Who Do We Have In The Tucked Position?

Lots of clues here. Who’s in the speed suit?

Thanks again to the Tread of Pioneers Museum, Steamboat Springs, CO, for contributing this picture from its archives.

Last Week

If you recall, Brodie Mt was nicknamed “The Irish Alps”, because on St. Paddy’s Day it was definitely the place for skiers to be. It was also the domain of a creative, ingenious, leprechaun-like operator who invented a why-didn’t-I-think-of-that machine.

This is the famous ice grinder designed and manufactured by Brodie Mt.’s Jim Kelly in 1970.  The Ashford, MA ski area operator was a true entrepreneur, inventor, and eternal optimist.  When the winter delivered scarce snowfalls that turned whatever hard pack was left to block solid ice, Jim Brodie figured out a way to keep people skiing.  It was simple: Grind it.  That resulted, said Brodie at the time, in what was good enough to call “powder”. We have a feeling there was a bit of the Blarney stone stuck out there in the Berkshires.

Jim Kelly with a working Hard Pak Pulverizer which made “powder” from ice, according to him.

Brodie built what he called a Hard Pak Pulverizer, based on a debarking machine used at this dad’s lumber company. The heart of the concept was a rotating cyclinder with projecting metal teeth. After several failures over three years of experiments, Kelly found that a 100-horsepower Deutz diesel could handle the torque needed to make the cylinder turn hard pack ice into a skiable surface.

Ever the inventor, Kelly even came up with a home-grown snowmaking idea. When it was really cold, his crew would shoot water on the slopes, wait for it to cool, and give it the once over with the pulverizer.

Jim Kelly marketed the Hard Pak Pulverizer to other ski resorts.  Ed Herte, the then owner-operator of Little Switzerland, Slinger, WI, bought one of Kelly’s devices.  His assessment: “The snow the machine makes is better than the best man-made snow I’ve ever seen.” Has someone else been kissing that magical stone?

Jim Kelly’s story of the Hard Pak Pulverizer was first reported in Skiing Area News, Winter, 1970.

5 Comments

  1. Avatar Rick Payer says:

    The skier must be Buddy Werner, a great downhiller, star crossed, should have won a medal in his career, lost tragically soon after the 1964 Olympics.

  2. Avatar Ann trzasko says:

    That’s Billy Kidd in the 1964 photo

  3. Avatar Bruce boeder says:

    Buddy Werner is the skier in the tuck. Gone way to early

  4. Avatar Dave Irons says:

    A few comments. First the origin of the term Paddy. It came from Boston cops who used to say, “Let’s round up a few Paddy’s”, hence the term Paddy Wagon. It’s an insult to the Irish. If you must abbreviate use Patty. As to Brodie I remember being there on St. Patrick’s day and seeing green snow as Kelly had added food coloring it his snowmaking at the area he called Kelly’s Irish Alps. I don’t know about the pulverizer but i do know that it was five years after Otto Wallingford invented the “Powdermaker” (rollers of spandex steel) which actually worked and was sold all over the World. It was patented in seven countries after it came out in 1965. Otto also invented the U-Blade we see on today’s groomers and his company Valley Engineering was bought by Kassbohrer and still sells grooming equipment in Lewiston, Maine.

  5. Avatar Scott Jimmerson says:

    My guess is Buddy Werner. As a Steamboat patrolman in early 70’s I raced against Loris Werner in annual instructor/patrol showdown. I led for the first 2 gates, thinking I was really good….lost by 4 or 5 gates. Most fun I ever had racing getting my butt kicked.

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