4 enter Ski Hall of Fame

Transcription from Webpage of the Michigan Upper Peninsula Mining Journal, Apr. 29, 2006

David Brown delivers speech during Hall of Fame Induction
MARQUETTE – Being elected to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame didn’t really sink in for Hilary Lindh until she reached the Upper Peninsula.

‘I didn’t give it a lot of thought until I got here,’ the 1992 Olympic silver medalist said before the induction ceremony in Marquette Friday. ‘Of course, it ‘s a great honor, and I think even more so because I think of all of the other people who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. To be included with people that have had a big hand in developing the sport is probably the biggest thing.’

Joining Lindh in the Hall of Fame Class of 2005 were David ‘Darcy’ Brown, called the ‘Patriarch of Aspen (Colo.)’ ; Walter Foeger, the creator of an instruction technique known as the Natur Teknik, which some critics said had his students bouncing around like kangaroos; and Erich Sailer, the ‘Yoda’ of ski coaching, who turned the flat countryside of Minnesota into a hotbed of skiing talent.

With the four additions, the Ski Hall of Fame has bolstered its number of honorees to 346 since its first class – in 1956.

‘I grew up in a little, tiny ski area in southeastern Alaska, it’s probably smaller than Marquette Mountain… so I’m used to people who are very enthusiastic about the sport in small towns,’ Lindh said. ‘I think that’s what it’s all about.’

During her speech, Lindh told the packed UpFront and Company banquet hall that the small town of Ishpeming is an ‘excellent place for the Ski Hall of Fame.’

Lindh, 36, was the youngest inductee of the evening. She ended at the top in 1997 when she retired as the world titlist.

Brown, at 93, was the oldest inductee. As an original investor in the Aspen Ski Corporation, he helped build a fledgling company of 25 into one of the world-class skiing areas in the United States.

He credited being in the right place at the right time for the success, but also said he had good help.

‘You have to have the right people,’ he said during his speech. ‘We were most fortunate to have great people, young people for whom skiing was more than a job, it was a way of life.’

Brown concentrated on building great places to ski, leaving the resort building to others. Aspen was the first ski area to surpass 1 million visitors annually.

Foeger and Sailer were both Austrians honored for spreading the sport through instruction, though Foeger also helped develop the ski area at Jay Peak, Vt.

‘I wanted always to do the best,’ Foeger said. ‘I have done many things wrong, but I have also done many things good. That was is the reason I got today honored. I am very happy about this, despite the fact I am very sick. I come over to say thank you to all the people who voted me into this Hall of Fame.’

Foeger, in one of the most entertaining speeches of the night, spoke of his lifetime in sports, from Olympic aspirations in the 1930s, to coaching the Spanish ski team at the 1952 Olympics, to coaching the Spanish hockey team.

When he was asked to come to the United States, he couldn’t turn down the opportunity.

‘I know when I saw the first of Jay Peak I got dismayed,’ he said. ‘I was shocked. There no trail running, there was no lift running. There was one shelter. I wanted to leave to go back to Spain, cause in Spain you can come back anytime. … The president of Jay Peak, he said, ‘We have no money. We are poor like a church mouse.’

So Foeger went on a tour raising money as the spokesman for Jay Peak.

But he is best known for Natur Teknik, a parallel ski instruction method he developed during his time in Spain in which skiers hopped into their turns, but he had few students for it.

After an article about the technique in Ski Magazine and a pamphlet he wrote titled ‘Learn to Ski in a Week,’ his new method brought many students, and schools teaching his method later spread across the United States.

The final honoree of the night, Sailer coached skiers at the ski area of Buck Hill in Burnsville, Minn. Though just a hill in the flatlands, his teaching ability for the ski team helped produce 15 national skiers, four who have competed in the Olympics.

Two – Lindsey Kildow and Kristina Koznick – represented the United States in the 2006 Games at Turin, Italy.

Next year, Ski Hall officials plan to hold the induction ceremony in Las Vegas, though they will still have other festivities in the Upper Peninsula.

Transcription from Webpage of the Michigan Upper Peninsula Mining Journal, Apr. 29, 2006