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Benway honored by Ski Club Vail

Sharon Schmidt
Special to the Vail Daily
Larry Benway
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Larry Benway, who was instrumental in bringing snowboarding to Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, is one of six people the organization named to its Wall of Excellence last week.

Growing up 20 miles north of New York City, Larry Benway made his way out west in the late 1950s. After working in Denver for a year, he became a ski patroller at Arapahoe Basin, and in the fall of 1963, began his work as a ski patroller at Vail Mountain, soon in charge of avalanche work. Meeting his wife Willie a few years later while working the summer in Jackson Hole, they married in 1966 and made their home in Vail. Starting his own landscape company a few years later, Larry remained connected with the industry teaching skiing at Meadow Mountain.

Larry and Willie raised their family in the Vail Valley. Their son, Patrick, joined Ski Club Vail around the age of 10 after strong performances in the Buddy Werner League at Sunlight Mountain Resort. Shortly thereafter, Larry joined the board of SSCV and by the mid-1980s was on the executive committee and an officer of the club. Larry went on to serve as club president for several years in the early 1990s.

Both Larry and Willie became certified Rocky Mountain Division USSA racing officials, Willie in timing and Larry as a level 4 chief of race and a Level 5 chief gate keeper. Larry also served on the board of the Rocky Mountain Division.

Larry started his World Cup volunteer experience in the late 1980s in a series precursor to the World Cups. Eventually Larry was tasked with training 100 gatekeepers for the World Cup in the Vail Valley. By the second, local World Cup Larry was the chief gate judge, serving in this critical role for the next nine years.

Larry led the charge in adding snowboarding to SSCV’s program offerings in the early 1990s. Larry was also instrumental in the club running the first USSA snowboard championships, which attracted 300 competitors. During Larry’s time at SSCV he was also very involved in the addition of a post-graduate training program offering. He was also instrumental in growing revenue’s from SSCV’s ski swap, including the introduction of barcoding with the help of a technically savvy friend, allowing the swap to grow to over 20,000 items. These initiatives enabled the club to raise ever-important funds to keep program costs down.

He is also responsible for the inception and implementation of the early form of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Winter Tutorial to enable athletes to bring their snow sport to the next level in parallel with their academics, at a time when traditional public and private schools in the valley were unable to provide this type of support. The addition of this academic component to SSCV has evolved to become today’s groundbreaking Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy.

Among Larry’s many accolades for his community work throughout the years, he was the recipient of the Zella Gorsuch Memorial Award in 1996. Larry’s innovation, dedication, thoughtfulness and foresight coupled with his boundless energy during his time at SSCV has left its mark on the organization to this day.


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