Longtime Colorado ski patroller Richard Earl "Dickie Pete" Peterson dies
Richard Earl “Dickie Pete” Peterson skied the upper bowls toward Heaven on Monday, Jan. 17, 2011. Dick was born in Hurley, Wis., on Oct. 23, 1928. He graduated from Hurley High School in 1956 and before that, he formed the Hurley High School ski team. He was also on the ski patrol in the early years at Mt. Zion in Ironwood, Mich., which gave him his start in ski patrolling.
In the late ’50s, he moved west to the Sugar Bowl ski area in California, and because he has explosives experience in the National Guard, he was invited down to Loveland in 1960-’61 where he ran the patrol. The word got out about Vail, and in the spring of 1962 Dick moved here and found its beauty and rarity.
Some of the amazing accomplishments for Dick were, for one, talking Howard Head into wrapping aluminum around a wood ski, which became the first Head ski, Dick went on to rep for all aspects of Head for years. He invented the “Dickie Pete” file, which was preferred by racers across the country,. He also repped for the Scott ski company and was instrumental in designing the first buckle boot; there’s drawings in Dick’s home from 25 years ago of a parabolic ski.
Dick and friends on ski patrol were part of President Gerald Ford’s security detail while he skied Vail during his presidency. Dick was given a presidential clock and golf clubs bearing the official deal of office by Ford, to this day, they remain in Dick’s home in Vail. Dick loved to hunt elk, deer and birds and was a sharpshooter. Everyone said that when Dickie Pete skied down Vail, it was like a swan moving effortless over the snow, and no one skied as gracefully as he did.
In 1968, he met Phebe at the Gartons Cornuti Bar in Vail. They married in 1970; in 1978 their son Nick was born, and in 1981 they has a second son Clint. There will be a memorial service at in the near future.
Dick is survived by Phebe; Nick of Grand County, and Clint; and his nephew Todd; brothers Jerry and Hank; sister Helen; step brother Dennis Nolan; step sister Jean Martin and his lifetime friend Dominic Longhini. The family would like everyone to take either one run in the back bowls or Riva Ridge in honor of Dickie Pete.
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