Hall of Fame Class of 1990
Information submitted in a nomination letter to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame by Kathe Dillmann, NSAA in 1990.
Cal Conniff has been involved in countless projects for the betterment of the sport of skiing and the industry. Many of these have been in the areas of ski safety, risk management, skier education, ski lift standards, public lands issues, the Gold Pass program that has raised several million dollars for the U.S. Ski Team and much, much more.
Cal Conniff grew up in Vermont and began skiing when he was six years old. His early skiing days were at Woodstock, Vermont on Gilbert’s Hill, site of the first rope tow in America.
Cal, a skier in high school, was captain of his high school ski team and competed extensively in sanctioned events throughout the northeast. At American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts, he was captain of the ski team and won the coveted “Ski Meister” title in the New England Intercollegiate Ski Conference. Conniff was president of the college ski club and taught the members how to ski in the afternoons after classes. Cal organized and sponsored John Jay and Warren Miller ski movies to raise money for the ski team and club trips.
His college days were interrupter when he served a three-year hitch in the army during the Korean War. He drew an assignment at Garmisch, Germany and worked as a National Ski Patrolman for two seasons. While in Germany, he won the four-way combined championships for the Armed Forces in Europe.
Cal came back to American International College, graduating in 1958 with a BA in economics. He then went to work as a local TV personality where he produced and hosted a TV show in prime time known as SKIERS CORNER. He interviewed well-known skiing personalities, showed films covering regional and national races, gave ski pointers about the sport and gave the latest ski reports for New England.
After three years in the TV business, he moved into ski area management as vice-president and general manager of Mt. Tom in Holyoke, Massachusetts. He spent 14 years at Mt. Tom during which time he operated one of the largest snowmaking systems in the country and introduced tens of thousands of students to the sport through physical education learn-to-ski programs.
Cal became interested in ski industry affairs and left Mt. Tom in 1973 to accept the position as president and executive director of the National Ski Areas Association. For the next 17 years, he took the N.S.A.A. from a fledging organization to a highly respected organization with members in 38 states. Cal retired from the N.S.A.A. in 1990, ending 33 years in the ski industry.
Conniff is married and the father of three active adult skiers. He and his wife, Barbara, reside in Long Meadow, Massachusetts.
Calvin “Cal” Conniff was elected to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1990.
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