Their Behind-The-Scenes Work Makes The Winter Sports We Love Even Better.

Honoree Howard Peterson (r) is warmly congratulated by Ski Archives Advisory Board members Tom Nielson (l) and Richard Hughes. Credit: Harriet Wallis

Soft-spoken Howard Peterson grew up in a skiing family in Maine, became the ski director at New Hampshire’s Bretton Woods, and then moved west where he became the executive director of the U.S. Ski Team. He was already making an imprint on the ski industry.

Then, while the 2002 Winter Olympics plans were on the drawing board, Peterson rallied officials to build venues that would endure as training sites long after the Games were over.

Soldier Hollow, a venue of rolling hills and vast open space near Salt Lake City, became the 2002 Olympic Games venue for cross-country, biathlon, and Nordic combined. But it didn’t stop there.

Since the Games, thousands of children have been introduced to the sports there, and it’s a renowned training site for elite international athletes.

Mission accomplished!

Peterson earned the Joseph Quinney Award at the recent Ski Archives gala in Salt Lake City. The award is named for the late ski visionary and founder of Alta.

The other top award, the J. Willard Marriott Library History-Maker Award, went to the Utah Avalanche Center and U.S. Forest Service.

Part of the US Forest Service and Utah Avalanche Center team. Credit: Harriet Wallis

Here in Utah where the snow is legendary, the Utah Avalanche Center and the U.S. Forest Service work hand-in-hand to educate snow-lovers so they can “stay on top of the snow and not be buried underneath it.”

Predicting avalanche potential combines science, experience, and total dedication to help keep snow-users safe. Educating the public is crucial. Avalanches play no favorites.

In 2003 on the day after Christmas, three young snowboarders hiked into the back country to try their new gear. An avalanche swept them to their deaths.

The other part of the US Forest Service, Utah Avalanche Center team. Credit: Harriet Wallis

As a result, and with the support of the snow safety team, forecaster Craig Gordon spearheaded the “Know Before You Go” program—basic avalanche savvy 101. The program was presented to every outdoor group possible: snowmobilers, Boy Scouts. high schools. And then the program went worldwide.

What is Ski Archives?

The Utah Ski Archives is the country’s largest ski history research organization and repository of historic material. The Archives collection currently contains 500,000 images, 250 manuscripts and 6,000 audio,video and films.

Every year, it holds a gala fundraiser to help support its mission. And the gala honors individuals and organizations that set a high mark for their influence on the ski industry.

The Ski Archives collection is open to the public and is located in the University of Utah campus library in Salt Lake City.

To read more from Harriet click here for her stories on SkiUtah.


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