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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Friday, June 18, 2004


Glove me tender

Labor of love for men’s baseball league commissioner Curtis Bacca

Express Staff Writer

He had visited and worked two Olympics, four skiing world championships, and hundreds of Downhill World Cups.

But the 90-minute drive to Twin Falls for hardball was getting too much for Curtis Bacca, of Ketchum.

Curtis Bacca has been the point man for the Blaine County Men’s Baseball League since its inception in the mid-nineties

Enter a man of many traits, or more specific, many successful business ventures. Nine years ago, Bacca decided to end his two-summer affair of playing baseball in Twin Falls and to help introduce Sun Valley to a league of its own – baseball that is.

The Sun Valley Adult Men’s Baseball League has flourished and Bacca’s behind-the-scenes organizational work has been a big reason.

Bacca, who grew up in Idaho Falls and now is a young 42, didn’t always have baseball on the mind. Downhill skiing has taken up most of his attention.

However, although Bacca is a proven athlete – a three-year varsity football letterman at University of Idaho, with an eventual degree from Idaho State – it’s off the skis where Bacca has made his greatest impact.

He’s been a world class ski technician since 1990. Head, a major ski corporation stationed in Austria, picked up Bacca at the beginning of the decade. The company was quickly attracted to his meticulous and almost obsessive care and study he gave to the outside influences that affected skis as they headed down any given mountain.

"The Austrians really took me under their wing and taught me everything," Bacca, who spends some of his summer days surfing and taking in Padres games in San Diego, said. "My learning curve was vertical."

His work was rewarded as he was asked to travel the World Cup Circuit with two of the most promising U.S. skiers, Kyle Rasmussen and Tommy Moe. Salomon Company hired him as well.

Bacca and his skiers met with quick success.

"Kyle won two World Cup downhills that year [1993], only the third American to do that," Bacca said, "and I was only the second American technician to have a World Cup victory under my belt."

With his success, Bacca became a well-known ski technician and saw the world. And where was the best action?

"Kitzbuehel, Austria." Bacca said. "Everyone should experience it once.

The Hahnenkamm at Kitzbuehel is considered the Super Bowl of skiing. It is, according to Bacca, the coolest, harshest, best skiing event ever. It was something he looked forward to every year.

Keeping busy in the summer was another goal of Bacca’s, as he prepared for a new, warmer-based venture – the senior baseball league.

Although a committee initially had the idea, Bacca soon found himself alone at the helm to get the league kick-started.

"There are some really good athletes in this valley and the biggest challenge was the slow pitch softball league and attracting the players from there." Bacca said.

The inaugural league, in 1996, kicked off with four teams.

For the next eight years, friends recruited friends, which resulted in some teams getting stronger and other languishing.

"The next biggest challenge was breaking up all the teams last year." Bacca admits. "We really needed to create some parity in the league."

Although this idea was met with groans from certain players, the pre-season player draft, conducted much like the Major League Baseball Draft, was implemented by Bacca and created better baseball with more competition throughout the league.

"The games are better now." Bacca said, who also encouraged an all-wood bat league, much like the Major Leagues.

Tired of the constant traveling on the World Cup, Bacca, in 1997, opened up a local ski shop in Sun Valley, the Waxroom.

Although Bacca did leave the circuit, he didn’t leave his two skiers, Rasmussen and Moe. Instead, he joined them on the North American based ski tour, the Jeep King of the Mountain Pro Downhill Series. The three enjoyed success again.

With Rasmussen winning the tour two out of his first three years, and Moe right on his tail, Bacca liked being closer to home.

"It was nice because we were in the states, went to five or six races, and made some good money." Bacca said.

Soon, the X-Games came calling. The relatively new competition, which began in 1996, was searching for men of Bacca’s caliber to work with the skiers.

Bacca took the job and soon was hired out to different races to prep them for their upcoming competitions.

"I would always get really intense in testing and prepping the skis before the races," Bacca said.

EXPN.com posted a story about the successful wax crew chief on their website in 2003. He has worked hard for his successes.

Each fall, Bacca joins a Sun Valley baseball all-star team that competes in the national World Series of senior league baseball. The Waxroom is still in business and he is still working during the X-Games on a hire-out basis. This past February he started working with Sun Valley Realty.

He hasn’t forgotten those he started with, though.

"Tommy, Kyle, and I are still close," Bacca said, referring to the successful skiers. "Kyle was in my wedding and I went to Tommy’s. They’re great guys."

Of course, there is no success without a sturdy base, for which Bacca gives credit to his family. He married Debbie in 1999 and now has two daughters, Payton who is three and Zoe who is six months.

He keeps them and athletics close to his heart.

"My wife is a huge Red Sox fan and I’m a Padres fan," Bacca said. "We’re hoping for a Sox-Padres World Series.


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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.