Winter Park’s Singley among Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame inductees
October 8, 2015
VAIL — The annual Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame induction event is more of a class reunion than an induction.
Wandering around the event is to walk among giants of Colorado's snow sports industry. The Class of 2015 ranged from a Lutheran minister to a movie skier and daredevil who says he may be the reason skiers have more rules than we used to.
The Class of 2015 includes sport builders and athletes Dr. Jack Eck, Ceil Folz, George "Bud" Marolt, Kent Myers and pioneer Bob Singley.
When the speechifying about each inductee was done, emcee Johnnie Stevens told each one, "Having been elected by your peers, we hereby bestow upon you the highest honor in Colorado snow sport," he said.
Honoring its roots
Because most of Colorado's ski industry traces its roots to the famed 10th Mountain Division, 10th veteran Dick Over opened Friday's event.
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Over's own dad was a Marine in World War I and didn't want Dick to go to World War II, but he reluctantly signed the papers for his underage son.
On Friday, Over spoke eloquently about the 3,000 soldiers who died on Mount Belvedere in the Apennine Mountains in Italy. Riva Ridge was a key access point to Mount Belvedere.
They deserve to have their story told, Over said.
"I've been fortunate enough to help tell that story," Over said.
Ceil Folz said she was a bit of a reluctant inductee.
"I'm blown away by the people who are already in the Hall of Fame," she said. "This award really goes to all the people who made the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships so successful," Folz said.
When Folz's father introduces her siblings, he says of Ceil, "This is my daughter Celia. She's in the Hall of Fame! Isn't that amazing?"
Kent Myers' work centered around creating direct airline service to Colorado's ski resorts, bringing hundreds of thousands of visitors and billions of dollars into the industry.
"We're not here for a long time, we're here for a good time," Myers is still fond of saying.
Myers built his career and several other careers around that philosophy.
"We're in the fun business. Give them what they want and they'll pay us," he said.
Dr. Jack Eck was a combat medic and flight surgeon in Vietnam.
"I said, 'If I survive this, I'm going to a ski area for the winter,'" he said.
It turned out to be forever, not a winter, which works out well for us.
He was a mess when he came home, he said, and he hooked up with Vail's ski patrol.
"The ski patrol saved my life with their camaraderie," he said.
Many of the techniques and gear Eck developed in Vietnam he adapted to the ski patrol, like the cardiac kit in a Samsonite suitcase that patrollers hauled to the scene.
He said he believes in the healing power of skiing.
"International politics disappear in skiing," Eck said. "If everyone skied, there would be no more wars."
Bob Singley smiled and said he is one of the reasons skiers have so many more rules now than they used to.
"To everyone who said, 'I bet you can't jump off that cliff or over that highway,' and encouraged me to go faster, thank you," Singley said.
There was almost nothing he wouldn't try, nothing he wouldn't fly.
When he's skiing, he loves to go fast and still spends more time in the air than anything not manufactured by Boeing.
"Watch everyone in front of you until there is no one in front of you," Singley said.
Singley starred in James Bond films, doing several skiing segments when Roger Moore was 007. He also skied in the Robert Redford film "Downhill Racer."
"We're all so lucky to live here," he told the admiring crowd. "Everyone who is part of this story is coming into the Hall of Fame with me," Singley said.
Bud Marolt was born in Aspen and reminisced about 75 years of skiing, closing with, "Thanks for the memories."
Rev. Don Simonton received a Lifetime Achievement Award, accepted by his son, Cliff Simonton.
Cliff talked about his dad and mom, June Simonton, an historian. He said if Don was here he'd insist they share the award.
"They were quite a team, Mom and Dad," Cliff said.
Simonton arrived in the Vail Valley with his family in 1967, establishing Lutheran congregations in both Vail and Beaver Creek. He was the founder and first director of the Colorado Ski Museum, as well as the creator of the Vail Ski School's "Meet the Mountain" program, president of the Eagle County Historical Society and president of the Eagle River Scholarship program.
Simonton wrote articles on a wide variety of topics for local newspapers, Ski Magazine and other publications while co-authoring four books with his wife about the history of Vail and Beaver Creek. He died March 17, 2015.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and email@example.com.