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Colorado Snowsports Hall of Fame announces its Class of 2022

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May 12, 2022, 6:24 am

The Colorado Snowsports Hall of Fame recently issued the following press release on its Hall of Fame class of 2022, including longtime Vail Valley Foundation spokesman and encyclopedic ski-race historian John Dakin:

With the nominations submitted and votes cast, the Colorado Snowsports Hall of Fame is elated to announce the Class of 2022: an impressive group of industry pioneers, inspirational individuals, and snow sports builders who will be formally inducted on August 21 at the 2022 Hall of Fame Celebration in Vail, Colorado.

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The family friendly, open-air format will once again take place at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail, with ticket prices starting at just $50 for adults. All proceeds support the Colorado Snowsports Museum, a non-profit organization and the State of Colorado’s official snow sports museum. Ticket information will be available soon at https://www.snowsportsmuseum.org

“It is always such an honor to announce the incoming Hall of Fame class and to celebrate their stories,” said Jen Mason, Executive Director of the Colorado Snowsports Museum and Hall of Fame. “This Class is represented by individuals who love snow sports and have dedicated their lives to making it better.”

The 2022 Class of the Colorado Snowsports Hall of Fame:

John Dakin | Sport Builder

John’s work across his entire career as a public relations professional has been a great benefit to Colorado. But notable in that career was his time spent in direct contact with global news media during the 1989, 1999, and 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships in Colorado. It provided him a unique platform to tell Colorado’s story with worldwide impact. His impact is befitting recognition in the Colorado Snowsports Hall of Fame.

Ron LeMaster | Inspirational

During five decades, Ron has brought his engineering and science acumen to the analysis of ski technique and has continuously contributed to the formation of skiers, ski coaches, and instructors all over Colorado, the USA, and the world. His writing and photographic skills have provided a unique perspective for elucidating the intricacies in ski technique from its most basic to its most highly developed levels. A Colorado native having spent most of his life here, Ron, through his authorship of works considered the standard in ski technique analysis, has brought renown to his home state around the skiing world.

Peter Rietz | Sport Builder

Peter has spent the entirety of his career in pursuits and positions that have defended and benefitted the ski industry. He has devoted countless volunteer hours contributing to the safety of employees and guests of ski areas. Peter was a contributing author on the last two amendments to the Colorado Ski Safety Act and a co-author of “Your Responsibility Code.” Positions include Special Counsel for National Ski Area Association for thirteen years and founding member/past president, of the Association of Ski Defense Attorneys a global group networking amongst attorneys that defend ski areas. His passion for educating employees on pro-active risk management is unparalleled.

Jeannie Thoren | Sport Builder

Jeannie is a skier with a mission – a crusader for women skiers – to create ski equipment to “fit” women according to their body type. Her motto is “Women Aren’t Small Men” and for the past four decades, she has been perfecting skis and boots to enhance women’s ability to ski. The Thoren Theory evolved to help women skiers radically improve their technique through equipment modification. In 1986, she built the first women’s specific ski in the Blizzard factory in Mittersill, Austria. In 2005, Dynastar/Lange hired her to perfect the Dynastar Exclusive Carve Ski which won the 2007 Gear of the Year Award. In 2009, she opened Vail’s 1st Women’s Ski Shop. Fast forward to 2018 to present Jeannie is a partner with the Steadman Philippon Research Institute’s Bio Motion Lab in Vail to study the effects of ski boots in relation to ACL Injury risk in women. Jeannie has elevated the skiing experience for women across Colorado and global through her dedication, tenacity, and perseverance.

Chester (Chet) Upham | Sport Builder

Loveland is Colorado’s longest operating privately owned ski area. Chet was the owner (with family) and “hands-on” President of Loveland Ski Area for more than fifty years. Chet’s operating vision, values, innovations, forward-looking development, vigilante investment, good business sense, and employment of loyal and devoted Clear Creek County employees, created this iconic, mid-sized ski area that offers an unparalleled, affordable, and classic family-oriented mountain experience. His vision influenced the industry through many Loveland “alumni” who went on to have an impact on the Colorado ski industry. Five of his former employees are Colorado Snowsports Hall of Famers.

In addition, the Colorado Snowsports Hall of Fame is excited to welcome Gretchen Bleiler to the stage at this year’s celebration. Gretchen was inducted as an Athlete in 2019 but could not make the induction ceremony. We are thrilled to honor her alongside the Class of 2022.

Colorado’s most successful snowboard athlete, Gretchen Bleiler, made her mark as an athlete, an entrepreneur, and an advocate for causes important to her. In a professional career that spanned nearly 20 years, Gretchen was the top star in her sport of halfpipe from 2002 through 2010, winning four X Games gold medals, World Superpipe Championships gold, and two Van’s Triple Crown titles. She dominated qualifying for the 2006 Olympics, going on to win Olympic silver. Following her Olympic medal, she used the platform to speak about her firsthand experiences with climate change around the world, as well as build a business base as an athlete entrepreneur, working with brands to design innovative environmentally minded signature products.

“In 2021 we redesigned the annual celebration with the goal of making it more inclusive, fun, and welcoming, and to reflect our mission and excite people about the rich history of skiing and snowboarding in Colorado,” added Mason. “We are honored and excited to build upon the success of last year’s event.”

Hall of Fame candidates are nominated under the established criteria of Athlete, Sport Builder, Inspirational, or Pioneer categories, with the Hall of Fame Nomination Committee evaluating and confirming the nominees to move on to the final ballot. The 140-member Hall of Fame Voting Panel is comprised of current Hall of Fame members, key ski industry representatives, and the Hall’s board of directors.

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