Ishpeming, MI (November 6, 2009) – Three adaptive skiers head up the largest class of inductees to enter the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame since 1984. Jack Benedick, Chris Waddell and Sarah Will are the first adaptive skiers to enter the Hall of Fame since the late Diana Golden was honored in 1997. Joining them are three well-known names from the ski world, Stu Campbell, Doug Coombs and Paul Robbins. Rounding out the class of eight for 2009 are Sepp Kober, the “Father of Southern Skiing” and Ansten Samuelstuen, a holder of three national and four North American titles in ski jumping.
Jack Benedick of Golden, CO has brought passion and innovation to adaptive skiing that has left a lasting legacy. Benedick, a double leg amputee from the Viet Nam War, took up adaptive skiing when the sport was still in its infancy. He worked hard with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association to create a U.S. Adaptive Ski Team and lobbied the International Ski Federation to accept adaptive skiing. A holder of the Paralympic Order for his contributions, he was a silver medal winner in the combined at the 1984 Paralympic Games.
Stu Campbell lived in Stowe, VT and was a writer, instructor and resort executive who impacted millions of American skiers over a career that spanned five decades. He was the author of six books on ski instruction, served as an equipment consultant to several manufacturers, raced and coached racers and provided television commentary. For thirty years he was the instructional editor for SKI Magazine and was recognized, prior to his death in 2008, by the Vermont Ski Museum with its Paul Robbins Award for ski journalism as well as the Paul Robbins Outstanding Athlete of the Year Award by the North American Snowsport Journalists Association.
Doug Coombs may be the most recognizable skier in this year’s class for his appearances in many ski films in the 1990’s. A former ski racer from Montana State University, he is regarded by many as the most important skier of his generation in popularizing adventure skiing. He and his wife, Emily, started the first heliskiing operation in Alaska’s Chugach Mountains. He held steep skiing camps in Switzerland, France and Greenland. The complete expert skier, he won the first two World Extreme Skiing Championships. Although his skills far surpassed those of most of the people he guided, he had a capacity to make every skier who came into contact with him believe they could try bigger challenges. He died while attempting to rescue a friend in a skiing accident in 2006.
Paul Robbins spent three decades as a ski journalist and as the US Ski Team press officer. He possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of skiing and ski racers of every discipline that he willingly shared with anyone who asked. Ski jumper Jeff Hastings wrote: “His breath filled the sails of the athletes he covered.” Remembered by all who knew him as the man with the Scottish tam, Robbins died suddenly in 2008. The Paul Robbins Award for ski journalism is presented annually by the Vermont Ski Museum.
Sepp Kober is known as the “Father of Southern Skiing.” After immigrating to the United States and instructing at Stowe, he was the first ski instructor at the first southern ski area to open a rope tow, Weiss Knob, in 1958. From then he worked to prove that skiing could exist south of the Mason Dixon Line. Today the Southeastern Ski Areas Association, which he founded, consists of 20 ski areas serving four to five million skiers annually and is considered the largest feeder of skiers to the mountain resorts in the west. He led the Southeast in as a charter member of the National Ski Areas Association. He resides in Hot Springs, VA.
Ansten Samuelstuen of Louisville, CO first arrived in the United States in 1951 and set a hill record for distance of 316 feet at Howelsen Hill in Steam