party, which begins at 5:30 p.m., cost $50 in advance and may be purchased through teamavsc.org.

Here’s a little bit about each of these men, whose contributions have made AVSC what it is today.

Tom Anderson

In the early 1970s when Tom and Janny Anderson moved to Aspen with their young brood, they thought volunteering would be a great way to meet new friends. So they flung themselves into the gang of diehard ski families — including the Brendlingers, Stapletons, Yaws, Moores and Strangs — who also have made an indelible stamp on the club.

In short order, Tom was on the ski club board and was elected president for the 1976-77 season. An internal race program — the Aspen Cup — designed to keep local kids racing at home, gave him the chance to polish his gatekeeping and timing skills.

Anderson later became a certified FIS timing official, which came in handy as Aspen started to host World Cup races.

In the early 1980s, he was named chief of race.

“That I did for 20 World Cups. I have a jacket and poster for every one of those years,” he said proudly.

The first local venture for this midwestern couple, former operators of the Ski Hut near Minneapolis, was P’Nuts, a children’s store located in the current site of The Hub.

“I said, now that I have a kids store here, I might as well have a ski shop in the best ski town in the country,” he said. Anderson closed on a handshake deal with Jim Pomeroy in 1980 to run a ski shop store that had arguably the best location in town.

Nearly 34 years later and much to the chagrin of the local populace, the family voluntarily closed the Pomeroy Sports, and Tom and Janny have settled in to their first phase of retirement.

Charif Souki

When Charif Souki first opened Mezzaluna, he was puzzled as to why, on a gorgeous winter day, his 11-year-old son was hanging outside the restaurant and not going skiing.

Pressed on the subject, Souki’s son responded that his friends couldn’t afford to go skiing so he didn’t want to go, either.

That was a real eye-opener for the entrepreneur (he long ago sold Mezzaluna and is currently CEO of Houston’s Cheniere Energy) who had only skied in Europe before moving to Aspen.

“I was mystified that there was nothing special for local kids” to making skiing affordable, Souki said.

So Souki set about to affect change. Early calls went to Brooke Peterson and Bob Beattie, both members of the Aspen Winternational organizing committee. As the World Cup was set to skip Aspen that year anyway, there were surplus funds available which they agreed to use for the program originally called Aspen Supports Kids.

The next phone call was to then-Skico President Bob Maynard, who agreed to a $150 student season pass and complimentary instruction for beginners.

Jimmy Buffett signed on to perform a benefit concert and donate the proceeds to this fledgling program.

The efforts of Charif Souki helped plant the seeds for the ASK (now Base Camp) and the evolution of the Aspen Ski Club into Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club.

His dream of no kid being left behind is fulfilled and evident on every midwinter weekend day, when more than 1,700 young skiers and riders savor the mountain playground.

Mark Tache

Solid as an amateur, Mark Tache credits his pro racing career with giving him the financial foundation to forge a career as a businessman.

While he wasn’t exactly born on skis, Tache believes he first strapped on boards around the age of 2. He joined the Aspen Ski Club around the age of 8, during the era when Sim Thomas was at the helm.

Not only did Mark have his brothers to push him (and vice-versa) but Aspen Ski Club teammates at the time included Dave Stapleton, Mike Farny and Andy Mill. By the age of 18, Tache was on his way to Europe for competitions, which proved to be a “mind-blowing experience.”

Finishing second at U.S. Nationals, at age 19, was a highlight.

Hitting a tree during a GS race a definite low light.

Tache returned so strong from injury that he was named Junior Skier of the Year the following season — 1980. Europa Cups and World Cups awaited at season’s end.

He turned pro at the end of the 1985 season; the prior year he was thrilled to take ninth in the Vail World Cup slalom, yet another career high note. Tache left the amateur world behind “on my own terms,” taking silver in slalom at the nationals.

Tache’s best season as a pro was 1987, a year when he scored a big payday by winning the race at Winter Park. It was a chance to apply all of those lessons he’d learned during a long career on skis.

Mark wanted to give back to the club and had a stint as athletic director; direct financial contributions came through a successful ProAm Classic that continued for four years.

Married to Olympic silver medalist Christin Cooper, their connection was forged before the two even met. His father, legendary instructor Yvan Tache, taught Cooper skiing basics when she was just a kid.

Weekly with Walt

In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, the Nov. 27 installment of “Weekly with Walt” on GrassRoots TV is devoted entirely to AVSC’s scholarship program, which offers nearly $1 million each year in direct and indirect aid to club athletes.

Walt Evans will interview Base Camp Director Trish Shepard, parent Lisa Hancock and athlete MJ Mirano. The program airs today (Wednesday) at 7 p.m. on Channel 12 (Channel 82 downvalley, below Catherine’s Store) and is repeated throughout the week.