Thom Weisel stands with Olympic gold medalist Julia Mancuso and Head Alpine Coach Sasah Rearick at a U.S. Ski & Snowboarding fundraising event.
ISHPEMING, Michigan (Sept. 22, 2017) - Longtime U.S. Ski Team supporter Thom Weisel and legendary cross country ski coach Marty Hall were among eight noted athletes and sport builders announced this week as inductees to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame's class of 2017. They will be formally inducted next April at Squaw Valley, site of the 1960 Olympic Winter Games.
Weisel's leadership and financial support over four decades directly impacted over 200 Olympic and World Championship medals. An accomplished speed skater himself, he began his relationship with the U.S. Ski Team in the 1970s, serving as a trustee and a longtime leader of the team's foundation. No other individual has had such a sustained impact on the organization as Weisel.
"Thom Weisel's financial support of the team has been pivotal," said U.S. Ski & Snowboard President and CEO Tiger Shaw. "But even more than that has been his constant presence and leadership. During dire times in the '80s, he kept the team afloat. And he remains as engaged today as he was during my tenure on the team."
America made its first foray into the international cross country spotlight in the 1970s under the hard-driving, passionate leadership of U.S. Ski Team Coach Marty Hall. He played a key role in the growth of women's cross country skiing and led a team that had a strong impact on the sport globally. Foremost among the accomplishments of the team was Bill Koch's 1976 Olympic silver medal - the only medal won by an American cross country skier in history. He was also a noted innovator with waxing techniques such as base sanding and applying mohair strips to skis. In 1981, he published “One Stride Ahead: An Expert Guide To Cross Country Skiing.”
"Our current success in cross country owes a great debt to the groundwork put down by Marty Hall 40 years ago," said Shaw. "Growing up in Vermont myself, I remember the impact he had on the sport in helping talented athletes achieve their goals."
Among the other inductees are two icons of the early days of freestyle skiing: “Airborne” Eddie Ferguson and Herman Gollner, as well as snowboarding star Shaun Palmer. They will be joined by twin brothers Mike and Steve Marolt, two of the world's most accomplished ski mountaineers, and world speed skiing record setter, the late Steve McKinney.
The eight will be honored during a week of history celebration April 12-15, 2018 at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame induction Saturday, April 14. Squaw Valley will provide a fitting backdrop for the various events, with the legacy of the 1960 Winter Games and the long lineage of celebrated athletes, including more current U.S. Ski Team members than any other resort in the country.
“Each year we are again amazed by the stories of those sport builders and athletes who have made our sport what it is today," said Hall of Fame Chairman Tom Kelly. "Honoring these inductees in the shadows of the 1960 Olympic Winter Games venues in Squaw Valley is a fitting recognition for the Class of 2017.“
The Hall of Fame is located in Ishpeming, the birthplace of organized in skiing in America with the formation of the National Ski Association of America (now U.S. Ski & Snowboard) in 1905. Selection to the Hall is determined by a national voting panel.