Year Inducted: 2011
Born: April 4, 1935--Clymer, New York
From his austere beginnings growing up on a 460-acre dairy farm in western New York, responsibility and leadership have been natural character traits of ski industry leader Phil Gravink. It was his strength of character that led Phil from the farm to Cornell University in 1953 and an international rowing career, ultimately to a ski industry career that oftentimes spanned the globe.
It is small wonder that his success at the international rowing level drew Phil's attention away from the family dairy farm, to which he returned in 1956. That year, a heavy snowfall and talk of a ski area development on a mountain near the family farm in Clymer, New York sparked Phil's interest. Spurred by encouragement of Otto Schneibs, Phil founded Peek'n Peak ski area, serving as its chairman and general manager for 13 years.
After a GM role at New York state-owned Gore Mountain, Phil was recruited by former New Hampshire governor Sherman Adams to become CEO and president of Loon Mountain where he carved out a thoroughly modern and top-ranked ski resort from 1977-91. The ski resort flourished under his tutelage, as did the state and organizations he oversaw during that time, including Ski New Hampshire and Ski the White Mountains, along with the New Hampshire Alpine Racing Association. He had previously served as president and treasurer of Ski Areas of New York from 1970-77.
His long ski area management career continued as a senior associate with the international ski resort design and consulting firm, Sno-Engineering. His consulting services at New Hampshire's Attitash led to the CEO role there until 1999. Since then, in semi-retirement, Phil has served as a ski area consultant to various clients.
Concurrently with Phil's direct management of various top-rated ski areas in the East, he played a major leadership role in a variety of ski-related organizations. Most notably, he was director of the National Ski Areas Association board from 1970-87 and served as its president from 1979-81.
Phil made major contributions to skiing safety as a delegate to the American Society for Testing and Materials for over a decade, a period of major safety innovations including such developments as the ski brake to prevent runaway skis which he feels is among his most important contributions to the industry.