Buddy Werner, Movie Star

Many readers identified this Bogner-clad high-flyer as Buddy Werner, the celebrated ski racer. And yes, there is a strong resemblance to Jean-Claude Killy in this pic. Many thanks to Steamboat’s Tread Of Pioneers Museum for contributing this photo.

Just three weeks after the 1964 Innsbruck Olympics, Buddy Werner was in Switzerland to film a movie produced by Willy Bogner. According to Wikipedia, Werner and German racer (and Olympic medalist) Barbi Henneberger, age 23, were caught in an avalanche on the Trais Fleur slope, near St. Moritz. Both skied out of the first avalanche, but were caught up in another; their bodies were found hours later.

Bogner, 22, and Henneberger were to be engaged that summer;  he was tried by a Swiss court for homicide by negligence. He was initially acquitted, but the prosecution later won a conviction on appeal, of manslaughter by negligence, and Bogner received a two-month suspended sentence.

After a memorial service in Denver, Werner’s funeral in Steamboat Springs overflowed the United Methodist Church,and he was buried at the city cemetery at the base of Howelson Hill. Coach Bob Beattie and teammates from the U.S. Ski Team were pallbearers. 

Kudos to reader Bruce Boeder for following the hints and connecting the dots. In case you missed it, here’s his entry: “Went to the Internet Movie Database and find that Buddy Werner did appear in a movie called SkiFascination made by Willy Bogner (Werner and Bogner’s fiancée were killed in an avalanche while making the movie—but people subscribed to this website well remember Buddy Werner). Accordingly, piecing together the clues—photo from the Steamboat museum, Head Comps with long thongs, and Scott poles— it may be Buddy dressed in the Bogner finest?!” Elementary, my dear Bruce.

Here’s a preview of SkiFaszination, released in 1966. Bogner skiwear galore.

Thanks To The Ski Museums Who Contributed To This Series

Our Mystery Glimpse series would not be possible for the many ski museums who allowed us to use photographs and artwork from their archives and collections.

These museums are scattered across the country, all mostly staffed by dedicated volunteers and a few paid employees. If you’ve never visited a ski museum, you have a treat ahead. Please consider a visit—virtually, or in person (when the virus lifts), stop at the museum’s gift shop, make a donation, and marvel at the care taken to curate the history of snow sports.

The ski museums which have contributed paintings and artwork this year:

And many thanks to our insightful readers for their many guesses, comments, memories, and contributions to our trip through snow sports nostalgia.

 

3 Comments

  1. Avatar Bruce boeder says:

    I had several photos of Buddy Werner posted on my bed room wall which were from Sports Illustrated when I was a not very successful junior racer
    Thanks for the shout out to me and thanks again for reminding us of a great athlete gone too young

  2. Avatar Ed Schultz says:

    Yes thanks to the museum’s. The one in N. Conway, NH is fascinating!

  3. Thank you for your tribute to Buddy Warner. He was an amazing skier and role model for all us growing up skiing. Here are two different events to share which to me illustrate his abilities
    In the fall as a kid training at St Mary’s Glacier, where you had to climb up to run the gates, I watched Buddy one day. He always made two runs to his team mates’ one run. He would achieve this by climbing up the left side next to the rocks which was the steepest side of the glacier at that time. That day the slalom course was set up a little further away from the rocks on the left side allowing just enough space to climb up between the rocks and the course.
    At the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival, I watched Buddy and his brother Loris come off the 90 meter hill together. They held hands on the inrun and let go at the jump lip. Wow what an awesome jump the two made. You have to realize the 90 had a two track inrun so you can imagine the ability it took for each of the brothers to only have one ski in the track.

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