Aspenites Davenport, Chase set for induction into U.S. Ski Hall of Fame
Skiing History Week
Registration is still open for Skiing History Week at Steamboat, and tickets are still available for the Hall of Fame Induction, but it is expected to sell out. To see a full schedule and register for any or all of the week’s festivities, go to www.skihall.com and click on Skiing History Week.
Two Aspen men who helped define skiing in Colorado and beyond will be inducted into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame on April 11 in Steamboat Springs.
Big-mountain skier Chris Davenport, a two-time World Extreme Skiing champion, and Curt Chase, a ski-instructing innovator, are among the 10 honorees for 2014. The induction ceremony is held at the end of the ski season with a big ceremony surrounded by special events. The induction ceremony will cap off Skiing History Week in Steamboat from April 6 to 12.
Aspen’s latest inductees have a long list of accomplishments. In addition to winning extreme-skiing competitions, Davenport is well-known for becoming the first person to ski all of Colorado’s 53 peaks above 14,000 feet in elevation in one year. He accomplished the feat in 2007. Davenport also has been featured in 30 ski films.
He is credited with many first descents of peaks throughout the world, and he continues to pursue his backcountry skiing passion. Davenport is currently skiing in Canada and couldn’t be reached for comment Monday about being honored by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame.
Chase headed the Aspen Mountain Ski School starting in 1963. He was recruited because he spent so much time developing a modified Austrian technique of teaching skiing, his wife, Betsy, told The Aspen Times last year. The Colorado Hall of Fame credits Chase with perfecting the “perfect turn” approach to skiing, which became known as the American Ski Technique.
Chase transferred to the Snowmass Ski School when it was split off as an independent unit in 1979. At both mountains, he was beloved as a boss. Instructors told The Aspen Times that Chase was both a strict disciplinarian and a friend and was dubbed “Papa Bear.” Betsy said last year that Chase really had two families: his wife and children and his ski instructors.
Chase parted ways with Aspen Skiing Co. in 1983 and taught skiing at Keystone. He was 91 when he died in June.
“Curt Chase was an innovator and motivating force in the field of ski instruction for over 40 years,” says his biography for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame. “He served as a training instructor of the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division and later held the same position for the Strategic Air Command.
“He contributed to what is now known as the American Ski Technique and was one of eight founders of the Professional Ski Instructors of America,” the biography continues.
Chase was inducted into the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Museum Hall of Fame in 1989. Davenport hasn’t been inducted into the Colorado hall despite his accomplishment on the state’s famed 14ers.
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