The Ketchum-Sun Valley Historical Society will host its fifth annual Sun Valley Ski Hall of Fame induction ceremony at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29, at the nexStage Theatre in Ketchum.
Eight new individuals and families will be honored for their contributions to the sport of skiing and to the local community. There is no charge to attend the event.
“We have had a wealth of amazing athletes and people to choose from,” Historical Society President Heather Daves said. “This community is phenomenal with the amount of amazing athletes that have been involved with the area.”
The inductees in Nordic skiing this year are: Bob Disbrow and Kim Kawaguchi, Joe Engen, Alison Owen and the Heinz family. For alpine skiing, the inductees are Earl and Carol Holding, Jimmy Griffith, Don and Gretchen Fraser and Maria Maricich.
Alison Owen is held in high regard for her contributions to Nordic skiing. According to a the Historical Society, “Alison is a women’s Nordic skiing pioneer. She qualified for U.S. Junior Nationals in 1966. After some discussion, it was decided to allow a female in the championships, and from the next year on, there has been a women’s division at U.S. national cross-country skiing events.”
Owen won eight U.S. national titles, and won what was then proclaimed the first FIS World Cup ski races in 1978. She has been a ski coach for the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation for several years.
Bob and Kim Kawaguchi have spent 20 years in the Wood River Valley as part-time residents. Both have been cross-country ski enthusiasts and have offered much needed financial support to the local ski community since the early 1990s. Both have also been actively involved with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation.
In 1977, the Holdings bought Sun Valley Co. and all of its assets.
Don and Gretchen Fraser will be inducted posthumously after both passed away within a month of each other in 1994. The sport of alpine skiing was what brought them together, as they traveled to compete in the Harriman Cup in 1938. Both went on to compete for the 1940 U.S. Olympic team.
Gretchen went on to win an Olympic gold medal in slalom in 1948, making her the first American to win a gold medal in skiing. Gretchen also helped rehabilitate disabled veterans through skiing in World War II, and continued her work through the Special Olympics. Although Don was unable to compete in the 1936 Olympics after being named to the U.S. team, he finished first in the slalom competition at the Pan Am Games in 1937.
This year, Earl and Carol Holding will be inducted for their stewardship of Sun Valley Resort. In 1977, the Holdings bought Sun Valley Co. and all of its assets. Since then, the Holdings invested in improving the Sun Valley Lodge and Inn, while also building the Warm Springs, River Run and Seattle Ridge Lodges. A more recent project was the construction of Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge, which revitalized the ski scene at Dollar Mountain.
In addition to helping the winter sports of Sun Valley, the Holdings added the nine-hole White Clouds golf course and built the Sun Valley Club for golf and Nordic activities. In addition, the Holdings built the 1,500-seat, open-air Sun Valley Pavilion to host the Sun Valley Summer Symphony and other musical performances.
The Heinz family will be inducted next week as a result of Teresa Heinz’s efforts to resuscitate Galena Lodge after the 1991-92 ski season, when there were struggles to keep it financially viable. After a committee raised the funds to groom the Boulder Mountain Tour trail in the 1993-94 ski season, Teresa Heinz offered to give the full $325,000 necessary to purchase the Galena Lodge. This purchase was on the condition that the community created an endowment of $250,000 to operate the lodge, which the community successfully did.
Jon Engen is a three-time U.S. Olympian and has served as the chair of the Cross-Country Committee of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. For over a decade, Engen has served as a personal ski coach, ski instructor and has led the Sun Valley Masters cross-country skiing program. He has remained active with Idaho Olympians and served as chief of competition for the cross-country events of the World Special Olympics in Sun Valley in 2009.
Maria Marichich is currently a Ketchum chiropractor, using modern techniques to help hopeful Olympians reach their highest potential. An Olympic downhiller, she is one of few Olympians who was born and raised in Sun Valley. She started skiing on the World Cup circuit in 1979, and finished second at a World Cup downhill competition in 1983. She finished 16th in the 1984 Olympics after being ranked as the top downhiller in the United States and 10th in the world before the competition.
Eric Avissar: email@example.com