An All Around Snow Sports Legend and Sportsman Moves On.

Joe Pete Wilson was involved in snow sports his entire career.

Editor Note: This article first appeared in XCSkiResorts.com.

Joe Pete Wilson recently passed away at age 84. He will be remembered as a pioneer and endless promoter in the snow sports world. 

Wilson hailed from Lake Placid, NY where he spent years as the innkeeper at the Bark Eater Inn in nearby Keene. His tireless work to promote cross country skiing was recognized by the former Ski Trax Magazine as one of the top 10 promoters of cross country skiing in the US.

Wilson competed in the 30 km race at the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, CA. In 1972 he directed operations at Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, VT which was one of the first cross country ski area resorts in the US.

Wilson’s history is like a guide to snow sports guide. He led the Vermont Ski Areas Association and was the general manager of Burke Mountain in 1966-69. Later he sold real estate at Glen Ellen. Drawing on his experience on the four-man bobsleigh team that competed in St. Moritz in 1965, Wilson later became the venue manager for bobsled and luge for the Lake Placid Olympics in 1977-78.

In cross country skiing, Joe Pete was honored by the Professional Ski Instructors Association for developing the teaching system for cross country skiing. He was also involved with setting up the original Eastern Professional Ski Touring Instructors organization (EPSTI). Additionally, Wilson had a hand in organizing the Northeast Ski Touring Operators Association, which became the National Ski Touring Operators Association, where he was the organization’s first president 1973-77. Today this North American organization is known as the Cross Country Ski Areas Association.

Wilson has a place in the St. Lawrence University Hall of Fame and in 2001 he was elected to the Lake Placid Hall of Fame. In 2014, Wilson was given the Founders Award by the Cross Country Ski Areas Association. During his life he also coached local high school cross country skiers as well as the US Biathlon Team.

Along the way, Wilson built a polo field at the Bark Eater Inn on a hillside farm in 1981. He also built a trail system in the Keene area while his stable grew to 85 horses. In 1977, Wilson co-wrote the book Complete Cross-Country Skiing & Ski Touring, and later in 1986 he helped to produce the coffee table book Cross Country Ski Inns of the Northeastern US and Canada.

In his later years, I exchanged emails with Joe Pete and discussed his XC ski-snowshoe invention that he wanted to manufacture and market. He shared his invention drawings and strategies with me, but mostly it was laughing and remembering old times. During his many years at the Cross Country Ski Area Association meetings, he would stand up to share old fashioned stories that usually had a humorous punchline at the end. If cross country skiing had its own hall of fame and museum in the US, Joe Pete Wilson would be among the first to be honored.


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