Friday, April 1, 2011

Ski Hall of Fame to add 2 locals

Earl Holding, Muffy Davis joining ski/snowboard legends

Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley was the stomping grounds for two of the six people being inducted into the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame on Saturday, April 2.

The Hall of Fame picks only a handful of industry influences each year, and the time has come for Sun Valley Co. owner Earl Holding and Paralympic skier Muffy Davis to take their places. They'll be honored in a ceremony at the Sun Valley Inn Limelight Room in front of nearly 600 people Saturday at about 8 p.m. The event is sold out.

Holding restored and expanded America's first ski resort

Earl Holding, born in 1927, is known in the business world as a Salt Lake City man of modest beginnings who built an oil empire, Sinclair Oil, and the Little America hotel chain. However, he first made his mark in the snow 34 years ago when he bought Sun Valley Resort. He immediately began a revitalization program to restore the historic resort, which opened in 1936. His investments included the planting of more than 7,000 trees and installing seven new detachable quad chairlifts and the world's largest automated snowmaking system. He initiated construction of three new lodges and an eight-passenger gondola to the historic Roundhouse restaurant.

Holding played a key role in bringing the 2002 Olympic Winter Games to Salt Lake City. He bought and developed Snowbasin Resort, near Ogden, Utah, into a world-class ski area that hosted the men's and women's Olympic downhill, combined and super G events.

It's no coincidence that Holding is being inducted into the Hall of Fame this year, and the event is being held in Sun Valley. It's the 75th season for the country's first ski resort, something the Hall of Fame wanted to recognize.


Along those same lines, the Idaho Legislature recently declared Dec. 21, 2011, as Sun Valley Day in honor of the resort's opening day three-quarters of a century ago.

"The ceremony in Sun Valley is a huge honor for our state," said Rep. Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, before the House of Representatives.

Davis—once a skier, always a skier

Skier Muffy Davis, now a resident of Salt Lake City, hasn't used her legs since 1989. She was 16 and a competitive Sun Valley ski racer when a training accident on Bald Mountain paralyzed her from the waist down.

Assuming her skiing career was over, Davis returned to her academic studies, completing a degree at Stanford University. However, she returned to the slopes after attending Hall of Famer Sarah Will's adaptive skiing camp in 1995.

Her return to the sport was a successful one, resulting in four Paralympic medals (a bronze and three silvers), a World Championship gold in 2000 and back-to-back World Cup overall titles in 2000 and 2001. During her racing career, she reached the podium 20 times. She also completed first wheelchair ascents of Mount Shasta in California and Pike's Peak in Colorado.

Davis recently rejoined the world of competitive international athletics as a handcyclist. Last May, she attended a paracycling development camp where she set a new athletic goal: to compete in the London 2012 Paralympics. She won the 2010 Women's National Handcycle Time Trial title and qualified for the 2010 Paracycling World Championships. In her first international competition, she won three silver medals and earned herself a place on the U.S. Paracycling Team.

The four other inductees are former U.S. Ski Team racers Daron Rahlves and Bobby Cochran, as well as big-mountain skiers Glen Plake and the late Shane McConkey.

The six new inductees will bring the Hall of Fame's honor roll to 374 people recognized since 1956.

Trevon Milliard:

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