Curt Chase (deceased)
Year Inducted: 2014
Curt Chase has been an innovator and motivating force in the field of ski instruction for over 40 years. He started skiing at age 10. In the 1930’s, Dick Durrance sparked in him an interest in skiing, which lasted a lifetime.
Chase became further involved in the sport as a member of the University of New Hampshire ski team. In 1943, he was a survival training instructor for the U.S. Army 10th Mountain Division ski troops. He made his home in Aspen in 1946 and organized, trained and directed the Aspen Ski Patrol. As a certified coach and course setter, he set many downhill courses in Aspen, including the Roch Cup and World Cup races. He also authored the original Aspen ski instructors’ manual. In 1951, he became a survival training instructor for the Strategic Air Command, specializing in skiing and mountaineering.
After the Korean Conflict, Chase returned to Aspen and became a full time ski instructor. He was director of the Aspen Ski School for 17 years and the Snowmass Ski School for five years. Perhaps his most significant impact on skiing was his work on the development of the “basic turn” approach to ski instruction, now known as the American Ski Technique.
Chase was one of eight founding directors of the Professional Ski Instructors of America and was instrumental in developing and codifying the standards of the reaching method, which is now used nationwide. As the coach of the American Demonstration Team for the 8th InterSki Conference, he was able to introduce the American Technique to his peers from all over the world.
As a student of the art of ski instruction, Chase emphasized the practical and comfortable methods of skiing, as opposed to the sometimes forced and dictatorial style of earlier days.
•1943 – 10th Mtn Division survival training instructor
•1946 – organized and trained Aspen Ski Patrol
•1951 – survival training instructor SAC
•1962 – helped found PSIA
•1962-82 – director Aspen Ski School
•1989 – Colorado Ski Hall of Fame