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Curt Chase

Hall of Fame Class of 2014

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Curt Chase was an innovator and motivating force in ski instruction for nearly 50 years. One of the founding directors of the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA), he had a significant impact on the development of the American Ski Technique.

He first learned to ski at the age of 10 and was inspired in the 1930s by America’s ski star of the time, Dick Durrance. A good ski racer, he was one the ski team for the University of New Hampshire fr two ski seasons in the early 1940s and later would have raced at the 1950 World Championships in Aspen had he not broken his leg.

In 1943, he became a survival training instructor for the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division. As a staff sergeant, he fought in the battle of Mount Belvedere in Italy and was awarded a Bronze Star Medal. From 1951 to 1953 as a civilian, he was again a survival training instructor for the Strategic Air Command. In 1946, he had moved from Aspen and immediately organized, trained and directed the Aspen Ski Patrol. He also became an apprentice ski instructor for the Aspen Ski School, beginning a career that took him to the Ostego Ski Club in Gaylord, Michigan, the Strategic Air Command and then to directing the ski school at Grizzly Peak in Red Lodge, Montana for four years. By 1959 he was not only a certified instructor but also the chief examiner for ski instructors in the Northern Rocky Mountain Ski Instructors Division. In 1962, he helped found the PSIA and a year later he took on the leadership of the Aspen Ski School, a position he held for 17 years. In 1968, he was the coach of the U.S. Ski Instructors Demonstration Team at the 8th INTERSKI being held in Aspen that year.

He studied the art of ski instruction, emphasizing the practical and comfortable methods of skiing that would become part of the American Teaching Technique and have huge impact on ski instruction nationally and internationally. It has been said that he had direct contact with more than 1,000 instructors and likely influenced more than 100,000 more. He had the legendary George Joubert’s book “Teach Yourself To Ski”, translated into English in 1970. After retiring as Snowmass’s ski instruction leader in 1983, he continued as a ski instructor for another 10 years while also enjoying skiing for up to 180 days each winter.

Career Highlights:

1943: Survival Training Instructor, 10th Mountain Division
1946: Organized and trained the Aspen Ski Patrol
1951-1953: Civilian survival training instructor, Strategic Air Command
1962:One of eight founding directors of the PSIA
1963-1980: Aspen Ski School Director
1980-1983: Snowmass Ski School Director
1989: Inducted into the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame
2012: Recipient of the PSIA Lifetime Achievement Award

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