Local Legends: Honoring Jackson Hole’s Best Skiers

Jonathan Selkowitz
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It’s surprising it’s taken a valley as ski-centric as Jackson Hole this long to get a ski hall of fame and ski museum established. Now that it has though, it’s flying along.  To be considered for induction, inductees must have made significant contributions to skiing or snowboarding and the Jackson Hole Ski & Snowboard Club. The 2013-2014 inductees were nominated and elected by a well-respected committee of their peers.

“We started thinking about a [Jackson Hole Ski Club] Hall of Fame when Snow King was coming up on its 75th anniversary,” says Carrie Boynton, executive director of the JH Ski & Snowboard Club. “The more we thought about it, the more it was a no-brainer. Of course we needed a ski hall of fame for local athletes who have done great things in the ski world.”

Jonathan Selkowitz

The inaugural class of the Jackson Hole Ski Club Hall of Fame was just announced.

The 12 inductees include:

Alpine racer Betty Woolsey
Woolsey was a member of the first U.S. Women’s Olympic Ski Team. She is also the founder of Trail Creek Ranch at the base of Teton Pass. Today Trail Creek operates as a Nordic Center.

Ski coach Bill Ashley

Jonathan Selkowitz

Ashley was instrumental in starting University of Wyoming’s ski racing program and was the race chairman for the 1954 and 1963 Junior National Ski Championships. His ski credentials include serving as a 1980 Olympic ski race official and a long-time coach of downhill, slalom, giant slalom, and jumping for the Jackson Hole Ski Club. Ashley was also a cross-country coach.

Ski area marketer Harry Baxter
Baxter was the director of marketing and VP of public relations at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort for 21 years. Also, he created the Pole, Pedal, Paddle race that is now over 30 years old and one of the most anticipated events in the valley.

Cross-country supporter John Curtis
Curtis started the JHSC Nordic program in 1964 and, in 1965, proposed the cross-country training venue at Trail Creek Ranch. He was also the first chairman of USSA Women’s Cross-Country Program (1964-70) and, in 1970, was the coach of the first US Women’s Olympic Cross-Country Team (1970). He was also a Masters Nordic competitor.

Pepi Stiegler
Jackson Hole’s first Olympian! A native of Austria, Stiegler won the silver medal in the Giant Slalom and was 5th in slalom in the 1960 Olympics. In the 1964 Games, Stiegler won bronze in Giant Slalom and Gold in Slalom. Stiegler came to Jackson Hole to be director of JHMR’s Ski School, a position he held from 1964 until 2002. Stiegler is also a long-time JHSC volunteer and parent to club athletes, Resi and Seppi, both of whom have gone on to race on the World Cup Circuit.

Olympic biathlete Pete Karns
Karns was a member of the US Biathlon Team from 1968 -1972 and won the US Biathlon National Championships in 1970 and 1972. He competed for the US in the 1972 Olympics. In 1985 he was a US Biathlon team coach. Before he made it to the US and Olympic teams Karns was a member of the JH Ski Club cross-country and jumping teams.

Ski mountaineer Bill Briggs

Jonathan Selkowitz

Briggs is often called the “Father of extreme skiing.” He was the first to ski the Grand Teton, the Middle Teton, Mt. Moran, and Mt. Owen. He also created the revolutionary “Certainty Training Method” which he taught at the Snow King Ski School for decades.

Biathlete Martin Hagen

Hagen was the first US Jr. Biathlon Champion, a three-time US Olympian (1976, 1980 and 1984) and spent fifteen years on US Biathlon Team. Before making it big, he was a JHSC racer.

Biathlete Erich Wilbrecht
Wilbrecht was a US Biathlon Team member from 1986 until 1993, a five-time World  Championship Team member (member of record-holding 4th place relay team), and competed in the 1992 Olympics. Wilbrecht started his racing career as a member of the JHSC.

Olympian Tommy Moe
At the 1994 Olympics, Moe won the gold medal in Downhill and the silver medal in the Super G. He was the first American male skier to win two medals in a single winter Olympics. Moe was inducted into the National Ski Hall of Fame in 2003 and was also a member of the 1998 US Olympic team. Closer to home, Moe was the ultra-competitive Town Downhill winner (held annually on Snow King) twice.

Snowboarder Travis Rice

Jonathan Selkowitz

Rice has been dominating the international snowboard scene for years. And he’s still dominating. Rice started his snowboarding career as a member of the JHSC. Rice was Snowboarder of the Year in 2005 & 2009, winner of five X Games, including two golds, and winner of seven US Open Medals, including 2 golds.

Ski racer Resi Stiegler

Jonathan Selkowitz

Stiegler has been racing on the World Cup since 2002 and has raced in two Olympics. She has 17 World Cup top-ten finishes and one World Cup podium (2nd place). At the 2006 Olympics, Stiegler was 11th in Combined and 12th in Slalom. In 2005, she was 6 th at the World Championships. She was also a JHSC racer for nine years.

 To be considered for induction, inductees must have made significant contributions to skiing or snowboarding and the Jackson Hole Ski & Snowboard Club.
To be considered for induction, inductees must have made significant contributions to skiing or snowboarding and the Jackson Hole Ski & Snowboard Club.

In addition to the Ski hall of Fame, the JHSSC has established a timeline that talks about the history of skiing in the valley, includes a photo gallery of historic images, and memorabilia from World Cup and Olympic athletes like Olympic bibs, Olympic jackets, and the snowboard Rob Kingwill won a US Open gold medal on.

“These are all things the community came forward and gave us,” Boynton says. “The goal is for the collection to keep growing. The Hall of Fame will keep growing too, of course.”

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